America’s absence from the Pacific

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Dear Editor

Re: We’ve never left, U.S. assures Pacific 

I think that had it not been for China’s interest in the Pacific, perhaps the U.S. official take would have been one to leave the Pacific alone as it has done for the past three decades. 

A blessing or a curse, I guess one’s view would depend on being a supporter of the US or China’s approach to development (and underlying rational for partnership drive).

I personally hope that China continues to develop a more curated approach as to what they can help the region out with in return for our support for them as a benefactor, while at the same time, we can apply some careful scrutiny and a set of principles on exchanges that we can be morally satisfied with.

We are seeing China’s initial hand at international cooperation and development, and while it might have been an uncultured approach at first with their open cheque-book diplomacy, it is hard to say now that the state of development of Samoa’s infrastructure would have been possible without it.

In comparison, while the US may not have been active in a similar manner in non-US affiliated Pacific countries, it only takes a quick look at how the North Pacific USAPI countries, and our aiga next door in American Samoa to see the difference between their state of development, and those of independent Pacific countries, not to mention the uneven US investment among them (Am. Samoa and Guam, while both being US territories, Guam is of a gold standard Am Samoa will likely never attain). 

Now I’m not saying beggars should be choosers, when clearly a refinement and self determination of national priorities have benefited well prepared Pacific countries to negotiate the best for themselves.

In this, Samoa is a model country in that regard, and we have Tuilaepa’s fortitude and wisdom for that, even his toughest critics have to reluctantly acknowledge.

So now, I think the ball is definitely in the court of the US foreign policy corps as to their strategy for the region, and it is a positive that they have asked for it.

Just a warning to our US friends, the weight of expectation that comes with the ball is a lot more than you really think it is. All the best though and I continue to hope for the best outcomes for the development of our country and beloved Pacific region.

 

Ioane Sauniatu

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