A major component of this ‘pivot’ [in the Asia-Pacific] is its pursuit of ‘missile defence’ which both President Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney argue are intended to counter threats from Iran and North Korea. Critics call it a ruse, but most of the US public calls it nothing at all - the issue is barely on the radar. Even as the US clings to 20th century notions of being the world’s ‘sole super power’, attempting to expand its influence and control over Asia-Pacific’s power centres, shipping lanes and resources, the US public remains under-informed, indifferent and flat-out unaware of its military impact abroad.
as the Asia-Pacific “pivot” brings more testing, training and deployments to accommodate weapons and warriors fanning out across half the world, those in the US would do well to pay closer attention to the vast human and financial resources its government demands. The time is long overdue to consider that what we call “defensive” is, to so many around the world, seen as offensive.
› Without question: US military expansion in the Asia-Pacific | Jon Letman
[Atmospheric] nuclear tests, callously given American-Indian tribal names such as “Cherokee” and “Navajo”, had a total yield of 108 megatons, equivalent to more than 7,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs. The tests made “Bikini Atoll” a household name as they literally “nuked” entire island communities and forced them to relocate permanently.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands, along with the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau, is party to the Compact of Free Association (COFA), which grants the US military virtually exclusive use of a vast swathe of the Pacific for the transport, training and testing military personnel and weapons. Many COFA nationals live in Hawaii, where they are receiving medical treatment for cancer and other illnesses. However, in recent years, they have been embroiled in legal battles to continue receiving treatment as politicians at the state and federal level try to restrict or cut off government funded medical care.
Pacific islanders have also provided plenty of ripe, young bodies to feed into the US war machine (per capita, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have claimed military injuries and deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan at rates far higher than US states). In recent decades, the US has also conducted training and testing on Johnston Atoll, Wake Atoll, Kwajelein Atoll and the Mariana Islands, with a military presence in at least 23 small island groups in the Indo-Pacific region. [++]