Samaritan gives Junior a second chance
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PNG is our country. We must not give it away


Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii
Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii (1840-2017) was against the Reciprocity Treaty, believing it heralded an American takeover of her kingdom. She was correct

PARI - What kind of danger does a nation face when the United States wants to establish a military base on its sovereign territory? Let me first review the history of how the Hawaiian kingdom died.

Some 3,200 kilometers away from the US mainland, Hawaii’s central Pacific location has long been of strategic military importance.

In 1873, a US military commission recommended that Ford Island, part of the Hawaiian kingdom come under US influence in exchange for the tax-free importation of sugar to the US.

The Americans were also interested in Pu'uloa, Pearl Harbour, as US control of Hawaii was considered vital for the defence of its west coast.

Two years later, the US Congress and the Hawaiian kingdom agreed to a seven-year Reciprocity Treaty in exchange for Ford Island and the lease of Pearl Harbour.

But to the US, the treaty and lease were just appetisers.

The Hawaiian monarchy and its Polynesian people were seen as an encumbrance to the development of a fully-fledged military outpost so had to be overthrown.

So, in violation of the Reciprocity Treaty, on 17 January 1893, the US backed a coup d'état against Queen Liliʻuokalani.

A ‘Committee of Safety’ composed of seven foreign residents and six Hawaiian subjects of American descent was formed and prevailed upon the US government to intervene.

So in came the Marines to ‘protect the national interest’ of the United States of America.

The insurgents established the Republic of Hawaii, but their ultimate goal was to invite the annexation of the islands by the United States, which occurred in 1898.

It was far from the last time the US was to use proxies and/or military might to subjugate governments in the prosecution of its own interests.

A common pattern was to, overtly or covertly, initiate action for regime change perhaps first meddling in internal matters then establishing a military presence to protect a government of its own choosing or promote its commercial interests.

From the late 1880s, as well as its action to incorporate Hawaii, it interfered in the Samoan civil wars, around the turn of the century succeeded in the Spanish–American was to annex Cuba and later in the Philippine–American war.

It installed governments in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and took over Costa Rica.

Closer to home, it interfered in the establishment of Indonesia after World War II and later, when president Sukarno seemed to be going too easy on Communism, it supported his overthrow. It also ensured that West Papua would be retained by Indonesia , denying it independence.

It orchestrated the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, unsuccessfully supported an invasion of Cuba, interfered in national elections in Italy, the Philippines, Japan, Lebanon and Russia, supported the coup d'état against a democratically elected government in Chile in 1973 and lost the Vietnam War.

It became enmeshed in the tragedy of Afghanistan and in the debacle of Iraq (in these and other cases forming ‘coalitions of the willing’ to take a bit of heat off itself).

According to one study, the US performed at least 81 overt and covert interventions in foreign elections between 1946 and 2000.

Much has been written about the proclivity of the US to involve itself in other countries’ affairs, from covert support to overt warfare.

Makes you wonder where PNG will end up if it happens to disagree with the US, or directs the US to move its military bases elsewhere.

In the 19th century the Hawaiian kingdom had an ultimately worthless Reciprocity Treaty with the US. In the 20th century the US engineered regime change against the democratically elected government of Chile.

Papua New Guinea is not for sale. We need to express this loudly to our political leaders.

We need to tell them to discontinue the PNG-USA Defence Cooperation Agreement.

We need to defend the sovereignty of PNG not dilute it.

And we need to understand that, even if we decide not to give the USA what it wants, it make take it anyway.

This we also must guard against as best we can.


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Bri Olewale

Yes, this phrase the US Empire was coined, I think, by Gore Vidal.

I might have to go into my library and find the books he wrote about this, but yes an interesting topic.

Wills Motz

Every country that signs a bilateral agreement with another country does it for self interest, whatever that may be.

Therefore PNG must always look at what it can gain out of any treaty before signing.

PNG must understand that we have something that the USA needs, so this gives us the upper hand.

PNG must negotiate a higher price and maximise the benefits it can gain out of this deal. If the US is desperate, it will accept the deal at almost any cost.

The same should apply to all deals PNG makes with any foreign government.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Life in PNG could get very interesting if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in 2024.

Here are Trump's words at a campaign rally in North Carolina exactly two weeks ago:

“How about we’re buying oil from Venezuela? When I left, Venezuela was ready to collapse.

"We would’ve taken it over; we would have gotten all that oil; it would’ve been right next door.

"But now we’re buying oil from Venezuela, we’re making a dictator very rich.

"Can you believe this? Nobody can believe it.”

Philip Fitzpatrick

“To be an enemy of the US is dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal” - Henry Kissinger

Henry Sims

With this shellacking of the USA, can the same be said of allowing similar communistic Chinese input to PNG?

Chris Overland

Michael has referenced the long history of the USA acting in a manner very inconsistent with its professed anti-imperialist policy.

Even today, many Americans fail to understand that their country has an egregious record of intervention in the affairs of other states.

This has mostly been motivated by self interest or, more particularly, the interests of corporate America.

Typically, such interventions have been justified in the name of democracy and the defence of freedom even when this has manifestly not been true.

All that said, it is a false analogy to compare PNG signing an agreement to allow the US military access to base facilities with the take over of Hawai'i.

Unlike the late 19th century, we do not live in an era in which such actions will be either unnoticed or tolerated.

Still, Michael is right that PNG should maintain close scrutiny of what the US is doing in PNG and not let things happen which may compromise its own interests.

It should also be pushing hard to ensure that a US presence translates into benefits for the local community, not just US contractors.

Bernard Corden

These descriptions of a campaign of deception and injustice are worth watching and reading:

During the US acquisition of Diego Garcia, the entire population was declared expendable and Al Haig, US Secretary of State at the time, proclaimed, "You just give me the word and I'll turn that fucking little island into a parking lot."

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