The UN decolonization process was succinctly reported in a Seattle Times article, authored by Associated Press correspondent, Anita Snow, who examined a controversial subject that may not make its way to the UN Security Council, any time soon. However, the exotic locations being adjudicated in the UN decolonization process; could invariably be a petri dish for future crisis.
The Caribbean region and the Pacific share some similarities. Apart from both being geographical classified as islands; they both share a remarkable sameness in their colonization story and some of their colonial masters.
Wayne Madsen's recent opinion article: Rumblings from the Caribbean addressed the Caribbean context for decolonization:
“The Caribbean states, witnessing the economic prowess of Brazil and the nationalistic fervor of Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, see a chance to break free from decades of domination by the United States and European colonial powers intent on keeping their toeholds in the Caribbean region”.Ostensibly, the Pacific region has a similar situation, with regards to the colonial powers maintaining their vice-lock grip on the political economy; as well as controlling defense related aspects and the rights to the vast maritime natural resources within these same territories.
Recently in the UN Special Committee on Decolonization , draft resolutions were introduced by Fiji's UN representative Peter Thompson, with regards to New Caledonia and Tuvalu, currently being administered by France and New Zealand respectively. Also Fiji had supported Argentina's resolution to address the aspect of Falkland/Malvinas in the UN committee of 24, administering the issues of decolonization.
The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), dominated by the Trans-Tasman cousins could be running the same operating system to that of, the Organization of American States (OAS). Madsen alluded to the Modus Operandi in the Caribbean with respect to the decolonization process:
The European colonial powers are attempting to ensure the continuation of their colonial holdings in the Caribbean by resorting to either increasing their domination over “self-governing” territories or formulating new colonial arrangements between the mother countries and various island dependencies in the Caribbean.There have been similar styled grumblings in the Pacific region, on the obnoxious manner in which Australia and New Zealand have unilaterally controlled the policies of PIF. Former PIF Director of Financial Governance, Dr. Roman Grynberg , highlighted the stacked deck in the PIF, in a opinion article “Who owns the Forum”:
Who sets the Forum agenda? In the Forum as in all international bodies, a draft agenda for every meeting is sent out to all members and they must all agree. In reality in most cases only Australia and New Zealand have the capacity to review these documents and make substantive comments and hence they very largely set the Forum's agenda.
Grynberg's remarks could well be viewed as an insider's assessment of the machinations within the PIF. Other external points of view from PIF member states are equally scathing. One such perspective:
PNG’s foreign affairs and trade minister Sam Abal alleges that the development of an AfT (Aid for Trade) mechanism has been deliberately stalled by PIFS because it goes against the beliefs of PIFS’ biggest donors—Australia and New Zealand. “In 2009, the PACPS discussed at length the development of a suitable mechanism to fund and manage trade-related aid flows into the region. However, PIFS has actively stalled and discouraged any progress in this area in many cases,” he states. “It is Papua New Guinea’s view that the Aid for Trade negotiations in the EPA have stalled because it is inconsistent with Australia and New Zealand’s (ANZ) position in the PACER Plus negotiations,” Abal alleges.Grynberg asserts a poor outlook for the future of PIF:
“Things will only change with the circumstances. In the last generation it was France which silenced the islands. The present culture of silence in the Forum stems from the nature of the relationship with Australia and New Zealand. It is perverse and will never lead to a healthy relationship. There may yet come a generation of Pacific island leaders who have a genuine vision and intestinal fortitude to lead their countries and the region.”Other background chatter in the Pacific region, also revolve around the contentious issue of colonization.
The metaphor of Corset in the context of colonization, as outlined by the Author, Albert Memmi, is manifested by the present slogan of 'America's Pacific Century'. The US secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta was requested by the Governor of the Commonwealth of North Mariana Islands (CNMI) to renegotiate some of the land lease agreements, that were issued to the US Department of Defense.
Perhaps the larger question, in CNMI would revolve around the issue of seeking their independence from being an appendage to Pax Americana, like other Anglophone nations in the South Pacific.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.
William Pitt 1759-1806
In October 9th 2008, New Caledonia's FLNK party leader, Roch Wamytan's statement to the UN's Fourth committee of the 63rd General Assembly session, reflected similar themes:
France does not want Independence for our country and is doing its utmost to prevent our country from achieving sovereignty. Both right and left-leaning political regimes, with a few minor differences, agree on one thing: everything must be done to keep New Caledonia within the French and European fold in the name of their higher interests.After the MSG summit in Fiji, held in April, Wamytam-now President of the New Caledonia Congress also extended an invitation to the MSG to host a summit in New Caledonia. In a Radio Australia web article, New Zealand academic, Bill Hodge derided that decision:
Well there's two big issues, first of all you have a party or a political grouping behaving as if it's a sovereign” [...]So the thing itself is an illustration of a party acting up as if it's the sovereign, as if it's the government, which it is not. Secondly, I think that's an objection on the grounds of principle and Paris may well have an objection.
Unsurprisingly, a French Senator and former Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement, recently was quoted in a PINA web article and emphasized the need for France to “consolidate its position in the Pacific” and shore up its partnership with Australia, as a hedge against the sphere influence of China. Fiji appears to be the lone maverick voice in the region, actively undermining the neo-colonialistic agendas in the Pacific region.
Fiji Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama as current chair of the Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) was due to travel to New Caledonia, to assess and monitor the progress of the 1998 Noumea accords. However, due to a myriad of issues from the non availability of visas (that have to processed in France) and internal politics in New Caledonia, the trip has been deferred.
It is without a doubt, that the Colonial Powers in the Pacific and the Trans-Tasman cousins are increasingly wary of Fiji’s regional influence and close ties with China, as well as Fiji's expanding diplomatic relations in its 'Look North' initiative.
Fiji had established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan, hosted Russia's Foreign Minister, a delegation from North Korea, joined the Association of South East Asian Nations group (ASEAN) and most recently hosted a high level delegation from Iran bearing an invitation from Iran's President, to the Non-Alignment-Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, in August.
However, Fiji's new friends have caused some angst because of their incontrovertible success in being a non-conformist, opponent to the war addiction and unbridled crony capitalism, largely endorsed and supported by Anglo-American and European political elites.
An opinion article published in The Diplomat online magazine, illustrates such insular rhetoric and reductionist hubris existing in many Western bloc Capitals; which practically objects, opposes and despises any rising counter-balance to the Western bloc.
A significant counter point to The Diplomat opinion article, was presented in a Global Research TV video, which interviews Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World and analyses a wide variety of issues including the emerging BRICS nations, the crisis in Syria, and the implications of Washington's policy shift to the Asia-Pacific region . (Video posted below).
Since Fiji' joined the NAM, its rolodex of friends is expanding considerably and rapidly, far beyond the strait jacket induced list of the Commonwealth group. It is also undeniable, that the trajectory of the ' Look North' Foreign Policy adapted by Fiji, succeeded in raising many eyebrows in the Western capitals.
A plausible narrative is emerging- Bainimarama's intestinal fortitude is a refreshing difference both domestically and internationally; a stark contrast from the 'go-along-to get-along' malleable lapdog politicians in island states, who have been co-opted as convenient vassals for the old Colonial order and by extension the Western bloc.