fredag 17. mars 2023

As U.S. Grows Guam Presence to Deter China, Wary Locals Are Denied A Choice

With tensions high between the U.S. and China, one small island in the Pacific stands as a nuclear-capable front line in what has the potential to be one of the devastating wars the world has ever seen. As the U.S. military expands its already dominating presence, however, not everyone who calls Guam home wants any part in such a conflict. And yet, the Indigenous people living on the shrinking two-thirds of the island not already consumed by U.S. military bases have little to no choice in the matter.

"There are many in the community who are critical of the role that Guam, as an unincorporated Territory, is forced to play in the posturing and aggression occurring between China and the United States," Melvin Won Pat-Borja, executive director of the Guam government's Commission on Decolonization, told Newsweek.

"As a Territory," he added, "Guam's relationship with the federal government, and thus the Department of Defense, is marked by consultation and not consent."

The complex history between the U.S. and Guam, an island located some 6,000 miles from California, began with another war, one waged between the U.S. and Spain in 1898. The U.S. seized Guam on the way to wresting control of the Philippines, which also remained a U.S. territory until gaining independence in 1946 after World War II, during which both Guam and the Philippines were invaded by the Japanese Empire.