How does the Marianas archipelago (group of islands) figure into broader economic and geopolitical strategies on a global stage? Military plans for the islands are just one part of the story. Most of us in the Marianas have grown accustomed to hearing stories about WWII campaigns in the Pacific and how these wartime battles identified our islands as "strategic locations" during the war between the U.S. and Japan. But how do our islands figure into global discourses today? In this contemporary political arena, we might ask ourselves: how are we being used as pawns between global powers once again? And how can we protect our people and our environments in the midst of the massive changes facing our islands?
"How are we being used as pawns between global powers once again?"
In recent news outlets, our islands are being discussed for their strategic importance once again, and this time for their importance in the global power play between China and the U.S., particularly as both countries look to bolster their maritime power in the region. The vast expanse of our ocean environments that surround the Marianas is critical to the tension between both countries. Currently, discussions of the "island chains" concept have become popular. The concept (which has been around since the 40's in American military discourse) is now being used to describe the geopolitical importance of various island chains to China's military strategy in the Pacific.
"Discussions of the "islands chains" concept have become popular"
The contemporary usage of the "island chains" concept gives us a better sense of how the islands are being viewed from a broader and more global perspective. These perspectives are useful in helping us again a more comprehensive view of how we fit into global political strategies and better positions us as citizens to make informed decisions about our political futures. Without acknowledging these broader political and economic strategies, we cannot fully grasp the importance of the changes that are occurring on our islands. In other words, an attentiveness to our everyday experiences with militarism and foreign investments on our home islands must be coupled with this global perspective in order to make sense of the changes we are experiencing.
"We must connect our everyday experiences with militarism and foreign investment to global shifts in order to make sense of the changes on our islands."