Reports by and about Cleo Paskal: Associate Fellow Chatham House, London, UK; Trudeau Fellow, CÉRIUM, Canada; Adjunct Faculty Manipal University, India. Author Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, And Political Crises Will Redraw The World Map.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Article: Kingdom of Tonga, The Pacific, And Geopolitics, part 1 (Tonga Chronicle)
Part One of Cleo's series on Tonga, the Pacific, and geopolitics has appeared in the Tonga Chronicle. An excerpt:
While many in the region consider themselves a backwater, that is inaccurate. From a geopolitical perspective, the nations of the Pacific offer (among other things):
Sea-lanes and ports in relatively calm waters (increasingly important as China in particular increases trade with South America);
Access to fisheries (something increasingly important as the Atlantic is fished out);
Agricultural exports (especially important, as concerns over food security increase in countries such as China);
Unknown but potentially valuable underwater resources;
Geostrategic military basing sites;
Crucial votes in international fora (Pacific Island countries represent around a dozen votes in the UN – a substantial voting block).
Given what is at stake, other nations are understandably keen to take advantage of discontent with traditional partners to advance their own position in the Pacific.