Saturday, May 3, 2008

Time to Let Go?

All the recent discussion of Tibet and today's primary in Guam got me thinking. Isn't it time for the U.S. to formulate a general plan to let the colonies go? What I mean by "colonies" is our Pacific and Atlantic islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa etc...? Of course, in prinicpal I would probably be willing to part with sections of the southwest, and I have always considered sections of the midwest to be expendible. Why not take the Dakotas, Montana, unpopulated sections of Wyoming, and other rather unimportant states and just give them back to the Native American populations who lay claim to the land?

Anycase, in the case of the islands, I suspect there would be quite a few logistic hurdles to pass before we can cut them free. First, every one of those places is heavily dependant on the US for direct economic aid. We would probably have to continue supporting these territories long after they formally declare Independence. In places like Hawaii with significant non-indigenous populations, rights of the "foreign" population would have to be guaranteed up to a certain point after Independence. Also, complicated legal issues like real estate holdings, business interests, and other claims of ownership would have to be clarified over a long period of negotiation.

Nevertheless, I don't see the US losing out on much in the giveaway. Key military installations could probably be maintained via special treaties. In return, the US gains a better moral standing in the world and has greater legitimacy as a non-colonial power.

1 comment:

hcduvall said...

Assuming they all want independence, and not the sort of autonomy that is spreading about (between the versions for the Basque and Catalan territories in Spain, or Scotland's parliament, and I don't know, what do Okinawans think about their place these days?) I don't see what the gain is for the US. Moral standing buys exactly nothing, I'm not even sure money buys that much influence. Subordinate as they have always been, Taiwan and Japan have existed as fonts of foreign aid to not much avail. Trade is the only pressure that seems to work.

The problem satellite treaties is that if you're supporting those territories that much, it's the same thing as still controlling them. And if you're not, you 're risking some Chavez or Cuban like nationalization.. And invariably former colonizer and former colony still feel, tied to each other, never as simply as sever some ties and go away. Look at French conduct in Africa...and France is the other democratic moral pole in world politics.

If only I could extend my benevolent rule from Civ to real life...