The Pacific Pivot: Ecocide on an Oceanic Scale
July 1, 2014
Koohan Paik / Island Breath
RIMPAC, a massive US Navy war exercise, is a small piece of a huge, systemized, federal project of destruction. It's called the "Pacific Pivot" (or by some the "Asian Pivot). The Pacific Pivot is a plan to reorient the US military away from Europe and the Middle East, and toward the Asia-Pacific region. Island and reefs with by bombs and blasted, all in the name of "security." But the truth is, genuine security is to be found in uncontaminated farmland, clean air and water, a healthy ocean, and true democracy.
[Note: This presentation was made on June 7, 2014 at the Oceans4Peace RIMPAC Panel Discussion.]
(June 26, 2014) -- RIMPAC is only a small piece of a huge, systemized, federal project of destruction. It's called the "Pacific Pivot" (or by some the "Asian Pivot). The Pacific Pivot is a plan to reorient the US military away from Europe and the Middle East, and toward the Asia-Pacific region.
One of the more galling plans in the works is the designation of the MITT, or Mariana Islands Training and Testing Area, which sets aside a million square miles of ocean and several islands to receive, year-round, "full spectrum" military practice.
"Full spectrum" means weapons and bombs are detonated from every conceivable military perspective: missiles are launched from destroyer ships and drones, bombs are dropped from fighter jets, torpedoes are shot from submarines -- drones are launched from submarines -- squadrons of tanks lumber onto fragile coral reefs crushing everything beneath them -- and so many other inconceivable practices.
There are underwater-mine detonations. Low-frequency sonar. Medium-frequency sonar. High-frequency sonar. And very-high-frequency sonar. Thousands of fish and invertebrate species, and at least 26 marine mammal species will be severely impacted.
This is not just for a few weeks, like RIMPAC. This is a year round, military gang rape of Mother Earth. It will cover one million square miles of the planet. That's bigger than the areas of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and New Mexico, combined. And this is just in what's called the Mariana Range Complex. The same sort of thing, but less intensely, will take place in the Hawaii Range Complex, which is twice as big.
For the natural world, the Pacific Pivot is nothing short of an environmental holocaust. Biodiverse ecosystems . . .totaling over three million square miles of supposedly "wild" ocean have been officially set aside to be systematically poisoned, dredged, detonated, torpedoed and bombed into nonexistence -- all in service to "military preparedness." Over three million square miles of open seas -- that's roughly three-quarters the size of the entire United States of America.
We are now just in its beginning stages of the Pivot. New bases are being built, new military agreements are being forged with Pacific-rim nations, the PMRF is ramping up for more rocket launches, the obnoxious Osprey helicopters are coming to Hawaii; and huge swaths of ocean have been targeted by the Pentagon for continual year-round bombing and detonations.
Our region is now witnessing an acceleration of militarization that resembles all-out war. And from an environmental point of view, it is no different from all-out war, because the training exercises, rife with every kind of explosion imaginable, never stop. Even PMRF Commander Hay bragged how, "Our ability to train like we would actually fight exists here" (in these Hawaiian waters).
We in Hawaii are at the center of this ecocide. We are not only at the center geographically -- we are also at the center of control.
The Maui activist Kaleikoa Kaeo pointed out that the military in Hawaii is like a monstrous hee (or octopus), its head at Pacific Command overlooking Pearl Harbor, its eyes the mountaintop telescopes-undersea sensors-and radar facilities, its brain and nervous system the supercomputers and fiberoptic networks that crisscross the islands from California to Hawaii to Guam, Okinawa, Australia, Singapore, Korea and Japan, Diego Garcia -- all of which contain our bases.
The dominion of the Pacific Command stretches from Alaska to Antarctica, from off the west coast of the United States to the Indian Ocean. PACOM controls an entire hemisphere, and we -- in Hawaii -- are unsurpassed in sheer military firepower.
The Pacific Pivot is the US attempt to stake its claim on the Asia-Pacific region. Hillary Clinton, a huge cheerleader for the militarization, has called the 21st century "America's Pacific Century."
That's because the US wants in on the booty of the Asia-Pacific -- the planet's most resource-rich and economically dynamic region. Within thirty-five years -- says the Asian Development Bank -- the region will account for half of the world's economic output and include four of the world's ten largest economies, those of China, India, Indonesia and Japan.
In order to cash in, an aggressive trade agenda accompanies the military push. You can't have McDonald's without McDonnell Douglas. Obama has been courting Pacific Rim nations to sign onto the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, which locks signatory nations into a US dominated trade framework.
It's been dubbed "NAFTA on steroids." There is currently a push to fast-track the TPP despite protests from labor groups and environmentalists internationally.
To keep a US-dominated trade program -- like the TPP -- running smoothly, a strong military presence is necessary to ensure US dominance over shipping lanes; over cheap labor and resources; and over the manufacturing supply chain.
A big part of the Pacific Pivot also encompasses humanitarian disaster relief. Ensuring US dominance is not simply amassing ally nations to counter a rising China. Nor is it limited to quelling riots by exploited workers, anti-base protestors or eco-terrorists like the folks at Greenpeace.
A typhoon or an earthquake or a flood is just as threatening to the uninterrupted flow of goods from Asia to Walmart as is a political uprising. The idea is to keep the machine running smoothly and uninterrupted, no matter what. Humanitarian disaster relief is not only great public relations, but it's essential for hegemony in the world economy.
The US military takes the world's most beautiful and biodiverse places and irreversibly trashes them so that they can no longer support life. How did we ever get to this insane point in human history?? Well, capitalism has a lot to do with it. Money drives infinite expansion of the defense industry. And defense money drives which politicians get elected.
For example, Representative Colleen Hanabusa, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, says, "The committee's top priority is the safety and security of our country, not just for today, but for the future." Top donors to Hanabusa include missile manufacturer Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard has said that she hopes her military experience will guide crucial decisions "as we look toward the Asia-Pacific pivot . . .and dealing with threats to our national security." A member of the House Homeland Security Committee, she received funding from Boeing and BAE Systems.
Senator Mazie Hirono, who was ironically born in Fukushima, Japan, is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and also received campaign funding from Lockheed Martin.
In December of last year, Senator Brian Schatz, who received funding from BAE Systems, said "As the US moves towards a strategic rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, Hawaii plays an ever-increasingly critical role."
We hear the term "security" over and over again from our government officials. Regional security. National security. Homeland security. But these politicians are mere spokesmodels for the defense industry. Homeland security has nothing to do with genuine security.
Genuine security is not the military fortressing that has made many islands, like Kauai, targets for attack. It's certainly not the endless war games, which have already destroyed so much of the earth. Genuine security is uncontaminated farmland, clean air, clean drinking water, a healthy ocean, and true democracy.
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC IMPACT 6/8/14
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC Then and Now 5/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The Asian Pivot -- An ugly dance 12/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Help save Mariana Islands 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End RimPac destruction of Pacific 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Moana Nui Confereence 11/1/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy to conquer Marianas again 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Pagan Island beauty threatened 10/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Sleepwalking through destruction 7/16/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Okinawa breathes easier 4/27/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Navy Next-War-Itis 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: America bullies Koreans 4/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Despoiling Jeju island coast begins 3/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Jeju Islanders protests Navy Base 2/29/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Hawaii -- Start of American Empire 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Korean Island of Peace 2/26/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Military schmoozes Guam & Hawaii 3/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: In Search of Real Security -- One 8/31/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Peace for the Blue Continent 8/10/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Shift in Pacific Power Balance 8/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RimPac to expand activities 6/29/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC War Games here in July 6/20/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Pacific Resistance to US Military 5/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: De-colonizing the Pacific 5/21/10
Ea O Ka Aina: RIMPAC to Return in 2010 5/2/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/5/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Living at the Tip of the Spear 4/15/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam Land Grab 11/30/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Guam as a modern Bikini Atoll 12/25/09
Ea O Ka Aina: GUAM -- Another Strategic Island 11/8/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Diego Garcia -- Another stolen island 11/6/09
Ea O Ka Aina: DARPA & Super-Cavitation on Kauai 3/24/09
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 -- Navy fired up in Hawaii 7/2/08
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2008 uses destructive sonar 4/22/08
Island Breath: Navy Plans for the Pacific 9/3/07
Island Breath: Judge restricts sonar off California 08/07/07
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 sonar compromise 7/9/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2006 -- Impact on Ocean 5/23/06
Island Breath: RIMPAC 2004 -- Whale strandings on Kauai 9/2/04
Island Breath: PMRF Land Grab 3/15/04
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