Professor Virginia Tilley wants to raise awareness about why the United States government, as well as other large nations such as China, wants to increase its military presence in the Pacific.
“The US strategy is to build its military base quite dramatically – more ships, more guns,” she said.
“People don’t realise how much the US military strategy affects the Pacific. But I truly believe this is very dangerous, and people need to be very cautious,” she said.
Tilley said militarisation of the Pacific will take money away from other projects, such as roads and other development.
“What are the main motivations of the US for building a military base in the Pacific? It’s nothing to do with security.
It’s about creating a big military industrial complex. It’s big corporations looking for money, and they will suck money and resources out of the Pacific,” she said.
“The Pacific has this enormous ocean. Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, we’re so tiny, what would they want with us?’ but the Pacific has this enormous ocean, and it’s a resource. And of course the US and China would see it the same way.”
Tilley said there has been a history of the USA being seen as a friendly partner for the Pacific since World War II, but that international opinion of the United States is changing. She said the USA is beginning to be seen as aggressive, due to events such as the war in Iraq or the use of ‘drones’, which are unmanned aircrafts with cameras and missiles, used in places such as Pakistan – monitored and detonated from the United States – that aim to kill militants but also kill civilians in the process.
“There’s the US losing credibility on one hand and increasing military in the Pacific on the other,” said Tilley, who has a PhD in political science from the University of Wisconson-Madison.
She said she hopes to increase awareness about US military involvement worldwide, and how it affects Pacific nations.
“My experience in other parts of the world has been similar, but it’s more extreme here [in the Pacific]. People are not aware of these global issues,” she said.
The lecture will be held today at USP Cook Islands from 7pm.