The Asia-Pacific Trade Pact

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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Wall Street Journal’s new Twitter graphics on the emerging Asia-Pacific Trade Pact tell the story well.

The mighty Pacific has as many opportunities for the lands it touches as there can be fish. Skirting the Hawai’ian archipelago in the center – where north, south, east and west meet – with its pristine and blue waters, the ocean comes ashore on 44 countries, all, from the big to the small, overwhelmed by its quiet majesty (click on graphic to enlarge. Source: Wikipedia).

The Pacific Command of the United States in Pearl Harbor, on the Hawai’ian island of Oahu, the Gathering Place, the largest and the oldest of US military commands has something to look forward to not because China is building its naval fleet as Fareed Zakaria worries openly in the pages of The Washington Post  but because Oahu once again offers an extraordinary historical context to right the wrongs of both USS Arizona and Hiroshima and Nagasaki by becoming the trading post and financial center of choice in the Pacific.

Both United States and China have neither the intent nor the financial wherewithal to build massive militaries except when doing so is in their economic interest, to create jobs.

There are other ways to employ people, without committing them to the expense of the war machine, by ensuring that the very resources they vie for are more sustainably consumed and shared among them as they work to raise the living standards of their peoples, all united by centuries in migration to Hawai’i.

From the work of bridge and road laying after World War II by the US military to the giant telescope on Mauna Kea operated by University of Hawai’i’s Institute for Astronomy’s deep space science, and the university’s rising life sciences research, the 50th and last state which was acceded to the union holds the potential to become the Massachusetts of the Pacific, heralding America’s righteous manifest destiny in the 21st century.

The architecture of the Asia-Pacific Trade Pact ought to be a no-brainer for this president, born, rooted and educated intergenerationally of Kenya and Kansas in Hawai’i.

It is all 44 or none. The trade winds, which always caress the Hawai’ian islands, are blowing that way.

(I spent 7 years as a graduate student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and as a resident of the State of Hawai’i from 1990 to 1997).


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa
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