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Micronesia at the crossroads : a reappraisal of the Micronesian political dilemma

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Micronesia at the crossroads : a reappraisal of the Micronesian political dilemma
Author(s): Heine, Carl
Date published: 1974
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Covering an area of the Pacific Ocean larger than the continental United States, the more than 2,000 islands and atolls of Micronesia - a United Nations strategic trust territory under U.S. trusteeship - are emerging as a political entity. Their history since the Spanish discovery in the seventeenth century is a parade of colonial rule - Spanish, German, Japanese, and now American. Today, the many islands and their diverse peoples are confronting the awesome task of determining their political future. Hampered by differences in culture and language, and by attitudes fostered under years of paternalism, the islanders must begin to develop an identity as Micronesians. As most commentary on Micronesia has been written by outsiders, this book is most welcome - an evaluation and viewpoint of a Micronesian who has been a student of Micronesian history and a close observer of the territory{u2019}s political development. In Carl Heine{u2019}s view, Micronesia is standing at the crossroads between political decolonization and autonomy or further dependence on a "neglectful" trustee, the United States. The question becomes, which road to nationalism should be taken? Here the author attempts to provide a basis for further discussion of Micronesia{u2019}s future, and offers alternative solutions: complete independence from the United States; a return to traditional ways of life; the formation of a Free Associated State of Micronesia aligned with the United States. As he comments, there are those in Micronesia who prefer Coca-Cola to coconuts, and others who prefer coconuts to Coca-Cola. Whatever the final resolution, both of these preferences must be respected and accommodated. The problems facing Micronesia are immense and pressing. Here in straightforward language is the view of the dilemma by one man - a man completely immersed in the struggle to realize the rights of 100,000 people to a better life.


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