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Pacific Islands - Polynesia and Melanesia.

Discussion in 'Geostrategic Issues' started by ngatimozart, Apr 10, 2018.

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  1. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Reading this thread, one thing that come out on my mind. Whether Australia and NZ continous support for Pacific Islanders and Timor Leste, whether Indonesia or some other Asean members like Singapore or Malaysia come to coordinate with Aussie and NZ for supporting Pacific Islanders..there's something that we have to accept that combine Aussie, NZ or Asean can't compete with China..that's sheer Investment that China potentially can provide to the like of Timor Leste, PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, etc.

    Look at Timor Leste and PNG. Despite their proximity to Australia, and Australian influences, despite Timor Leste trade dependence to Indonesia on day to day goods..Chinese Business come to them..offering infrastructure Investment that in time neither Australia or Indonesia as immidiate neighbours can compete. That's in reality how China going to buy her influences in to Pacific islanders that in time can reduce traditional influences of Australia and NZ.

    Unless Aussies, NZ or Asean can provide the 'competting' sheer number of Investment that China 'potentially' can disburse, I only see just in time those Nations will fall in to China spear of influence. We already see what happen to Maldives and Sri Lanka..and besides concern that come from New Dehli, there are limit that India can do..unless India willing to compete with China on Investment and market access.

    Same thing will happen to Pacific. I know this is defense forum, but in reality to compete the influenses in Melanesian and Polynesian group is comeback to Economics Coercions that so far China willing to provide.
     
    Sandhi Yudha likes this.
  2. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Part of the issue (and this is getting away from a strictly defence discussion) is whether or not some of the economic soft power China (and others for that matter) can bring to bear is providing a benefit to the recipients.

    Sri Lanka comes to mind as an example of the concern, where state-controlled Chinese firms provided loans totaling some USD$8 bil. for infrastructure projects to spur economic development. The problems with that were many-folded, as the amount has been so high that the Sri Lankan gov't has struggled to make the payments, to the point that the gov't leased a USD$1.1 bil. port building using borrowed money to a state-controlled Chinese company on a 99 year lease. As an aside, the port Sri Lanka built for some time had only been seeing a ship per day dock on average. AFAIK since the handover occurred, the rate of ship visits has increased to an average of 2-3 per day.

    From my POV, it seems as though many of the projects developing countries are apt (or perhaps be encouraged) to pursue are ones which will not necessarily be economically self-sustaining, or at least not without outside help and influence. If the local populace is economically depressed and lacking sufficient higher education, then their respective gov'ts will most likely lack advisers with the appropriate expertise to know whether or not a project is financially viable and therefore worth borrowing to pursue.

    This is yet another area that Australia, NZ, France, the US, Canada and other developed nations with an interest in the ASEAN/S. Pacific areas can help contribute by both providing some of the planning experts, teachers to help educate the local populace, and opportunities for higher education.
     
  3. Ananda

    Ananda Active Member

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    Agree, but I also see the 'attraction' on Investments that can side tracked any government from potential long term soft development. In short, is it enough the soft development program to compete with hard development/investment that China willing to provide ? China's in buying influences mood, thus I just see the soft development program is not enough unless accompany with some hard infrastructure investments too.

    Sorry, not try to detract from defense topics, but somehow to counter China rising influences, it's neccesary to provide simmilar approach.
     
  4. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    The $200bln ADF fund ought to be mentioned and respected. Australia spends the most in S. Pacific aid by along way. There are things that the ADF can do in the S. pacific that other nations can not by virtue of its geographical location and industrial weight. For at least the next 50 years the ADF will have the capability and political will to provide A2AD in the S. Pacific as they have done since World War 2. And we the people of the S. Pacific need to have a good hard talk about whether we want to maintain that capability for the next 100 years as we have for the last hundred. And these questions are not easy to answer because the answers are super expensive. So we have to organise around specific issues that make the People of S. Pacific lives better. A decent minimum wage, universal healthcare. And that means reaching out to people who we may find distasteful or even repugnant. Conversion takes place through acts of empathy that are carried out by people that are not our natural allies. And when you organise around those concrete issues that is the starting point of a unified defence, trade and economic arrangement that supersedes any one nation or empire.

    Not only will our integrity be questioned we will be measured by our ability to sustain our neighbour especially given the times we are about to face, and that will sustain us. And I won't go to deep into that because this is a defence forum but when things get real bad the elites will retreat into there gated communities with amenities and services and security that is denied to the rest of us, and they'll leave us on our own. And as Gough Whitlam understood those of us who are left behind will endure a complete inversion of the values of capitalism Oceania style.

    Closer economic, trade and defence relations can provide S.Pacific entrepreneurs with world class infrastructure and an integral block of the rules based order we've all lived under for the last hundred years.
     
  5. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    Part of the issue/concern with the example I provided from Sri Lanka, is at a certain point a loan or 'investment' stops being viable.

    Again, take the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka which was built using USD$1.1 bil. borrowed from Chinese entities. After the port was completed, the port was being visited by shipping at an approximate rate of one vessel per day. Now I do not know what sort of revenues a port can expect from ship visits, but I would be shocked if a brand new port with a USD$1.1 bil. price tag could be expected to meet load repayments if there is only one ship that comes in per day.

    Had a smaller, less comprehensive and expensive port facility been built, then it might have been able to cover the costs with a single visitor per day. In short, for whatever reason, the loans enabled Sri Lanka to build a large and expensive facility with capacity far beyond the shipping volume has required with the result that Sri Lanka spent more than they could afford to buy something larger than they can use.

    There is concern that such trends might continue in other areas where foreign state-sponsored investment is occurring.
     
  6. tonnyc

    tonnyc Member

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    I confirm that there isn't any significant shipping with the more remote South Pacific nations. It's why I limited the possibility to just Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea.

    Funding for fuel purchases is very unlikely to happen, but providing training slots is an excellent idea that I wish I had thought of. Indonesia has trained soldiers from other Southeast Asian countries as part of ASEAN-wide military exchanges. With East Timor and Papua New Guinea having observer status within ASEAN and them wanting to join ASEAN, it should be possible to include such a training within that framework. Another possibility is to use the Indonesian peacekeeping training center. Indonesia has several times offered the use of the center as a regional UN peacekeeping training hub. While that center can't provide naval training, they could help prepare the men and women from the South Pacific nations for blue helmets.

    It's not that I disagree, it's that those other stuff are non-defense stuff and thus outside the scope of this forum. For example, I can talk about medical scholarships and well digging, but is that appropriate for this forum? Giving money for fuel also doesn't guarantee the fuel will be used for defense operations. They may very well decide the fuel is better spent running their diesel power plants. That's within their rights, of course, but given this forum is about defense and security, I'm deliberately trying to limit the scope of the conversation to matters directly related to defense and security.
     
  7. t68

    t68 Active Member

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  8. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    That decision makers face broad status quo maintenance does not automatically make every issue a defence mater. Quite simply in Todjaegers example you need really good set ups in order to stack treasury bonds on. If for example Sri Lanka port authorities had of taken that 1.1bill. loan deposit and put it into something like spices that they can flip in 6 months they could have probably payed cash for a more appropriate port facility commensurate with the data. AND then stacked a 1.1bill. loan on top and scaled up from there.

    Now I'm not suggesting any one goes into the Pacific Leaders Forum waving broad lofty goals, so to speak. We need to be able to base the leaders forum on a couple things like requests for assistance that can be fulfilled and call that a victory. Both Australia and New Zealand already do a lot of cross service training events. We've assisted with the reconstruction of fuel depots, prisons, schools and other infrastructure projects over the last 100 years. But we need to see these things expanding because if it just stays the same then we may as well learn how to speak Chinese. But we need to be able to put the Pacific Leaders Forum on the developmental edge where they are undoing and rebuilding foreign, defence and trade relationships and we can't over extend our capability to provide assistance past exhaustion. But we do need to start organising our financing and investments better because we need better set ups.
     
  9. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    The reason why I brought up some of the potential aides that could be provided and are not directly defence related is that soft power, basically by definition, is not military in nature and therefore cannot be directly countered with hard power.

    That is not to say however that armed forces cannot have a role in building soft power, as military/naval responses to HADR situations are significant examples of. If Indonesia were able to deploy Makassar-class LPD's to S. Pacific island nations following an event like Cyclone Pam, and/or the Indonesian hospital ship.

    From my POV, one of the areas where the S. Pacific island nations are lacking would be in terms of support capabilities. This covers areas like availability and response for medical issues, comms, and logistics. If the different developed (or more developed) nations with an interest in and concern for developing Pacific Island Forum member-nations got together, then areas where the island nations have capability shortfalls could be identified and then divided up so that outside nations could help provide an appropriate response.

    This might be that one 'sponsoring' nation opens slots in a medic, nursing, MD programme that forum members can send a stream of trainees to. Or it could be that a nation sends out a team to build and staff a medical clinic (there are portable hospitals built using specialized ISO containers). Or providing stockpiles of emergency food and medicines in case of an incident of catastrophic event. All of these type activities are good examples of how the islands could be supported, and could reasonably be done as either a military-led or joint civil/military venture.
     
  10. 40 deg south

    40 deg south Member

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    I can't speak for the whole Pacific, but in Samoa and Tonga there are definitely a couple of RAN regulars posted to help keep the PPBs operational. Looked to me like one engineering-type specialist tasked with helping local forces keep the vessel safe and seaworthy, and one more senior officer responsible for assisting with mission planning etc. One I met was a former Armidale CO, enjoying a couple of cushy years in the sun after some grueling years pulling bodies out of the Timor Sea.
     
  11. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/...m/news-story/64b4e716a47657bd110671a4c464cf36

    Since it is out in the open now there is a push for a Suva based Super Rugby Franchise as part of a strategy to leverage NZ soft power in the Pacific. The new team the Pacific Force will draw players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

    The rumours are also there that if the Saffer teams go to Europe then a further Asian based franchise the Dragons in Singapore who lost out to the Japan based Sunwolves in gaining entry in 2014 may also be invited.

    Edit Update: This media report about a US team operating out of Hawaii joining makes it all the more interesting.

    Group that failed to buy Warriors keen on Super Rugby team in Hawaii

    The PM does not seem up with the play on this one - but it would fit right in with Winston's aspirations and his billion dollar Foreign Aid budget.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018 at 10:22 PM
  12. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    World Series Rugby has started with great success. The competition, bankrolled and passionately advocated for by Perth millionaire Twiiggy Forrest includes teams from Tonga, the Fiji Warriors, Samoa, Western Force, Crusaders and the Melbourne Rebels.
    So far crowds of over 16,000 have watched the first two games in Perth, compared with a paltry 5,000 watching the Rebels v Brumbies in Canberra last week.
    It is a fantastic boost for the Pacific nations Rugby, the game is tailored for them. The rules have changed so that there is a one minute time limit on scrums, if not completed the team causing the breakdown is penalised, the ball can be thrown in to a line out as soon as the team throwing is ready and there are up to 12 rolling substitutions throuout the game.
    The whole focus is to keep play in motion for longer, oh and tries are worth seven points.
    I've watched the first game and the spectacle is fantastic, faster and with none of the boring waits at breakdowns as experienced in Super Rugby.
     
  13. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    The Crusaders are not in the competition. They be current Super 15 champions and will win it again this year.
     
  14. Ocean1Curse

    Ocean1Curse Member

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    Ma'a Nonu, Steven Luatua, Victor Vito are looking for exemptions to join Charles Piutau and Frank Halai in The Pacific and take the Pacific Force to the World Cup. Theyll all face each other there.
     
  15. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I believe it's the Crusaders second string team
     
  16. MrConservative

    MrConservative Super Moderator Staff Member

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    IIRC it was Mr Forest who tried to get the Asian Dragons based out of Singapore up as an expansion team in 2014 but the Sunwolves were selected.

    Pleased to see that the crowds are good for this competition. It will act as a good feeder comp for Super 12 like the ITM Cup does in NZ.

    The one minute scrum rule is a brilliant idea as is the revised lineout law. I hope SANZAR is noticing. One interesting changes mooted to me by a mate in the Sports Media world was going to 20 minute quarters to better package advertising and potentially speed the game up.

    Slightly OT but in the context of the Soft Power of Rugby in the Pacific ....

    Having the Saffers franchises go north to Europe may indeed be a blessing in disguise for Super Rugby as the really strong NZ and SA teams are hurting OZ Rugby. Having five teams OZ diluted the talent pool and realistically there was only enough for the old traditional three - Queensland, NSW and ACT to exist at tier 1 Super Rugby level. OZ rugby was stronger when it had 3 good pro teams succeeding. The Rebels should join Mr Forests World Rugby Series comp as getting smashed by teams like the Canes and Crusaders is not condusive to growing Rugby in what is in effect a AFL/Soccer town.

    There is interest / discussions about a Hawaiian based team using North American talent viz the US and Canada players. There is also the possibility for two more Asia teams that have been talked about on Rugby forums from time to time. A Hong Kong based franchise drawing upon HK, Taiwan and Korea and a further team based in Singapore drawing on Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. All topped up with NZ and Australian Professionals.

    A revised Super Rugby format without the Saffers based on the Asia-Pacific rim with the existing 5 Kiwi, 3 OZ, 1 South Am, 1 Japanese plus the expansion of a further 1 Pacific, 1 US/Can and 2 Asian based franchises would be an interesting prospect with all nations capable of single hop direct flights - which does not happen under the current model.