‘Self-rule results in progress’
Friday, 13 November 2009 04:25
by Jude Lizama | Variety News Staff
UNITED Nations advisor Dr. Carlyle Corbin advised the people of Guam to seize the moment and accelerate the process of self determination, adding that “we may not get another chance.”
During a forum at the University of Guam, Corbin said there has been “dormant evolution” in the self determination processes of many territories around the globe, citing the example of Greenland and its failed attempts for a dialogue on self determination with Denmark and the denial of Greenland’s referendum on self determination by the Danish government.
Additionally, Corbin said the current situations of territories have been further complicated by factors such as militarization and the evolution of the global economy. According to the UN advisor, the absence of self governance decreases the frequency to secure economic agreements, which ultimately hurts the ability for territories to compete in the international economy. As such, the inability of many territories to react to the fast paced world has further increased local challenges.
Nevertheless, Corbin did not focus on the negative effects of colonization, citing the example of free association with U.S. citizenship as a model of autonomy.
He said an expanded autonomy would decrease economic vulnerability, citing a contrasting example of increased vulnerability bolstering dependency governance.
With regard to U.S. territories, Corbin stated that high debt ratio has stabilized the dependence for federal grants.
Corbin also said that strategic value remains for many territories in the Pacific and Caribbean regions, which has been exploited in a continuing trend, solidifying a “priority of suppression.”
In addition, the post 9/11 period and the tightening environment of global and national security hinder territories’ ability to achieve political self determination.
From a militaristic point of view, Corbin said many territories have essentially been “spoils of war,” citing the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the United States’ acquisition of the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba from Spain as an example.
Another example provided by Corbin proving war strategy’s influence on territorial affiliation with larger nations was the United States’ concern that German forces would overtake and utilize the Danish-West Indian islands as a submarine base during the First World War. As a result, the U.S. purchased the islands in 1917 from Denmark at a price of $25 million, changing its name to the U.S. Virgin Islands.