The misbegotten notion that the South Pacific is a US sphere of influence
For its part, the U.S. has neglected the Solomon Islands and taken the country for granted for many years, and it is only when it seems to be drifting towards Beijing’s orbit that our government can be bothered to pay close attention. There hadn’t been a U.S. embassy in Honiara for almost 30 years until it announced it was being reopened earlier this year, and even that was justified as an anti-Chinese move. Washington says that it believes that small states should be able to decide for themselves about how to make their security arrangements and decide their foreign policy orientation, but it doesn’t adhere to that line when a government builds closer ties with China.
Many Western analysts grossly exaggerated the size and importance of an agreement between China and Iran last year with references to an “axis” or an “alliance” that doesn’t exist. More recently, the Pentagon has been sounding the alarm over a possible Chinese naval base in Equatorial Guinea that isn’t being built and wouldn’t pose much of a threat if it did exist.
The U.S. cannot neglect small nations and then expect them to fall in line when U.S. officials finally show up to complain about their relations with other states. If the U.S. wants to cultivate stronger ties with Pacific and Asian nations, it will have to make a consistent effort to work with these governments on issues of common interest. Insofar as the U.S. treats these states primarily as pawns in a rivalry with China, our government should not be surprised when some of them opt to cooperate more closely with China.
China Announces Signing of Security Pact With Solomon Islands Amid Biden’s Attempt to Sabotage Deal