What is Tony deBrum’s real ideological agenda?

It is significant that the new RMI Foreign Minster felt a need to deny in an interview with the Marshall Islands Journal that he or his party are “anti-American.”    This apparently was his response to reports that some current U.S. officials responsible for managing the Kwajalein issue are convinced that Foreign Minister deBrum has an agenda different from the Kwajalein chiefs, who apparently put him in power to do their bidding.   Clearly, the chiefs want more money, but a 2005 speech expressing his own ideological views suggest that Minister deBrum may actually want the U.S. out of Kwajalein for ideological reasons.  While the high chief also has expressed the view that the U.S. should leave Kwajalein, most people assumed that was a negotiating ploy.   But the chiefs who put deBrum in parliament to get them more money may find that he is using them for his own goals, instead of vice versa.

Specifically, on May 11, 2005, the new RMI Foreign Minister, Mr. deBrum, called not for increased lease payments, but for an end to U.S. Army operations at Kwajalein.   Speaking to an international audience at the Seventh Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, deBrum stated:

“After years of ICBM testing, the Marshall Islands now has the dubious distinction of hosting the US government’s missile shield testing program. The US government shoots Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) at the Marshall Islands. From an area leased by the US Army on Kwajalein Atoll, the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Test Site, the US launches interceptor missiles at the incoming ICBMs to test the ability of these interceptors to track and destroy incoming missiles…Efforts by the Kwajalein leadership to deal with the realities which face them when the current agreement expires in 2016 have been largely ignored as the US openly and callously discusses the uses of our lands beyond 2016 and into 2086…all without our consent…We call upon the international community to extend its hands to assist the people of the Marshall Islands to extricate themselves from the legacy of the nuclear age and the burden of providing testing grounds for weapons of mass destruction.”

In light of what this statement reveals about the true personal goals of the new Foreign Minister in the RMI, it is important not to let the Economist magazine or Mr. deBrum’s local political party confuse or distract the people of the RMI, the opposition party in the RMI, the Congress, the U.S. Army or the Department of State from the real issues we face in seeking good faith implementation of the treaties between the RMI and the USA. 

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