Good or bad, the RMI gets the kind of government it deserves; Adult supervision needed: Whether Tomeing is in Majuro or globe-trotting again, juvenile delinquent Tony Debrum is running the RMI government

The Marshall Islands Journal sunk to a new low this week, burying stories about RMI bungling of it position on supplementary nuclear claims compensation in the U.S. Senate (S. 1756), as well as U.S. rejection of the RMI’s prematurely confirmed appointee for RMI Ambassador to the United States.   These two stories were virtually hidden from readers in easily overlooked corners of the MIJ, but each story speaks volumes about the disarray, confusion and self-defeating policies of the deBrum administration.

Yes, there is no point in calling it the Tomeing administration, because Tony deBrum is the de facto head of government.   Tomeing is down in Niue, with Christopher Loeak, who is taking the long way home after going to the Olympics in China.  Fred Pedro is with Tomeing, so that leaves Tony in Majuro to do really weird things, like blame Ben Graham’s rejection on the U.S. and make a joke about the RMI’s failure to support S. 1756.

Tony deBrum says S. 1756 is not enough money, but he has no plan for how to get more.   So it is really juvenile and disrespectful to mock the U.S. Congress by saying he was “flattered” the Congress needs “RMI endorsement” to pass legislation.    No, Tony, the U.S. Congress does not need the RMI’s endorsement, but the U.S. Congress is not stupid.  It will not approve legislation that could cost the U.S. taxpayers and voters more than $100 million over a 15-20 year period without assurances the RMI supports the legislation.   The RMI should have supported S. 1756 without having to be asked, and the fact that the Congress had to ask shows that Tony deBrum and the Cabinet were asleep at the wheel.

For Tony to say he feels personally flattered to be asked for his endorsement shows that he thinks it is all about him, instead of about the people of 10 atolls who would benefit from and additional $5 million per year.   Instead of educating the people about this issue, the MIJ reported that RMI lawyers in Washington were being paid legal fees to work on an RMI statement regarding S. 1756, which we agree is too little too late.   Paying Tony’s lobbyists to write a statement is a waste of RMI money because all the RMI has to do is send a letter saying it is not enough but it will help and it is appreciated, and the RMI would like to consult on additional nuclear claims issues.

If those RMI lawyers want to help, they should explain to Tony deBrum that U.S. officials in Congress and the Executive Branch and even the U.S. Courts get news from all over the world, and may notice stories about the RMI. What do they think when they see Tomeing threatening to give Kwajalein not to Taiwan, but the PRC?   What do you think comes to mind when they see Tony deBrum mocking and showing his contempt for Congress because it has before it legislation with “only” $100 million?

One thing for sure, the MIJ won’t ask any of these questions.  The MIJ headline this week was about Japanese International Cooperation Agency volunteers.  The story about S. 1756 was in a little box on page 3, and the Ben Graham story was in an even smaller box on page 3, very easy to miss.  We actually did miss it, until it was pointed out to us. That’s too bad, because Ben was a victim of bad mishandling of his nomination by Tony deBrum.

It appears there is a perception in Washington that Tony deBrum was trying to pressure the U.S. to accept Ben by saying the U.S. had sent confusing signals, and that his confirmation before final U.S. agreement to receive him was a stunt by deBrum that hurt Ben more than it helped.   This is seen as more of the same adolescent tactics Tony used on the “pay more or get out” Kwajalein ultimatum.  Like his tactics on Kwajalein, the attempt to influence the U.S. position and policy by making provocative statements in the press backfired.

Clearly, Tony wants to do as much damage as he can, and Tomeing is clueless.   If the representatives of the people let this go on much longer, then they are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.   If the people stand by a watch then they will get the kind of government they deserve.

In a democracy, you don’t stay silent and it does not show respect to let leaders do the wrong thing in the name of the people.   You show respect for your country by protesting and demanding leadership that protects the people, and serves the nation.

You may not speak up to an Iroij if you still have one because feudal rulers are intolerant, but you show respect for elected leaders by speaking up and telling them what you think.  Of course, since the MIJ does not give the people very much information, that adds to the problem.

This week the MIJ devoted a great deal of attention to the assurances of the U.S. Army that it really likes Kwajalein.  What do you expect them to say, that is their job.   The real question is what is being said in Washington by those whose job it is to decide what to do between now and December.

No doubt the U.S. will try its best to keep Kwajalein if it can do so without paying more than it has agreed to pay. The U.S. wants that option, and it may even throw deBrum a few bones to chew on, like the OTEC power purchase agreement, that may or may not mean anything.

And the U.S. may agree to keep the positive story going as long as possible, because it expects the RMI to act in the best interest of the people and the nation. Many in Washington think Tony deBrum is just another self-absorbed leader with a bad case of political narcissism.

We’ll see about that soon enough.    Many in the U.S. think the Army should find another location, and would like to see Kwajalein returned other landowners, just like the big pull out in Philippines, Puerto Rico and other locations.   But that won’t happen unless the RMI really blows it, which seems more and more possible every day under the deBrum government.

If the people let the current situation with a figure head president and a juvenile delinquent running the government, the people get the government they deserve.


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