Wypijewski missile testing pacific article-Harpers

Wypijewski missile testing pacific article-Harpers - R E P...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
To be master of the sea is an abridgement of a monarchy. . . . ‘[W]hoever is master of the sea is master of all things.’ —Francis Bacon, 1612 Whoever controls space will control the destiny of earth and when you look at the options out there, I would ask you, who do you want it to be, Iran, Russia, Iraq, China? I don’t think so. . . . For those who doubt and say we can’t militarize space, I would say to you . . .it will be no different than the milita- rization of earth by the United States of America. —Senator Bob Smith, 2000 I t was not so long ago, per- haps three generations, that among peoples of the Pacific the Marshall Islanders were still known for the skill they had perfected at least a thou- sand years before Europeans first ventured into the great sea. “Navigators of the Pacif- ic,” they set out in boats whose hulls they had carved from breadfruit trees, with sails woven of pandanus leaves, pulling on rope made from the central rib of coconut- palm fronds, and plotting their course by curious charts, delicate and com- plex, made of wooden strips crisscrossed to mark the position of the land and the direction of the wind. Before there was compass or sextant, they traveled to other countries and among their own lands—some 1,200 tiny outcroppings in the Central Pacific, only four exceed- ing one square mile in area, all awash in 750,000 square miles of ocean— navigating by the reflected or refract- ed patterns of waves. The sea was their common highway; the heavens, the common source of the winds and the long waves; the land, the common sus- tenance of the people, who too kindly shared it with the Spanish, the Ger- mans, the Japanese, and, finally, the Americans. The foreigners’ relics exist beneath the waves as graveyards for warships, planes, and unlucky soldiers, and on land as moldering bunkers or scars along the throats of unlucky Mar- shallese. Spain called itself the islands’ discoverer in the sixteenth century but largely ignored them, casting its most covetous glances northward, to Guam, the Marianas, and the Philippines. Britain’s Captain Marshall named them for himself and, he thought, the empire in 1788, before he realized they’d already been claimed, but some- how the name stuck. Mis- sionaries came and brought muumuus. Germany came and brought beer and the money trade, annexing the islands in 1885. Japan seized them unopposed at the start of the First World War and brought rice and roads, then arms, ultimately making them the center of its Pacif- ic fleet in World War II. It’s arguable who brought war exactly, but when the firing stopped the United States was in charge, and it brought soda pop and nuclear tests, sixty-seven of them between 1946 and 1958, hence can- cer, hence those scars. Then it brought radars and missile tests, anthropologists and the cash economy. Now on the Marshallese atoll of Kwajalein, planes from Amer- ica disgorge another generation of en- gineers and contractors and govern- ment personnel. They are the testers for National Missile Defense, some- times called Star Wars, sometimes Son of Star Wars. Beside the runway on
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course AMST 150 taught by Professor Perkinson during the Fall '10 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Page1 / 11

Wypijewski missile testing pacific article-Harpers - R E P...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online