A small, tranquil backwater nation, a trading superpower, and a strategic location with hidden military potential. The opening premise of Star Wars, and Samoa’s real-life situation unfolding.
Martin Harris 26/5/21
Star Wars fans cast your minds back to the opening scenes of George Lucas’s prequel Star Wars Episode One, appropriately subtitled “the Phantom Menace”.
The small, peaceful world of Naboo is having a tiff with its trading partner, the Galactic Trade Federation, thanks to the installation of a new leader, Queen Amidala, who has concerns about the ambitions of the Federation, who are clandestinely building a huge army in order to overthrow The Galactic Republic. The alleged trade ships are trojan horses for this army, and the Federation’s “ports” dotted about the galaxy are in fact highly important strategic locations.
What the new queen of Naboo hasn’t figured out though, is that there is a “hidden hand” at work manipulating the whole situation to it’s own advantage. There is considerable legal concern over the stand-of and subsequent invasion from the Trade Federation, but the shadowy hidden hand tells the traders “I will make it legal”.
The most telling part of this fictional scenario, is that the reptilian aliens of the Trade Federation speak with a conspicuously Asiatic accent and mannerisms. Clearly, Lucas was making reference to an real-life earthly superpower with global trading dominance ambitions.
The whole fictional situation, in fact, bears curious parallels to the current situation in Samoa. As told by the TV news reports here in NZ, the leader of Samoa for the past 20 years has just been voted out by a 1 seat majority to Samoa’s first female leader, Fiame Naomi Mataafa, heading the Fast Party. The drama began as the outgoing prime minister decided he wasn’t out-going and locked the incoming leader out of parliement.
As a result, the “new Queen” was sworn in, in a tent. This resulted in a legal challenge: A leader can only be sworn in at Parliement, not outside in tent. However, it seems someone is going to “make it legal”.
Everyone I have spoken to as this drama unfolds has been speculating that the outgoing leader simply didn’t want to relinquish a long-held position of power, or even perhaps resented a female taking his job?
So here’s the important plot-details the MSM here in NZ has glossed over. And of course, it involves China, trade, and strategic military significance.
Outgoing leader Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has long been a close ally of China, which for a number of legitimate reasons has enjoyed close relationship with Samoa. For a long time the situation has been fine and dandy, but there has been considerable concern over an agreement with China to construct a rather extravagant port. Not only is the expense far more than a small nation like Samoa can bear, resulting in an increased indebtedness to China, but the “trading port” has worrying implications for China’s global dominance ambitions and the possibility of the port acting as (you guessed it) a trojan horse for a military base.
The “new Queen” has promised to address these concerns and make the cancellation of the planned port her first priority. This, then, is what’s really behind the Samoan political stand-off.
The woman expected to become Samoa’s next prime minister has pledged to cancel a $100m port development backed by China.
Fiame Naomi Mataafa said the plan was excessive for the country’s needs, and would increase its debts to China. She added that she hoped to maintain good relations with China, but that Samoa had more pressing needs than a wharf in Vaiusu Bay.
The project had been backed by long-time prime minister Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who claimed that it would benefit local families.But it divided opinion in the tiny country and became an issue in the elections in April in which the incumbent lost his majority in parliament.
The wharf would have been able to accommodate 12 vessels at once, raising fears among China watchers in the US and Australia that the port may have had a military significance.
The Chinese embassy in the Samoan capital of Apia rejected any suggestions of a military agenda, telling the Samoa Observer in February that the claims were “groundless”. It said China was only carrying out a feasibility study at the request of the Samoan government.Samoa set to cancel $100m Chinese-funded port project – News – GCR (globalconstructionreview.com)
If the unfolding narrative bears any resemblance to George Lucas’s epic, it looks like there’s more drama to come. What will the hidden hand’s next manipulation be?
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
From Wikileaks via Scoop:
China’s port plans: