An Examination of the Potential for Conflict in the South Pacific Region.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The South Pacific Region has been strategically benign. However, recent developments, including fishing agreements between island states and the Soviet Union, and the thrust for independence in New Caledonia, raise the possibility that this Region may see conflict in the future. Such conflict may be between island states, within island states, or involve extra-territorial powers. This study assumes that if the likely causes of conflict can be identified, then it may be possible to adopt appropriate strategies and policies to limit such conflict. The study examines contemporary issues in the Region and concludes that limited conventional conflict is possible, ranging from harassment of governments by extra-territorial interests, through civil war to superpower confrontation. The most likely of these is civil war in New Caledonia. To avoid such conflict, it is recommended that the US restrain its military build-up in the Region, allowing Australia and New Zealand to carry principal responsibility for supporting regional defence activity, and participate with France and the South Pacific Forum in resolving differences between the two parties on Frances involvement in the Region. But for Australia, a major reassessment of its approach to French activity is recommended, recognizing the legitimacy of French interest and seeking a compromise solution which will enhance Western hegemony. It remains a fundamental Western interest to counter Soviet penetration into the Region through effective diplomatic, economic, and defence support measures which recognize the sovereignty and aspirations of the South Pacific people. Author
- Government and Political Science