US plans ABM base for Guam; should statehood follow?December 10, 2013
via the South China Morning Post:
The US is planning to station anti-ballistic-missile systems on the Pacific island of Guam, a move ostensibly to defend against unpredictable North Korea, but which analysts say may be intended to counter China.
Within Washington’s defence plans for next year are provisions for siting terminal high-altitude area defence (Thaad) systems on the island territory, combined with the broader realignment of US forces in the Asia-Pacific region.
Guam is going to be a critical linchpin in US strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, and as such it will eventually become a target for China. As the Chinese are already doing with various islands inside the “first island chain,” they will eventually make similar claims within the “second island chain” and beyond. I think the US should solidify its claim in the Western Pacific by offering full statehood to Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands territories. At once, it would undercut likely future claims of colonialism from China and also raise the stakes of any interference in Guamanian waters or air space.