Were We Led Down the Wrong Road or Are We On the Right Path?

In 1975 our leaders were deciding to either have independence, commonwealth status or territory status and FSM chose independence with the US tagging on a compact to "watch" us. RMI and Palau did the same while CNMI chose commonwealth. Guam, which was never part of the TT, remained a territory conquered through war (Spanish-American War that ended in 1898). Our political statuses today is highlighted with ever time a cycle of typhoon comes through our neck of the woods. Three years ago, the devastating Typhoon Saudeleur that uprooted Chuuk saw little recovery from US in the form of USAid versus th FEMA that used to be available here and is now cocked and ready to soften Saipan's devastation of last week. We used to have FEMA and MLSC successfully sued the US Government for failure to implement FEMA assistance in the 1990s. Our sovereignty saw FEMA leave. Our same political status saw the ousting of many programs like certain perks in the Post Office, certain types of aids to families for colleges and the coveted US passport that 7,200 asylum seekers are marching toward the US border for as we speak. Our leaders told us that we can have a future and chose for us what we have today yet our people leave on a continuous exodus that rival biblical proportions except the United is the modern Moses and charges $1,200 for one-way tickets. The young men and women of Pohnpei are gone. There is a realization that no one wants to admit - OUR LEADERS FAILED. We don't want to admit because of pride or stupidity or both. Both is is real now that 2023 will see the end of the current fiscal assistance through that "watch" process and if China/N. Korea and US figure out their bickering issues, we will be left out in the real dark.

In what way did it miss the minds of our leader to not have negotiated a termed territory status/commonwealth status is different than Guam's? One that would have allowed us to fix our resources and then vote 50 to 75 years from 1975 for full independence? We are infants that wanted to be alone in the world of 1940s to 1970s that saw lots of paradigm charges. We should have been more responsible. Instead, we have a beguiled system full of false doors and smoking mirrors that is seeing destruction from within.

I wish we had chosen a commonwealth status or a territory status different than Guam's that would have allowed us to grow out of the current system that is rightfully very bile that Chuuk is trying to leave out of spite for our current national government's unchecked expansion. At least that system would have made us gotten used to school system that works at level equal to those coveted in the US. A criminal system that really put away corrupt people but not prop them up. A health system that will eventually produce our own doctors. A series of systems that will be the bases for true independence. Instead, we have what we have today. Please open your eyes and understand where Chuuk is coming from and we must all hope that the US can help us undo the mess it created with our uninformed populace in 1970s. I just wish, we can have another chance.

These are my personal thoughts that are more relevant to me now. And I am wishing for fast recovery for Saipan while lamenting the 1,000s of "could have been families" from Chuuk's that never got sufficient help from the big one three years ago.


  • micro, I think you're making good points. However, your timing probably can be subject to further discussion. It sounds like you're throwing in the towel too early. Why don't we allow the current COFA's 3rd amendment negotiators to see what they can get from the US first; and then, we can talk about the other options such as Commonwealth, Territory, etc., after we see the results.

    It might be possible for the FSM negotiators to convince the US, for example, to provide annual appropriations at a certain level into the foreseeable future--in exchange for the return of the Trust Fund back to the US Treasury. If this were possible, then, we won't be so nervous for the future whenever the stock or bond markets fluctuate up and down as they are now.

    It's always greener on the other side. A. Samoa's delegation visited the COFA nations about 2 years ago because they were not satisfied with their status--although they receive all the federal benefits plus freely moving in and out of the US. The one thing that they don't like about their current status is that they don't get to vote for the US President nor can they cast votes on the main floor of the US Congress.

    If I understand its history correctly, it took over 15 years to negotiate the Compact agreements with the US--mostly, just to convince the US that we did not want to be a territory of the US but just be affiliated with it. In the case of Palau, some people lost their lives due to violence over the disagreements about its relationship with the US.

    Other sacrifices were made by different leaders as they struggled to find a sort of middle ground which ended up to be the Freely Associated States status.

    I think Palau and the Marshall Islands may not be happy with their progress under the COFA but they are still trying to make to work for them. I think the FSM should do the same. I believe the FSM national government leadership can take concrete steps to decentralize the roles of the national government; and provide more funding to the states; as were discussed prior to the FSM constitution plebiscite.

    The future of the FSM as we know it--as you describe some of its unsatisfactory elements--is really in the hands of the current leadership of the national government. They can make the FSM to work as a nation; and they can also destroy it by insisting on centralizing power and money to the national government and its appetite to spend the money that should go to the states. Just some thoughts.
  • 7,200 asylum seekers? i read read today on a New York Time opinion that about 1,000 plus are seeking asylum out of 7,200 and majority of the caravan is men. That aside i think full independent wouldn't have work. We have the COFA and still barely make it work.

    marc, i read about that thing you talking about Samoa. Didn't they want to like have a COFA relationship?
  • At this point and time, FSM is at a crossroad where we are wondering if we made the right decisions back in the 1970's? Within that decision that was made to get us on the COFA, did our leaders make good calls on the financial assistance that was sent down to FSM?
  • It's widely discussed that one of the benefits of the COFA and FAS status is the fact that the 3 FAS nations have access to US and its funding and resources on one hand; and at the same time, have access to the international funding sources as well as programs. Guam, A. Samoa and CNMI, the US possessions, can only envy the FAS countries when our government representatives participate in meetings for international organizations--with full representative authorities and votes accordingly.

    Personally, I like the flexibility that the current arrangements do provide. But I do agree that the current leadership at the national level do not provide a great support services to the states. It spends a lot of funds in FSM national government programs and activities--funds that could be provided to the states since the states are the ones responsible for health of citizens, education of citizens, etc.

    The current arrangements, where the FSM as a political entity under FAS arrangement with the US, makes it possible for the millions of dollars of income from that "captive insurance" program. The foreign governments and their organizations are comfortable in dealing with the FSM because FSM is a stable political unit; and in close relationship with the US. If there is no FSM, or, if the FSM is fractured, these kinds of funding from the captive insurance program, in my opinion, will come to a halt.

    Secondly, the revenue coming up thru NORMA to the FSM is made possible because of the stable FSM as political unit.

    So these are some of the revenue sources that were not anticipated when the FSM COFA was first approved way back when. It is only thru the stability of the FSM plus the creativity of the national government staff--the FSM can utilize it's standing in the world community to realize some of these benefits.

    I am not saying that those leaders who chose this path were 100% correct. But I think we can say that the current situation, which is the result of those decisions way back then--are sufficiently flexible and could bring a lot of benefits to the FSM citizens--if we continue to be creative in developing economic opportunities for the nation. Just some thoughts as we look for ways to look forward for other revenue streams that are there for the FSM's taking.
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