Russia not alone in grabbing territory for military reasons


President Obama would have more authority to challenge President Putin over the Ukraine if the US was not involved in similar landgrabs for military and strategic purposes.

Here are some action points whereby Mr Obama could begin to rectify this problem. He could:

1. Announce that the US is withdrawing from its base at Guantanamo Bay and handing the back the land to Cuba. The land was seized by force in 1903 and the Cuban government has been trying to get it back since 1959.

2. Announce that it US forces will be withdrawn from Diego Garcia in the Chagos archipelago and that the local Chagossian people

forced off the island 40 years ago

, now numbering around 2000, will be allowed to return and assume sovereignty.

3. Announce that the United States has listened to the

citizens of Nago City, Okinawa

, and its newly elected Mayor, Susunu Imamine, and that it will not be building a new military facility in Nago City, Okinawa. Recognising that Okinawan people have never been keen on US troops camping on much of its territory, Mr Obama could also announce plans to withdraw all 26,000 US military personnel from Okinawa.

4. Announce that US is not going ahead with the dramatic expansion of the US military base in Guam, which already takes up a third of the island and is not welcomed by

many of the local people

. Mr Obama could announce his support for a demilitarized Micronesia, and say he is planning to withdraw US forces.

5. Announce that the United States expects Israel to abide by UN resolutions calling for it to withdraw from the occupied territories (the West Bank, Gaza and Syria’s Golan Heights] and cease American military aid until this happens.

This, Mr Obama, is just an initial action list, but its something to be going on with.