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If you were just dropped in this place withno prior knowledge，
where would you guess you were,
maybe Florida or California or Hawaii
somewhere tropical but this is definitely the US.
It just looks like the US.
From the style of signs to the way the roads look to
the stores that line the streets,
you can tell it’s the US but it’s not Florida,
it’s not California, it’s not Hawaii,
it’s not even on this side of the world.
It’s America’s most isolated territory.
The United States has five inhabited territories.
分别是美属维尔京群岛 波多黎各 美属萨摩亚
The US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa,
The Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam itself.
Guam is the furthest of these five from the continental US.
nearly 8,000 miles away from Washington DC,
making it the most isolated.
北京 德里 开普敦 布宜诺斯艾利斯
Beijing, Delhi, Cape Town and Buenos Aires
are all closer to DC than Guam is and yet
the island is a fully fledged territory of the US.
It is the US.
Guam has been inhabited
for thousands of years by the native Chamorro people
until the 1500s when it was first claimed
as a territory by Spain.
Centuries later, after the US’s victory in the Spanish American war,
the territory was ceded to the United States
along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
Aside from a brief and brutal Japanese occupation during World War Two,
the island has remained part of the US ever since.
Many Americans had never even heard of Guam until summer 2017.
That was when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
threatened to launch a ballistic missile at Guam.
The threats may have since subsided,
but the effects of that summer have not.
The island stretches less than 30 miles from top to bottom
which makes it smaller than every other US state and territory
and yet it packs more than 160,000 people into that small size.
In fact, it’s more densely populated than all but five US states or territories.
Meanwhile, it is by far the most developed place in Micronesia.
To put it in perspective,
Guam’s neighboring islands, the Northern Mariana Islands,
which are also part of the US,
have a GDP per capita of $ 16,800
while Guam’s is more than $ 35,000.
Kiribati, meanwhile the most populous county in Micronesia,
has a GDP per capita of $ 1,500.
Guam is an outpost of the modern, developed world in one
of the poorest regions of the world.
Its location though,
is its greatest asset.
It’s economy exists because of where it is.
The island is three hours from Tokyo,
four hours from Seoul, and five hours from Hong Kong.
It’s close to Asia but it is still the US unequivocally.
You see American license plates,
they have US post offices,
they use the US dollar, they have American stores,
旅馆 美国国家公园 美国的航线
American hotels, US National Parks, US airlines.
There is no compromise on the Americanness of Guam,
because it is the US.
They fly the US flag and for tourists, this is a draw.
Instead of flying seven hours to Hawaii or ten hours to California,
Japanese tourists can and do just fly three hours to Guam in order to visit the US.
The malls which look identical to any
in Virginia or Kansas or anywhere else in the US
are hugely popular with Asian tourists as they can buy American goods
for a fraction of what they would costin Asia.
About 1.5 million people visit the island of 160 thousand each year,
but what’s not good for tourism is missile threats.
” Last summer when they were playing who is missile’s bigger
we were the ones who suffered, you know,
Umm our tourism took a huge nosedive that month of August.
We never saw so many news agencies coming to Guam
from countries that didn’t even realize we existed,
because all of a sudden Kim Jung Un was threatening the American territory in the Pacific. “
This is Benjamin Cruz, speaker of the Guam Legislature.
As he said, the island’s economy
suffered immensely from the North Korean missilethreat.
Many visitors of Guam come as parts of school groups or corporate retreats
and these groups in particular almost universally cancelled their trips.
“We lost, I mean, almost our entire I mean all of Japan stopped coming.
I mean,there everybody was afraid to come the only ones
that were coming were the news media. ”
Fortunately, the effects were partially mitigated
by an increase in visitors from South Korea
who were less worried about missile threats
since its a reality they live every day back home,
but for an island so centered around tourism,
being dragged into politics is never good.
Despite being part of the US though,
Guam functions politically differently from every other part of the US.
本杰明•克鲁兹 还有另外14位参议员 是关岛法律的制定者
Benjamin Cruz, along with the 14 other senators are the lawmakers of Guam.
They can legislate just like any state legislator,
but the main political difference for Guam is at the federal level.
All the US federal laws,
the ones made in Washington for the whole country,
all those laws apply in Guam.
What Guam doesn’t get though, is a vote.
Their congressional representatives
don’t get a vote, so by extension,
the people of Guam can’t vote on the laws that apply to them.
In addition, unlike Washington DC, which also does’t receive a vote in Congress.
Guam, along with the other US territories,
is not able to vote for their president,the US president.
This presents an issue not only because of the lapse in democracy,
but also because many US laws that may make sense for the continental United States
just don’t for a territory on the other side of the world.
“We’d like to be able to invite people to the island
and industries that and not have to worry about whether or not
SEC would approve it or the FCC would approve it.
We’d like to be able to have control over our skies,
so we can invite airlines to fly in without having to clear with FAA
on whether or not this airline or that airline can or cannot fly.”
The process for a foreign airline of gaining approval to
fly to the US is often long and laborious and there are
a number of special security and immigration rules for flights to the US.
This isn’t a problem for large intercontinental airlines
比如墨西哥航空公司 加拿大航空公司来说 这不是麻烦事
or Mexican or Canadian ones for whom flights
to the US represent a large part of their market,
but for small regional Asian carriers,
they might pass on flights to Guam just
to avoid having to gain FAA approval.
Another issue for Guam is the Jones Act.
This law prevents foreign built, owned, or operated
ships from carrying cargo or passengers betweenUS ports.
This may make sense within the continental United States.
Just as you wouldn’t want a foreign airline flying domestic cargo routes
you wouldn’t want a foreign shipping company
taking over cargo routes like Houston to Charleston
or Seattle to Oakland, but Guam is a different story.
Cargo ships generally make many stops along their routes,
so it would be perfectly normal for a Taiwanese ship,
从奥克兰行驶到夏威夷 驶经关岛 大阪再到台北 是完全合理的 但却不合法
for example, to go from Oakland to Hawaii to Guam to Osaka to Taipei,but it’s can’t.
because then it’d be transporting goods between US ports.
instead,only US ships can bring goods from the US
where most of Guam’s goods come from to Guam.
Other US territories like American Samoa
and the Northern Mariana Islands are exempt from this rule,
but Guam is still subject to it which makes shipping to the island more expensive.
Despite the issues the US federal government may cause
the people of Guam are in no hurry to distance themselves from it.
” I think if you were to ask a majority of the people of the on other island
they would like to have a closer union with in the United States
and some may even want statehood, I mean,
我是说 事实上 他们中的大多数人都希望能被法律承认”
I mean,In fact, a majority of them would like to see statehood. “
In many ways,
Guam is one of the most patriotic areas of the US.
The US military free Guam
from a brutal and deadly Japanese occupationduring World War Two,
which many of the older residents still remember.
并且 年轻些的居民 往往也都在为美国工作
The younger residents meanwhile, quite often in work for the US.”
Just about every family on this island,
I’m sure almost every family on this island
had at least one member of their family serve in the military. “
One out of eight residents of Guam
serve or have served in the US armed forces.
It has a higher enlistment rate than any US state,
But this is help by the fact that a quarter of the island is US military bases.
The island is one of the US military’s most strategic assets.
Of course the US has plenty of basesin Japan and South Korea,
but Guam is US soil less than four hours away from North Korea,
Korea the East China Sea and the South China Sea
all possible flash points for US conflict.
The US military is the single largest employer on Guam
and its economy depends on the military.
While tourism may have suffered recently,
the military business is good.
The number of military personnel stationed on Guam
is slated to more than double in the coming decade
which will no doubt stimulate the economy.
This doesn’t come without concern,
Guam only has so much land, but all factors considered,
Guam is on the rise.
Guam is truly a unique place.
Plenty of countries have territories far away from their mainland
but few are as developed and as similar to the rest of the country as Guam.
If Guam was just off the coast
of the US mainland it would be totally unremarkable.
just another piece of the US that looks and acts like the rest of the US, but it’s not.
It’s on the other side of the world.
Guam is a relic of colonialism but today it’s a thriving developed place.
It may not get treated like the US even by its own government,
but in all other ways, Guam is the United States.
One aspect of Guam’s story that this video didn’t cover
is how they’re trying to grow their local small businessess
in order to make the economy more self-sustaining.
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Squarespace is a great supporter
of the show and makes ambitious videos like this,
which was filmed on location in Guam possible.
So please do at least check them out at squarespace.com/Wendover.
Also, for those of you still here,
I want to mention that there’s a behind the scenes video
on my personal channel of Brian from Real Engineering,
和来自《Real Life Lore》的约瑟夫
Joseph from Real Life Lore and myself filming
this video on location in Guam.
Thanks for watching and we’ll see you again in three
weeks for another Wendover Productions video.