The Banality of American Empire: The Curious Case of Guam, USA
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/T8111046995
The title of a 2004 New York Times article sums up well the curious political existence of the island of Guam: “Looking for friendly base overseas, Pentagon finds it already has one.” Guam is known as the “tip of America’s spear” and has for more than a century played a crucial role in securing US strategic interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Guam is also one of seventeen remaining colonies in the world, as recognized by the United Nations, in need of decolonization. In media representations and critical discourse around US imperialism, Guam also occupies a curious space, where it is a US military colony that somehow does not represent colonialism or imperialism. This essay will use the concept of banality to interrogate how this simultaneous fullness of Guam as a site for American military power, and its emptiness as a site for American critique, enable the US to project force largely unchallenged over a significant part of the globe.