Western involvement in the Pacific Islands region : security concerns and development aid ; a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
Security concerns and development aid are closely-linked issues in the Pacific island region. In the broadest sense, security needs – either economic, political or strategic-explain the involvement of external powers in the Pacific island countries and their aid policies in the region. As security is multi-faceted, there is a difference in the security priorities of Western donors and Pacific island recipients. Different perceptions and concerns led to global-oriented rather than regional-oriented policies for most of the donors, especially at the height of the Cold War. Pacific island countries' concerns have been subordinate to those of the Western donors because these island nations are heavily aid-dependent. Aid-giving is therefore an effective mechanism to help guarantee regional stability and thereby protect the security interests of donors; on a per capita basis, the aid given to the region is very high by Third World standards. The trend of high levels of aid flows in the region has not been significantly affected by the end of the Cold War. Economic vulnerability and intra-regional political problems have been brought to the forefront as potential threats to regional stability, however, in place of wider East-West tensions. Continuing economic dependency means that the Western powers still hold a strong influence in the region.