Dan Rattiner's Stories

Tit for Tat: The Chinese Created a New Island, What Should We Do?

I have always wondered why the United States, observing that the Chinese had built an artificial island in the South China Sea, did not respond by building an American artificial island nearby. It wouldn’t be hard. The Chinese decided to build upon an already existing coral atoll, the Spratly Atoll. The Spratly Islands were right on the water line. As atolls, they were of no use to anybody, even though claims to them were filed by the Japanese, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Koreans and the Filipinos. But now, with tons of dirt brought in, they are true islands with a Chinese flag on them, an airstrip, a dock and an anti-aircraft gun. Thus the Chinese have a broad military authority in the sea around the Spratly’s.

So what is holding us back? If they can do it, we can do it. If we can build a wall on the Mexican border, surely we could build a little American island in the Pacific.

And then, yesterday, I read an article in Newsday about Henderson Island, an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that is already a foot or two above the water line at high tide. Because of what is happening there, it could be a military island for us already half built. So building it the rest of the way would be cheap.

According to the article, nature itself is already making it get taller. You know there’s the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic that pushes things along. In the Pacific, it’s called the South Pacific Gyre. Five month ago, some scientists came to Henderson to study the palm trees and dunes and were shocked at what they saw.

Even though nobody lives on the island, the South Pacific Gyre has, for 70 years now, been depositing waves and waves of plastic garbage onto the beaches and dunes of Henderson Island, already nearly 20,000 tons of it and more every day. Plastic, which remains plastic forever, was developed for general use around 1946. That’s 70 years.

One scientist, Jennifer Lavers from New Zealand’s Tasmanian University, stayed on the island with a group of assistants for four months to count and document the garbage.

“It’s both beautiful and terrifying,” she told the Associated Press.

She found toothbrushes, cigarette lighters, baby pacifiers, plastic water bottles, red helium balloons with HAPPY BIRTHDAY on them, a red plastic motel from a Monopoly game and green plastic toy soldiers that looked identical to the ones played with by her brother in the 1980s when he was a little boy.

Lavers and her crew estimate that about 13,000 individual pieces of plastic wash up on Henderson Island every day. She said she overstayed her time on the Island, which resulted in her missing her own wedding in Tahiti, arriving there three days late because the boat picking her up was late.

“I got married anyway,” she said.

So there you have it. Nature, shoving plastic onto the beaches of Henderson Island in such quantity as a vote for democracy, the American way of life and an invitation to build a new military base to counter the Chinese military base in the Pacific.

As I said, the job is already half done. What we don’t need is dump trucks bringing tons and tons of dirt, as was placed upon the Spratly’s. What we need to bring ashore there is a landing craft hauling trash crushers. They could bash the plastic into an impervious and impenetrable plastic foundation upon which a military base could be built. A runway, a dock, a military base and several anti-aircraft guns—two to counter the Chinese one—could also be built. Henderson would be an American island and the water around it our territorial waters. And it will grow and grow. As Ms. Lavers has learned, this place is receiving garbage in greater concentrations per cubic yard than any other place in the world. The island can grow bigger every week. To hell with you, China!

And change the name. Call it President Trump Island. And build upon this pile of trash the grandest and tallest building in the Pacific—which could bear the name TRUMP right there atop it. Visible from New Zealand.

Truth, apple pie, the American Way and Trump.

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