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The View From Palau

A friend with, uh, unusually deep knowledge of Palau sends in an analysis of the news that the tiny island nation will be taking some of the 17 Uighurs currently imprisoned at Gitmo:

It's funny how perfect the whole thing is. It's really not a very big amount of money for the US, they get this plus defense rights plus a UN vote whenever they need it (for a while every year there would be some Cuba UN vote with only Palau, the Marshall Islands and Israel joining the US). Palau signed a 15-year deal with the US in 1994 that was mostly frontloaded, so they've been running out of money and were pretty worried about how they were going to squeeze more out of the US. And even when they had US money coming in, they'd do anything for more money. The two tried and true measures: guilt Japan into giving them something ("remember how you occupied us in WWII? Can you build us a bridge?"), and promise to recognize Taiwan in exchange for periodic payments.
Meanwhile, Palau has no reason to avoid making China mad -- they already recognize Taiwan, so China doesn't like them anyway -- which apparently was one of the big problems with some of the other possibilities. But it has a decent sized Chinese population (much of which is tied to the prostitution industry), and, best of all, the conversations between the Mormon missionaries who go over and the Uighurs will be epic (and would be an awesome reality show).
Anyway, definitely the biggest thing to happen to Palau since Colbert interviewed its UN rep.

And remember to bookmark The Plank for all breaking Palau news.

--Jason Zengerle