Hawaii lacks NATO protection: “Absolutely sick”

Hawaii lacks NATO protection Absolutely sick

Updated 01.05 | Published 00.41



If Sweden is attacked, the other NATO countries are obliged to help.

However, this does not apply to one of the US states.

– It’s a completely sick thing, says David Santoro at the Pacific Forum think tank.

The NATO Treaty was written in 1949 and signed by the twelve original members infoclosed the twelve original members the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Iceland and Luxembourg.. In Article 5 they formulate the mutual defense guarantees which make an attack on a member state must be considered an attack on the entire alliance.

When the treaty was passed, the United States had 49 states. Hawaii was added as the 50th only in 1959 and is not subject to the obligations of Article 5, reports CNN.

David Santoro, who leads the think tank Pacific Forum in Honolulu, tells the TV channel that many of the island group’s residents are not aware that they technically lack NATO protection:

– People tend to think that Hawaii is part of the United States and therefore covered by NATO.

Clue in the name

David Santoro states that the logic becomes clearer if you take into account that NATO is an abbreviation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Hawaii has no geographical contact with the North Atlantic.

– The argument for not including Hawaii is simply that it is not part of North America, he says.


full screen Joe Biden and Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO summit in Vilnius 2023. Photo: Magnus Sandberg

Article 6 of the NATO treaty states that the defense guarantees only cover North America, Europe, Turkey and North Atlantic islands north of the Tropic of Cancer.

That means Hawaii is not alone. The US territory of Guam, a militarily important island in the western Pacific, is also without protection under Article 5. The same applies to the British Falkland Islands, east of Argentina, and the French Gyuana in northern South America.

– When the treaty was drawn up, the main purpose was to protect Europe from armed attack. The effort on Washington’s part was not to protect the European colonies, says Ulla Gudmundson, former head of analysis at the Foreign Ministry and deputy head of Sweden’s NATO delegation, to Svenska Dagbladet.

“Political will”

A spokesperson for the US Foreign Ministry confirms to CNN that Hawaii’s exclusion still applies, but at the same time says that Article 4 of the treaty should cover any possible scenario where the island group is attacked. There stands that the member states must consult “whenever a party considers that the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any party is threatened”.

Ulla Gudmundsson agrees with the assessment that the US would receive voluntary help if Hawaii was attacked.

– It is a matter of political will. I find it extremely difficult to imagine that it would not be expected of the other NATO members to stand up, she says to SvD.

In order for Hawaii and other unprotected areas to be included in the defense guarantees, a consensus decision is required. It is considered unlikely because it would open up similar demands from other member states with territories not covered by Article 5, the US Foreign Ministry told CNN.

“Where Pearl Harbor Happened”

But the question is raised by, among others, John Hemmings, one of the experts at the Pacific Forum. He refers to Hawaii’s strategic and historical importance and that the island group is central to deterring both North Korea and China.

– This is where Pearl Harbor happened. This is where we were attacked and drawn into World War II. And by the way, it helped us liberate France, he says to CNN.


full screen The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Photo: Aftonbladet Bild / 9210 / Ibl

Two years ago, an American simulation was made of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Then the US military headquarters in Honolulu was also attacked, according to CNN.

According to John Hemmings, it would be a strong signal to China to let Hawaii into the heat.

– Why wouldn’t we activate that deterrent factor? Why would we keep it out of play if it would actually stop China from invading Taiwan? he says.

Hemmings and his colleagues at the Pacific Forum argue that Guam, just under 500 miles to the west in the Pacific Ocean, should also be included. On the island, which has long been the subject of threats from North Korea, there is an American air base from which B-52 and other heavy bombers can take off.

“Strategically, Guam certainly means much more than Hawaii,” David Santoro told CNN.