SOURCE: Sir James Mancham

Sir James Mancham

October 09, 2009 14:52 ET

What Is the World's Riskiest Hotspot?

It's Not Iraq or Afghanistan, But Rather a Celebrity Vacation Haven

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - October 9, 2009) - While most Americans are focused on conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, primarily because we have troops in active combat there, potentially significant threats to the U.S. are simmering elsewhere, from China to Russia, from India to Pakistan -- and one of the world's most secluded celebrity tourist destinations may prove to be the Cuba of the new millennium.

That's the opinion of Sir James Mancham, the first president of an island country called the Republic of Seychelles, a favourite vacation destination for stars like Keanu Reeves, Sean Connery, Jodie Foster and Prince William. Situated near the center of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, 930 miles east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. More importantly, it sits in a position that makes it advantageous strategically in a military conflict for any aggressor near the Indian Ocean -- China, India, Pakistan, Russia, and North Korea -- who needs a refueling station for aircraft or a port for ships.

"All the countries in the region have active embassies in Seychelles, while the U.S. is conspicuously absent," Mancham said.

"I remember a time when Cuba was considered an inconsequential little sandbar off the Florida coast, filled with casinos and showgirls," Mancham said. "That is, until Marxists took over and the Russians deposited some missiles there, a scant 90 miles from the United States. Suddenly, it became a very important sandbar."

Seychelles was given independence from Great Britain in 1976, and Mancham was elected its first president. A year later, Marxist rebels staged a coup d'état, ousting Mancham from office. He escaped the country and lived in exile for 20-plus years until the Cold War ended. He returned to Seychelles as an elder statesman with a view to reunify his divided country.

Mancham, whose autobiography, "Seychelles: Global Citizen" (www.paragonhouse.com) traces the roots of the country and how it has grown into its strategic and diplomatic significance, believes that global geo-politics is not a regional phenomenon. Instead, it is a complex, but singular, tapestry. The slightest pulled thread in the Far East can have wide ranging implications in the west.

About Sir James Mancham

Sir James Richard Marie Mancham was the founding President of the Republic of Seychelles, which has become a strategic territory.

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