LONDON - The tourist island and vital military outpost is surprisingly vulnerable, according to the London-based Economist.

Like many of America’s bases in the Pacific, Guam mixes hedonism with war jitters. Japanese and South Korean visitors revel on the sand of Tumon Bay, a coral-reef lagoon.

Above, f-15 fighters and b-1 bombers bank to land at Andersen Air Force Base nearby. Below, nuclear attack submarines slip in and out of Apra Harbour. The marines are building a base up the road. Around lie reminders of the Pacific war between America and Japan. The last Japanese soldier surrendered in 1972.

“Where America’s day begins”, as Guam likes to sell itself (incorrectly), is also where a future American war with China may begin.

This westernmost speck of America, just 30 miles (48km) long and with a population of about 170,000, helps it project power across the vast Pacific. As tension over Taiwan worsens, war games often predict early and sustained Chinese missile strikes on Guam, and perhaps the use of nuclear weapons against it.