Of Emotion and Self Interest: Two Incidents

1,000 sq meters of reef destroyed

One of the things I’ve learned is that Filipinos are emotional people and they have long memories. In terms of a prior blog, they store up a lot of “dissonance” from prior disagreeable moments and, given new cause, let anger rip.

This can be seen in the emotional reaction to the U.S. minesweeper that damaged a valuable coral reef, and it can be seen in growing resentment and racial slurs tossed the way of China for her encroachments into Philippine territory. Now these are generally different people engaged in the emotional outbursts, so there is no unified national clamor in either case.
The national government’s position is interestingly more hostile toward the American ship’s accidental incursion than it is toward China’s purposeful one. The US has been aggressively condemned by agencies of the Philippine government, and fined prior to any investigation as to how the problem occurred.  Legislators have loudly condemned American actions as if it were an intentional incursion. Rumor becomes fact outside of any informational context (what warnings were given and the American response to them; like, provide the tapes or transcripts). Citizen anger hauls out the Philippine American War, World War II, colonialism and the arrogance of America and Americans in general.  “Arrogance” flies around in racially derogatory terms, the same easy and unfair way “indolent” gets attached to Filipinos. The rallying cry is: “apology is not enough”.  Truly, some people appear to want blood.

Meanwhile China continues to occupy Scarborough Shoal (Pantag) and her fishermen reap harvests from Philippine waters.

The DFA’s approach to China is one that I would call mature but firm kid gloves. As reported in Top Bloger Raissa Robles’ latest article, the DFA has explained why it filed for arbitration with the United Nations, and states that this is a constructive act to resolve a disagreement among friends. China has not been fined for poaching or damages done to coral by Chinese fishermen, nor for occupying Philippine islands without permission. China is a signatory to the UN agreement, but conditional upon her rejection of the provision on arbitration, so this arbitration filing is probably futile.
Much of the anger toward the American Navy has to do with the grounded ship’s captain using armed men to repel the approach of park rangers seeking to board the ship.

Even the President of the United States must seek permission to come aboard an American naval ship. The ship is the province of the captain, a nation unto itself. 

Flagged for the Philippines in 1997; now occupied by China
The captain of the grounded minesweeper takes direction only from only one person, his commanding officer. Indeed, the Captain would not be negligent in passing through the park if he were ordered to do so, or in ignoring park ranger radio calls, if ordered to do so. Everyone is assuming the captain is an arrogant, ignorant fool. Maybe he is a disciplined sailor.

If he is an arrogant, ignorant fool, he will be out of the navy might-fine-quick.

That the rangers did not go through well-established military channels suggests that US/Philippine military training coordinators have more work to do.

Filipino hears about reef

Filipinos seem to focus all the angers and resentment of centuries of American acts upon this poor boat of honorable American sailors. It’s wierd, this anguish. The reef belongs to a nation that has got to be last in the world at managing its ecology well. Wild clearcut logging abounds, dynamite fishing, over-fishing, plastics thrown to the wind and seas. And we have the national howl about  1,000 square meters of reef as a gazillion hectares of land and sea are ravaged by Filipinos daily. How do you spell hypocrisy?

The American priorities are: (1) lives, (2) ship, (3) coral.  The Philippine priority appears to be: (1) coral, (2) ship, (3) lives, as long as they are American. The popular demands are to get the ship out now, rough seas or not, risk to life or not.
That the ship was in the Philippines ostensibly in service to the Philippines appears to carry no weight. It is somewhat surprising that the Aquino Administration has let emotions run on rather than apply the same sense of mature diplomatic consideration that is granted China.
The leftist radicals in Congress of course want the VFA torn up immediately. I wonder if they are fronting for the Chinese, either explicitly or implicitly, and we have a lingering Huk remembrance going on. There are a lot of Chinese in the elite register of Philippine business and governance. There are no Americans that I am aware of, although a lot of the legislators have schooled in the U.S.
Culture-wise, the Philippines seems to blend better with Chinese values than American. There is a similar emotionality built on matters of personal esteem, similar reliance on superstitions, similar values as to bending the rules (piracy and giving/accepting of bribes).
Well, I speculate on these matters because I find them interesting. What will happen?
  • Will China accede to UN arbitration, and agree by the findings. No, of course not. They have rejected UN arbitration in principle. They know their claim is shoddy. Expect rationalizations to emerge as to why China need not abide by UN rulemaking.
  • Will China leave Scarborough Shoals? Nope. Not without getting something material in exchange, and the Philippines has nothing to offer. The Philippines COULD, however, enact economic punishments of China (see below).
  • Will China invade Pag-asa Island, stuck in the middle of the Spratleys, several hundred nautical miles from Palawan and outside the Philippine 200 mile economic territory? If you listen to Chinese military men, yes. China considers the Philippines to be a “running dog” of the U.S., along with Viet Nam and Japan.  It is only necessary to “kill” one of the dogs and the others will fall into line. It would be a superior test of what the United States might do.
  • Would economic ties of China and the Philippines divide at that point? Yes, for sure. China would have determined that the resources available in the whole of the West Philippine Sea are more valuable than trade with the Philippines, or Chinese business interests in the Philippines. They ARE far more valuable, I suspect, when you need to feed a ravenous economic beast.
  • Will the U.S. engage in direct fighting with China? Hmmm. I don’t know.
  • Will mine-sweepers be needed? Ahahahaha.
  • Will China follow its claim to the West Philippine Sea by seeking to destabilize the Philippines, politically? Then by seeking a hard alliance between the two nations?  It is a logical step is it not, to feed the beast? If you read Chinses newspapers, they are clearly trying to drive a wedge between the US and Philippines over the reef incident. 
  • Would Americans support an American war to defend the Philippines? I doubt it. What does the US get from its relationship with the Philippines? Expense and grief.
  • Would JoeAm support going to war in or for the Philippines? Not when I think that my daughters in the U.S. are military age. Not when I know so many Filipinos are not prepared to accept the United States as a friend. Been there, done that. Viet Nam. Iraq. Afghanistan.
From time to time, I think that it would have been different if the Philippines had become three American states. Now I’m starting to think there is a better fit with China.

The best fit, of course, would be independent. Respected by both China and the U.S. That is what is odd these days. The “Philippines” roundly beats up on the nation that respects her independence, and tippy toes around the one that does not.

I hope fighting does not occur. China is the key to that. If it did . . .

  • From American self-interest, I don’t see why thousands more Americans should die here. Someone will have to explain to me why.
  • From Philippine self-interest, I hope you play your cards carefully.
Of course my view is just that of one American citizen, not all Americans, and not the State, America.

The Philippines DOES have some economic cards to play. Shutting down Chinese mines, for instance. Or other measured steps tied directly to Chinese occupancy of Scarborough. If they remove the ships,  mining can continue. 
China would respond in kind, and very noisily and insultingly. But I suspect that, end game, China would lose more than the Philippines. It would be proportionately more punishing to the Philippines because its economy is so thin. But it is a tangible action that can be taken in response to China’s occupancy of Philippine territory.

The Philippines is not a helpless victim. Being independent means you make decisions, and live with the results, good or bad. And you don’t look for scapegoats, or backbite on allies, every time there is a wrinkle in the execution.

Just sayin’.

Comments
76 Responses to “Of Emotion and Self Interest: Two Incidents”
  1. Anonymous says:

    My personal and patriotic view is also as one Filipino, not that of the nation either.Philippines has filed it's cause against China in the UN. It was the best option, if not the only sensible one, aside of course from talking in the media.Philippines could not fight a war against China, unlike Japan, realistically. What will happen if China does not accept the UN mandate?1. China would exercise it's veto power in the UN2. China would ignore the UN decision without sanction imposed on her.3. China would continue it's operation in the contested rocks- more likely possibility. 4. China would start a war by firing against Philippine nationals intruding in the tiny rocks.5. China would accept that the rocks belong to the Philippines- possibility is like travelling to the moon by land.Will the US join the war if the battle is limited in the rocks? No. If China invades Manila, answer is yes depending how bad is the incursion.What can the Philippines do against China?In reality! None, except the current approach and of course killing all Chinese in Divisoria, in SM and Robinson malls, banks, and high rise condos meaning counterfeit goods sale will be left to the Muslims, banking business to the Spaniards and condo construction to the Malaysians. Johnny Lin

  2. Anonymous says:

    What is the real reason Filipino "protectionists" are crying loud against the grounding of US Minesweeper in Tabhahata Reefs?Money!!!! Environmentalsts shout their loudest to foster their cause so that more money will come from donors all over the world.If environmentalists are really true to their cause, they should stand guard 24/7/365 in all endangered Philippine reefs against poachers and smugglers. Politicians especially so called nationalists are crying loud for investigation and fines because they wanted green bucks funneled to their personal vested interests to silence them. If they are really vent on saving and protecting the reefs, the should dealt with coral reef smugglers by engaging them by legislating severe penalties and arrest of vioators or tactics of leftists by arm struggles and public protests 24/7/365. Politicians are ignoring reef smugglers because they do not receive any monetary benefits or are under payroll from the smugglers.

  3. I appreciate the perspective, Johnny. I'm amazed that Filipinos are not incensed about Chinses boats remaining at Scarborough. Citizens, that is. Now THAT is an affront to sovereignty. And the Philippines has economic penalties it can assign to China if it wishes to be seen in China as something other than a running dog of the U.S. The real problem with independence is that you have to take hard choices and live with the consequences.I wonder if the Philippines has that kind of unity, to support a government action that backfires, for instance. I rather have my doubts.

  4. Yes, that has a ring of truth to it. That quick slap of a fine and the cry "apology is not enough" certainly smacks of money being the intent, not reef preservation.

  5. Jetlag807 says:

    "The national government's position is interestingly more hostile toward the American ship's accidental incursion than it is toward China's purposeful one."… I would also add that the people of the Philippines are also more hostile. Interestingly enough, I had a conversation about this subject yesterday with one of my Clients who happens to be British. His view was taken from Philippine Media sources which, up to now, have been one-sided at best. An example of this is the press conference held yesterday in Palawan. In attendance were representatives of the DOTC, the lady who runs the "protectorate" and is in charge of the "park rangers" and the US Navy. I found it very telling that out of all the questions asked during this event, NOT ONE QUESTION was directed to the US Navy. It seems to me, that would have been the perfect time to get the official position and status of the situation insofar as the Navy is concerned. But alas, the Philippine reporters in attendance were either to incompetent or to scared to ask the Americans anything. In any case, my Client and I agreed that, at this point, it is too early to speculate how the ship ended up on the reef so he focused on another issue. His position was this;"How can the US Navy act with such brazen disregard for Philippine authority and not allow them to board the ship?" This seems to be a point which raises anger among many Filipinos. People and Politicians are either unaware or are refusing to accept a very simple fact (which you also pointed out). It is a US Navy Vessel! ANY unidentified or unauthorized person or vessel who attempts to approach will be challenged, warned to keep distance and, if necessary, engaged. That is true for ANY US Navy Vessel (and Navy Vessels of other countries) ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. The "park rangers", whose existence I was not even aware of, were obviously not aware of thees protocols. I think it is safe to say, having not seen the "park rangers" boat or the uniforms (if any) they wore, that the Skipper deemed them "UNIDENTIFIED" and a potential THREAT. "Do not approach… Call the US Embassy for clarification." And another anti-American protest begins!These people and Politicians who are, once again, crying "foul" and demanding "justice" for the wrong which has been committed to them by the US Navy are the same who still believe a Target Drone was actually a UAV sent to spy on the Philippines! They are SHEEP! Scared little SHEEP who don't have the balls to stand up to China, an adversary who encroaches on Philippine Territory at will, but will ALWAYS scream bloody murder for the least little infraction of the US Military, an ALLY… The Philippines should consider themselves lucky that they have such an ALLY that is willing to take their childish rants and continue to supply Military Aid, Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief! That being said, I really do wish they would terminate the VFA! Lets see who the Philippines will run to when next? Any takers?

  6. Jetlag807 says:

    Of course you already knew I could NOT resist contributing to this article… LOL

  7. Ha. And I'm happy we are aligned in our thinking again. I actually had to re-write this article several times to remove my ballistic commentary. Emotion against emotion is not always constructive. Good of you to comment, Jet.

  8. Edgar Lores says:

    1. The other prong in the Philippine approach is alliances. With the US, Japan, Australia and the Asean nations.2. The alliance with the US is the strongest despite the minesweeper incident.2.1 It is easier to admonish an ally than a potential foe.3. China is the waking dragon. If China becomes a colonizer, she will be worst than Spain.4. She has a sword but no cross. Look at Tibet. The indigenous culture and religion are being suppressed. So Catholicism will die to be replaced with state atheism. (Not sure if this is good or bad.)5. More Filipinas will become maids to Chinese households.6. The maids will teach the Chinese young Tagalog and Filipino ways. Of the Seven Deadly Sins, sloth is the only sin that Filipinos excel in over the Chinese. Oh, and in the face of female infanticide, the rearing of Miss Worlds and Miss Universes.6.1 So in two to three generations, China will cease to be a colonizer and become, like the Philippines and those Latin American countries, a nation obsessed with beauty pageants.7. As sci-fi writers have observed, the vectors of history are rarely identified correctly.

  9. Edgar, you have my house bugged? I was discussing points 2.1, 3 and 5 with her this morning. It seems to me the Chinese can be as ruthless as the Japanese in conflict, and don't brook dissent in peace. Many are rigidly racist.6.1 made me laugh, and 7 left me with a measure of optimism rather than gruesome pessimism. Thanks.

  10. Ha. And it wasn't really a discussion. It was me reading riot and her smiling in vague understanding.

  11. J says:

    Joe, I understand where you are coming from. But I have to disagree with the tone of this article.First of all, Philippine reaction to Chinese incursions and the accident in Tubbataha are different bananas. It pisses me off when the Left would say the exact opposite of what you said here: "Why is the Aquino government not responding to the American incident as forcefully as he does to the Chinese incursions?"The thing is, the leftist are so anti-American they're being myopic. I hate to say this, but I think you're being an American gives you a pro-American bias as well. First of all, the fact is that the Philippine government's reaction isn't as unreasonable as the Left and you claim it to be. The Left is wrong when it says that the Philippine government is timid in its response. The government of Palawan and the administrators of the reefs are enforcing the law; the Philippine authorities are closely working with the US Navy to ensure that the corals are not endangered in the process of removing the ship; and the President is asking incisive questions, and has called for an investigation. That's anything but timid.But, with due respect, I think you're wrong, too, in asserting that the Philippines is biting the hand that feeds it. The reef is protected under international law. Domestic law bans any ship from venturing near the Tubbataha, and the fact that the minesweeper was in those waters already warranted a fine. Is this harsh? Well, was the caning of that American student who vandalized Singaporean streets ten years ago? Philippine laws, Joe. If America respects Philippine independence, it would submit to its laws. In fact, the law was applied rather benignly, in consideration to the importance of PH-US alliance. The law says anyone who ventures in the reef gets not just fine but a six-year jail term. No one's going to jail. Moreover, you have to understand that the government of Palawan and the administrators of the marine park are autonomous from the national government. They're interest is in protecting their marine riches. Manila, on the other hand, has been generally level-headed. The President has asked incisive questions, but they are all fair– Indeed, what's the minesweeper doing there? The President has said the issue of compensation will come only after the complete assessment of the damage based on a level-headed investigation of facts. The President is drawing flak for not being assertive enough, but he remain level-headed.Secondly, as friends of the Philippines, we have to understand where the emotion is coming from, rather than just condemn it. Put in context, the emotion is understandable. For instance, the Tubbataha Reefs is not just another beautiful coral reef. It's the crown jewel of Philippine marine resources, and contributes billions to the economy, not just to tourism industry but to fishing as well. How would Americans feel if their ally accidentally destroys Mount Rushmore of the Grand Canyon? Moreover, the vigilance of several citizens would look justified if we consider that the American government, for instance, has never really did an honest-to-goodness clean-up and compensation for the nuclear waste the US Navy left behind in Subic. (I'm posting this partial comment now and will post a rejoinder later. Busy at work!)

  12. J says:

    (continuation)Thirdly, the Tubbataha incident is not analogous to the Scarborough conflict. The latter is a territorial dispute with a recalcitrant power. Dealing with it requires realpolitik and careful calibration, since the stability of the entire region is at stake. The former, on the other hand, is an accident that involves two allies, one that involves a very important national treasure. It's reasonable for the other ally to ask questions, and for both to cooperate to save that national treasure.Fourthly, I disagree with your characterization that lives are the least of Philippine priorities. But, of course, the national treasure is deemed more important than the ship, as it should be. A ship can be replaced; the Tubbataha cannot. Fiftthly, I think it was not really necessary to raise some perceived defects in the Philippines like the lack of environmental protection and the prevalence of privacy. I understand that you're point is to show hypocrisy, but I think it doesn't follow. There are many factors behind the poor application of environmental laws, some of which are hard for the government to control. Just because the Philippines has poor record in environmental protection doesn't mean the Aquino, or the Tubbataha park guardians, or the Palawan government are hypocrites in protecting Tubbataha. In the first place, these three actors have not even been part of the perceived poor environmental record of the country. And at any rate, it has nothing to do with the issue.I agree with you that the Left and the media have anti-American bias. You have to understand where they are coming from. Filipinos have always suffered being patronized for being inferior, or for being underdeveloped. This has always been a source of frustration for Filipino intellectuals, who are now very protective of national pride.But your characterization that the Philippines as a whole hate America and would be better off holding hands with the Chinese is just misplaced. I can bet my ass that, despite seeing Americans as arrogant, the ordinary Filipino is pro-American. Colonial mentality, MacArthur worship. A survey by SWS should validate this.At the end of the day, while I agree that the Left have stoked emotion to unhealthy levels, I disagree that the Aquino Administration is not dealing with this issue with diplomatic maturity. I think the Administration is doing a pretty good balancing act: Balancing between protecting national interest and taking the alliance with America into consideration. I think, further, that the Filipinos see America as their friend, and no amount of Chinese efforts would change that. This incident is a problem between friends, and must be resolved in a fair way.

  13. A fair comment, J, balancing my agreed pro-American cultural bias, which is protective of those who are innocent until proven guilty, and extraordinarily protective of those who put their lives at risk in defense of America, and, considering the Defense Treaty thatis in force, potentially the Philippines as well. I agree that America should pay necessary fines, do restorations to the extent they can be done, and I would have no trouble with jail time for someone who was criminally neligent. But that is after the evidence is in. I have trouble with lynch mob emotional justice, and when Filipinos argue the imbalanced jail provisions of the VFA, someone has to candidly say why the US is hesitant to turn its soldiers over to Philippine justice. Lynch mob justice. I have no problem with the laws or the punishments or the fines. I have a problem with justice levied, emotionally, before the facts are know. Trial by newspaper. Trial by history. Trial by bias.Not cool.And I have trouble that Filipinos do not appear to respect what American troops are willing to do for them.I appreciate that this is a jewel of an area. I wish there were more. There could be. I lived on Gingoog Bay for a time and saw all the dead coral there. Pity. And I agree America would weep if one of her treasures were abused, accidentally or on purpose. I look forward to the rest of your rebuttal. I'm sorry that burdensome, dastardly work is getting in the way of the good writing.

  14. Attila says:

    What a double standard! Dynamite fishing by Filipino fisherman are common all over the country with far more damage to the corals than this incident. Would they ever come after those notorious dynamite fishermen even if some of them are "serial coral killers"?

  15. Well, the attitude seems to be that coral that is in a park is more important than coral outside. Which is of course, horsehockey. The distinction makes sense in that it permits budgets to do patrolling for preservation, paid for out of the local tourist revenues (it is a local park). But the lack of passion for the greater environment is stunning. I would add that Palawan "gets it", how important preservation is to income. Significant care is going into replantings of forests and building of good roads. Still, the province has had trouble with plunder, P20 million chunks of road money apparently doled out to this friend and that friend, delaying projects that would make roads safe and sound for the hundreds of tour vans operating there. So the halo around this province's acts is a bit atilt.

  16. J says:

    Oh, we have no disagreement there, Joe. I agree that the restoration and compensation should come only after a full, impartial investigation has identified culpability and the extent of the damage. I think this is what Malacanang also says, and it's drawing flak for it. The Inquirer, for instance, has called for an investigation as well.I agree, absolutely, that the Left is indeed stoking emotions to extremely unhealthy levels, as they always do. And the mainstream press and the intelligentsia, generally, are sympathetic to them. I'm bewildered that they would even compare it to Chinese incursions when it involves an ally's ship, as opposed to a hostile one. The Left's rhetoric is: "Why is PNoy mad at China over Scarborough, but not at America over Tubbataha?" I'd love to throw that question back at them: "Why are you always quick to condemn America, but not China?"But my disagreement is with the tone of your post. It comes across as lumping the Leftist rhetoric with what the Philippine government is doing, or what the entire Philippines think. I think the provincial government of Palawan and the Tubbataha marine national park authorities are doing what they are expected to do, while the Aquino government, far from letting emotions drive its response to the situation, is actually level-headed and is applying diplomatic maturity, trying to balance national interests against the importance of Philippine alliance with the Americans, as it should.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Good response J. – MB

  18. The tone comes from doing an article in my own fit of passion, provoked by an irresponsible (in my view) blog I read, writing at 2:00 in the morning, with my BP doing a tap dance in my skull. Frankly, I am tired of reading about "arrogant" Americans as if the policies of government should be laid on anyone with an opinion or, in the case of a soldier or sailor, a difficult job to do. I'm about to start throwing back that the writer is "intellectually indolent and socially ignorant" whenever I hear that slur.But I appreciate the observation. I'm sure I'll calm down before your countrymates do. Doing the blog was a part of my therapy.

  19. I guess I need a "like" button. I'd give him a vote, too, actually.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Joe, Picture this – Tubbataha is US territory. A British minesweeper enters the prohibited area and is on the way to hitting the reef. Should US officials at the scene communicate with the captain directly or should they contact the admiral commanding the British fleet first?Knowing how the US operates within its territory, it will communicate directly with the captain, order him to stop before he causes any damage and then contact the British higher ups to explain the situation so that the British higher ups can tell their captain to sail away from the area. No way are the US forces going to accept a reply from the British captain saying, "I'm sailing to my destination. I have my orders, talk to my CO." His ship will be blocked and if he proceeds I am sure the US ship will fire a shot across his bow.And let's see how far US officials in charge of the reef can go with a US Congress hearing on the incident: "We did not stop the ship because we could not. We are not supposed to communicate directly with the ship's captain. All communications as per our training have to go through central command. We were still waiting for central command to order their vessel to change direction when it ran aground. Your honors, if we may, maybe we should review our procedures?" My point is conclusions are premature and so defenses are premature also. Let's wait for the official report.But my example above is meant to illustrate that your scenario of a good soldier following orders works only if we accept American exceptionalism. I don't. I think we should all play by the same rules. – MB

  21. J says:

    Fair enough. We all do get emotional/provoked at times.Which blog were you reading, by the way?

  22. Directly.I agree with your point. Let's hear or read the transcripts and the timeline.The communication through channels should come prior to trying to board the ship.It is a good example.

  23. http://stuartsantiago.com/save-tubbataha-not-the-guardian/And I would note that one of the options for getting the ship out is to cut it up. So the Navy agrees with the assessment that the reef is more important than the ship.I am also struck that there probably is not a lot of confidence in the Philippines for the US justice system, especially military, because it freed Smith (that Nicole incident) and is often hidden behind military secrecy. But the Navy takes VERY seriously the loss of a ship through grounding. It ends careers. So I am confident punishments will be levied that are far more severe than what the Philippines wants done.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Agree with J that in this blg is ambigous on your part, that the title of the blog msy be accurate "Of emotions and self interest", it is accurate at this level: you wrote based on your emotios and self interest was based on those leftist pinpointed by J, i labelled as "protectionists or politicians nationalists" in this blog I separately posted above forgetting to put my name. It was intentional I posted two separate comments, one about China and the other about selfinterested "environmenmental protectionists" to point out that they are two separate unconnected issues.As J adeptly pointed at, these " leftists or faux protectionists" are muddling the issues detrimental to the the good cause of the Administration. Similarly, China issue and the Reefs should not have been placed by you in one blog as common issues. Please refer to your old blogs, Joe,as I begged you before that your real concern with our well being was being clouded by your military service, not necessary with your love for American principles which is at best stinky. At any rate, we Filipinos share your love for our country. Control your emotions we see your selfish interest is for our own good. Cheers to you and J. Good for you not emulating Enrile, talking ill about dead people or side stepping the issues when cornered by rationale senators. Wish you have him as topic of your blog to discuss reasons his COS resigned, not due to Alan's senate expose but has to do with spat with wannabe.He he he Johnny Lin

  25. GabbyD says:

    "That the ship was in the Philippines ostensibly in service to the Philippines appears to carry no weight."how do u wknow that it was in service to the philippines? what does "in service to the philippines" mean?

  26. I don't do teledrama themes, Johnny. One of my ex wives or many countless girlfriends might come out of the woodwork and cite me for hypocrisy. Cheers back at you.

  27. In service to the Philippines means that the US has a defense agreement with the Philippine and its Navy would clearly be a key part of any actions undertaken regarding the West Philippine Sea. All US military resources are ostensibly available for service in defense of the Philippines.How the US would deploy them is open-ended, but it is not inconceivable to imagine China mining islands she occupys. I don't know if the Guardian has engaged in any of the training exercises or not, or why she was in Subic for service.The point is that the US stands ready to defend the Philippines and it is lost upon many Filipinos what this means in terms of lives at risk. Like side by side. The assumption is often made that the US is always out for her own interests (she is) without considering that Philippine interests and US interests may be the same.

  28. GabbyD says:

    but the MDT doesnt immediately bind US military resources for anything short of an invasion. since thats not the case at all, how can it be "of service" to the philippines?at best, it is "serving american interests", which in the case of perserving peace in the region, happens to be in the philippines' interest as well.

  29. Well, I guess we will have to wait and see what happens. Hopefully, it will never have to be in service fighting, and will be held in service in the background making China think twice about shooting at Philippine boats, or invading islands where Filipinos reside in what China declares as her territory (like Pag-asa Island). So consider it in service as a check and balance, if nothing else.

  30. Edgar Lores says:

    1. Wonderful analysis and dialogue by all concerned.2. Wish we had this level of passionate yet dispassionate exchanges within the country and between and among nations.3. Leftists, senators, bloggers and commenters – take note!

  31. I suppose we have an advantage here, in that there is a fundamental level of respect between parties that allows disagrements to circulate within that bubble and not break it. It was mutual respect that enabled the breakthrough on the Mindanao agreement, and it is the lack of mutual respect that causes problems with China. I would wish for greater mutual respect between the US and Philippines, as well as among the groups you have listed.

  32. I'm thinking there might not be a Chinese concept of respect for those who disagree.

  33. Attila says:

    "I would wish for greater mutual respect between the US and Philippines" The level of resentment and distrust towards America sometimes becomes surrealistic . I Filipino doctor (MD) who is practicing in New York and well respected among Filipinos including in the church told me that the US is responsible for the death of 6 million Filipinos during the Colonial time. I was dumbfounded and tried to correct him but he insisted that it is a fact. He said the truth is covered up but there are books out there where the truth is revealed. He was under the influence of alcohol but he was not drunk. I heard other outrageous "facts" before from Filipinos criticizing the USA. I wander what else these Filipinos are thinking and holding back?

  34. Attila, yes, I agree. There is no question Filipinos have a right to resentment for the brutality of US engagement in the Philippine American War, as the Japanese do about US atom bombs. But there is, in that resentment, often a failure to recognizing that there are two sides to the issue, and the issue was complex. And there was a time dimension to it, like in the Philippines, 114 years. Things have changed.I find it interesting that you hear mostly favorable comments regarding the Philippines and Japan getting close regarding defensive alliances. But little outspoken resentment toward Japan for WWII.I think the US is easier to condemn, much like it is easier to shout at your brother than at your neighbor.I'm concocting a blog about "respect", as I think it the key to harmony, and getting things done. Maybe I'll get it out Monday.

  35. GabbyD says:

    let me confront your ideas about "arrogance" directly.news reports say that the ship entered a protected region under philippine territory and did not listen to phil authorities. is that arrogance? if the roles were reversed: is the philippine military free to enter US terrirtories and to ignore their advice/orders?

  36. Let me hear or read the transcripts, along with a timeline, and I will tell you if it is arrogance or not. If Philippine ships enter US territory, and fail to stop, I'd say it is a very bad decision. It is not arrogance.

  37. GabbyD says:

    "I'd say it is a very bad decision. It is not arrogance."ok: what is the difference between "bad decision" and "arrogance"?when the US units enter another countries' territory and not heed orders from local authorities, why is this not arrogance?if i were to enter your house and break your TV despite your telling me "dont touch the TV", did i make a bad decision? or arrogance?

  38. Arrogance is an interpersonal, emotional term where one person believes he is better than another, or holds that another is ignorant. And the action derives from that sense of superiority. If the Captain of the Guardian thought, "oh, those are just Filipio park rangers, they have no authority; onward!", that would be arrogance. Ir the Captain of the Guardian thought, "I'm almost out of the park, I need to get to Singapore, I'm not stopping", that would be a decision. It is made without regard to the interpersonal relationship. It is made considering only his own circumstance and mandate, to get to Singapore.Arrogance is sometimes real, and sometimes in the mind of the beholder, if the beholder mis-interprets the action and takes it personally. Many Filipinos seem to take the incursion personally.If you entered my house, you'd be unconscious or dead as a result of your bad decision.

  39. GabbyD says:

    then your problem really is a semantic one.if "Ir the Captain of the Guardian thought, "I'm almost out of the park, I need to get to Singapore, I'm not stopping", that would be a decision. " is a bad decision to you, then to many, many others, not stopping is a mark of arrogance and impunity.this is the true test: a mistake happens once; if a mistake happens habitually, it becomes arrogance.or: if you bump into an asshole once a month, thats one thing; but if u bump into an asshole daily, that means you are an asshole too.ultimately, whatever you call it, it doesnt matter. its the response that matters.the response has to be professional. i dont think anyone has accused the philippines of doing anything less.

  40. Not semantics. Interpersonal, esteem based. There is a difference between a decision based on the facts of the matter and one based on a belief that someone is ignorant or irrleevatn. No American thinks the decsion that led to the grounding was arrogant. Almost all Filipinos do. This has to do with their different foundations and biases and perspectives. A Filipino who believed that the American ship was here FOR the Philippines, and is a blessing considering the bullying China is doing, would grant that a mistake, a decision was made. A Filipino who resents past American behaviors will not grant that consideration and feel "put down". Let me put it this way, insecure people see more arrogance than secure people do. And in the case of Philippine history, those who see present American behavior as an extension of prior behavior, will see more arrogance.Indeed, you are right, it is the response that matters. And that response ought to be based on information, not emotion. The Philippine Park Rangers were indeed just doing their job, and no one is blaming them for anything. A mistake was made. I'm guessing it was a mistake of execution and not arrogance, but I could be wrong.All I know is that jumping to conclusions is NOT professional.

  41. And believing the captain made his decision as an intentional insult to Filipinos reflects an amazing interjection of self-esteem into the matter.

  42. Attila says:

    A big yes! It is a wishful thinking on their part. I talked to some of them who want to believe that under Japan would have been better. Almost like anything is better than giving acknowledge to America. In my opinion the "little brother" is not mature yet. He feels embarrassed by "big brother". Sometimes I'm called a racist or that I'm not qualified to speak because I'm not American. They could be childish sometimes.

  43. JosephIvo says:

    Great nations are always self assured and often arrogant. The Filipinos usually feel as a belonging to a small nation and small nations often think as the small chick in the Calimero comics "They are big and I 'is' small and that is not fair, oh no!"Native English speakers often confuse (misuse) mastery of the language with mastery of the “thought”. This is especially easy / harmful in the Philippines were English is considered the more valuable language. I tend to smile at this big arrogant Americans, with all the technology of the world getting stuck on a reef! Only a lousy sailer can plant his ship as they did, and they want to protect the Philippines??? Learn to reads a map first.

  44. GabbyD says:

    " No American thinks the decsion that led to the grounding was arrogant. Almost all Filipinos do."thats no test. No arrogant person will EVER admit he is arrogant. ex: Lance Armstrong.

  45. GabbyD says:

    here's the other problem. you keep using the phrase "its in service to the philippines"but when one is in service, you have to obey the commands of your the ones you are servicing, right? but the navy been has never been under the command of philippine authorities.so it true that its keeping the peace/deterrent. but calling it "in service to …" is a bridge too far.

  46. Attila says:

    Many Filipino could benefit from seeing a shrink but the best therapeutic experience for them would be to turn over American solders to Philippine justice. They would be so happy! Americans would have the chance to witness the ugly anti American sentiment, lynch mob justice. The Americans would finally say: lets get the F*** out of there. How I wish!

  47. You know, you are the first person who has brought the correct perspective to this. Set aside the damage to the reefs, it is a pretty clumsy bit of driving. I suspect the captain of the ship will be a clerk down at Wal Mart about this time next year. Set aside his personal tragedy, and it is quite funny.

  48. There is not a lot of introspection hereabouts, for sure. A lot of justification. And, indeed, a lot of lynch mob emotionality. And never never any gratitude for what the sailors are out there to do, defend the Philippines.

  49. That's flat-assed wrong, GabbyD. I admit I am arrogant. My daughters have convinced me of that point. And to Filipinos I can be very, very arrogant. Which is why I am regularly invited to "go back to America". Lance Armstrong knows he is a jerk, too, I'd bet. But Americans have a higher threshhold of tolerance for direct speaking, so they generally don't see each other as arrogant. Filipinos have a near-racist view that "arrogant" is a cultural attribute of Americans, so they see it everywhere and attach it to any act that they have a problem with. It is psychologically unhealthy, frankly.

  50. So let me ask you, GabbyD, do you have any appreciation at all for the young Americans who would die on your behalf if China attacked? Or does it just make you angry that the Philippines has to rely on another country for defense?

  51. GabbyD says:

    i appreciate it, but that doesnt mean they are "serving" us, in the same way that the Philippine armed forces are serving us. right?

  52. GabbyD says:

    like, does the US govt think that her NATO allies are "serving" the US?would the Sec of State use that word? EVER?

  53. Ah, good question. They are serving US interests. Perhaps that would be a better way to put it rather than serving the US. Good distinction, and in that regard I would amend my comment and say that the US is serving Philippine interests.

  54. GabbyD says:

    ah, yes, we have a meeting of the minds! 🙂 a first on the internet…

  55. Ahahaha, yes indeed. History making accomplishment! Cheers!

  56. FILIPINOS ARE not ARROGANT – Mariano Renato PacificoI asked each 93,999,999 Filipinos and they said they are NOT ARROGANT. Yes, they are not arrogant to Americans when they are in America and Europe. They just meow and moo without police watching. They stop at a STOP sign. They stand before a STAND BEFORE THE YELLOW LINE. When they come home, THEY ASKED ME IF I KNEW WHO THEY WERE and THEY CANNOT EVEN KNOW THEIR NAME, "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?"I soooo love Filipinos. They are soooo cute and emotional.SO, FILIPINOS, DO NOT RUN TO PAPA when Chinese attacks you. American navies do not want their bomb droppings on precious defenseless hapless corals.FILIPINOS ARE SOOOOO BRILLIANT PEOPLE. That is why to this day THEY CANNOT MANUFACTURE CATSUP AND PANSIT. They are imported. Even those emotional patriotic Filipinos prefer imported CATSUP AND PANSIT.

  57. The brilliant Filipinos have five strategies for Spratleys conquest:1. Run to Papa the very same Papa that ruined their precious coral2. Run to international court which they are doing right now3. Attack them with Hamiltons and fireflies that cannot even make round trip from Subic to Spratleys and drop their bomblets4. Make signals and noises5. Pray and Pray

  58. . . . cute and emotional." ahahahahaha Cuddly even.

  59. The minesweeper got tangled with corals. Where are their depth gauge and pings and pongs. Filipino navies are better than this minesweeping captain. They never have had run agrounding. Because they are on the ground most of the time subjugating the brown-skin-punk'd nose Filipinos.

  60. Catch Monday's blog. If Papa's people don't want to fight in another country that is resentful of their arrogance and presence, Papa won't send them to fight.

  61. I have to agree with GabbyD on Lance ARmstrong.Lance Armstrong is arrogant, therefore, all Americans are arrogant.Therefore, GabbyD WILL AGREE WITH ME that ALL FILIPINOS ARE THOUSAND TIMES STUPID because of their stupid squatters.

  62. One thing I sooo love about Filipinos is they are sooo goot in englischtzes that they needle and pins what is the meaning of "is" is.

  63. I think they were trying to get the hell out of there and forgot to ping their pong.

  64. J says:

    Off topic, Joe. I hope you don't mind. But today we celebrate President Cory's 80th birthday. I'm remembering her by watching the video of his address to the American Congress, which in my opinion is the best Philippine presidential speech ever delivered. I thought I should share it with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX9ysynaIq0

  65. Very much on topic, J. Reflecting the kind of mutual admiration that needs to be rebuilt, I think. Very moving speech. Thanks for providing the link.

  66. Attila says:

    "Filipinos have a near-racist view that "arrogant" is a cultural attribute of Americans"In my view Americans are not arrogant enough, they are way too polite and too open minded. Compare to Albanians, Ukrainians etc the Americans are sissy boys. How I wish Filipinos would spend some time with those in a camp. I did when I was living in a refugee camp in Austria prior to coming to the US. They would finally have a good comparison.

  67. Attila says:

    Filipinos also feel entitled. Many of them thinks America owes them. Over-stayers here believe in that. That gives them the justification and the moral base to take jobs away from legal residents. They also believe they are better workers than others like Mexicans and other south Americans. That fact is that Mexicans are very hard working people doing jobs that overstaying Filipinos would not do at all. Without the US, Filipinos would be a Spanish or Japanese or Chinese speaking country now. There would be no nurses coming here to work and there would be no OFW at all.

  68. Attila says:

    THEY CANNOT MANUFACTURE CATSUP AND PANSITHow true! My wife told me that she buys Chinese made pancit canton and sotanghon. The Filipino ketchup is not a ketchup at all but a red colored banana sauce. Funny.

  69. Attila says:

    "never never any gratitude for what the sailors are out there to do, defend the Philippines."I also never NEVER heard Filipinos here in New York saying positive things about the USA. Often arrogantly insisting on their negative views. My wife thinks that the only things most Filipinos like about America and Americans (in her own words) are products and money.

  70. Yes, and the Dutch, at least the guy who live near me here, cause me to shrink back, a sissy boy for sure, against the relentless unbending opinions. His Filipina wife left him for some reason.

  71. The gratitude issue is a tough one for me to address in a blog. Like, it almost requires a professional shrink to determine why person A is unable to convey thanks to person B, unless person B meets some unfortunate tragedy.

  72. Yes, banana catsup is weird. I do notice that tastes in sweets here differ, too. I can't quite describe the sweets here, like halo halo, that remind me of broccoli. But the rest of the food is deeeeeeeee licious.

  73. Attila says:

    As an Eastern European coming from a former communist country having a very different upbringing and view point I'm amazed and entertained about the Filipino mindset. They are childish immature, arrogant and loveable right fighters. They can be a headache but I always look forward to experience the next encounter. They invigorate me. I'm addicted to them. I love them all! I also love to be the white token Kano in the community. They love me because I'm white gwapo and matankad. I make them feel good. Hallelujah!

  74. Have you checked your live birth certificate? Are you related to Mariano?(Note to self: I probably should check mine, too.)

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