America and the Philippines: Not Ready for War

Preface

This discussion is predicated on a worst-case scenario, not a prediction. It considers that China is aggressively pursuing expansion into resource rich areas. The Philippines is a resource rich area and militarily weak. Filipinos have a love/hate relationship with America, the security backstop if the Philippines is attacked.

Wars start when nation A provokes a response from nation B, then declares that it must attack nation B for self defense.  The Philippines is Nation B.  The current tense situation in the West Philippine Sea is dangerous, and planning ought to consider a worst case scenario.

I believe the Philippine actions to this point have been firm, mature and well-considered. Law over gun is the best way to resolve a dispute. The problem is that all nations must read “right and wrong” the same way to subscribe to a law, and China reads by a different set of values. I cannot imagine China backing off from occupancy of Scarborough Shoal, for her entire nine-dash strategy collapses. Therefore, I carry a certain amount of pessimism that armed conflict can be avoided.

An Overview

I am troubled, as an American citizen, with the attitudes I see in the Philippines regarding Americans and America. America is partly responsible for the development of the attitudes, without doubt. Both parties have to engage to change them.

Let me break this down.

  1. It seems to me the Philippine and American governments have a very constructive relationship going on. Mutually beneficial, aligned, open channels of conversation.
  1. The extreme leftists in the Philippines have a pro-communist, anti-American agenda, and that is fine. I’m not talking about them. They are indeed extremists, and, although occasionally loud and abrasive, are largely marginalized by their stridency and lack of reason.
  1. I am troubled by the popular assignment of the term “arrogant” to all American acts that people disagree with. It has what I would call racist underpinnings, stereotypes that Filipinos carry around with them so that, when the US or individual Americans do something disagreeable, it fulfills and reinforces the bias.  Good, well-intended people get painted by an unkind brush. The brush paints America unkindly.
  1. The US has a standing defense agreement with the Philippines and, although the government finds value in this relationship, a large segment of the Filipino people are put off or angered by it. It carries the smack of an enduring colonialist presence and meddling. This gets amplified every time Senator Santiago goes on another rant against the Visiting Forces Agreement (“VFA”).

  1. The US has fought three wars recently in countries where large segments of the broad population did not want American troops occupying their land: Viet Nam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. This is very different than the European experience in World War II, where America’s presence, and sacrifice of lives, were appreciated by most people.
  1. Filipinos have a legitimate right to be wary of American involvement within their country, and even resentful. The U.S. waged brutal war in the Philippine American War, ran a powerful, explosives heavy campaign in Manila at the end of World War II, reneged on promises to give Philippine soldiers the same benefits as Filipinos after that war (“The Rescission Act”), and have not resolved the matter of toxic pollution at Subic and Clark. Then we have incidents like the Nicole “rape” and a minesweeper on a reef that tends to aggravate bad feelings.
If you look at the American side of things, you find the following aspects:
  1. The US did not care all that much about getting thrown out of the Philippines in 1991. She had other priorities and essentially let the Philippines float free.  The US gives minimum aid to the Philippines.
  1. Most Americans know little about the Philippines, and might not even be able to identify the country on a map. It may vaguely be in the back of their minds that it is similar to some South American countries, poor and corrupt and not at all modern. They might know of the storm deaths from regular reports. They know nothing about the Philippine American War, nothing about WWII engagement here, and nothing about Nicole or other incidents.
  1. Some in the US military leadership undoubtedy have a bad impression of Philippine willingness to fight based on the nation’s withdrawal from Iraq when the shooting began. The Philippines was the first nation to bail out of the “Coalition of the Willing” that was ostensibly put together to fight the global war on terror. The US military may have the Philippines in the same bucket as South Vietnamese, Iraqi, or Afghanistan troops: “not to be relied upon in battle”.
  1. US/Philippine military exercises occur regularly, and I suspect are generally handled professionally, from both sides. Pipelines of communication should be clear if the two nations join in fighting, and the ability to work side-by-side should be strong. For example, a Philippine ground unit should be able to direct an American air strike or helicopter support.
  1. The waging of war against terrorists in Mindanao has been carried out effectively. American advisers and Filipino soldiers have had good success at suppressing terrorist acts in the Philippines.
  1. The US has a standing defense agreement with the Philippines. If the Philippines is attacked, the US will engage militarily to defend the Philippines.
The Problem Here
So what do we have then. I have only anecdotal evidence to go on. These are my personal impressions.
  • We have significant popular resentment in the Philippines toward America and mild resentment among American military leadership toward the Philippines. The trust level is weak. The respect level is weak.
  • Filipinos respect American military capability and power. They don’t respect American demeanor of being the boss. They don’t respect anything that smacks of a “colonialist” attitude.
  • Americans don’t trust that Filipinos would fight well or aggressively.
That is not a good foundation for this alliance.
As an American citizen, as I said in a prior blog, I see no reason for American troops to fight in the Philippines, especially knowing how much resentment exists. I suspect a lot of Americans feel the same way. They might say:  “What do I care if the Philippines is overrun by China? It is irrelevant to me either way.”

And Filipinos want dearly to stand apart from their colonizer, to get to the point where they don’t really care about America because they are actively engaged in doing things of, by and for Fiipinos. You know, independently.
The U.S. government sees strategic need to restrain China from what appears to be an ambitious global territorial expansion. The Philippines wishes to preserve her independence and sovereignty. That is where interests of the Philippines and America join.
Yet, the two peoples, Filipino and American, do not like being forced together.
It seems to me impossible to convince Filipinos that it is in their interest to let go of the past and appreciate the sacrifice American soldiers are willing to make to defend the Philippines. To get rid of this irritating notion that the US is only out for her own interests (as if that were wrong). To actually “respect” what America is willing to do, and what her citizens are willing to sacrifice. I’ve tried the argument over and over again, and getting an expression of appreciation from many Filipinos is almost impossible. It is overwhelmed by resentments.
Even people I enjoy and respect, intelligent people — bloggers angela at StuartSantiago, manuelbuencamino at Pro-Pinoy, or Riassa Robles, for example — start any discussion about America with a low-grade resentment of things American, history American, or American “arrogance”.
Resentment and respect.
I comprehend the resentment. US self interest is heavy-handed and insensitive.But it becomes a very real, practical, tangible factor in deciding whether or not a war is winable. China understands this and you can expect her to do all that is possible to drive a wedge between the Philippines and U.S. To make sure Filipinos dislike America (the leftist rant) and Americans are not enthralled about a fight with China in the Philippines.

I think President Aquino, by not speaking up to tout the importance of the US alliance as background to the minesweeper accident, missed an opportunity to quell resentments. The accident could have been used to posture partnership, but instead has been allowed to contribute to the fester of bad will.

I also think President Obama could do more to solidify the alliance by visiting the Philippines. I’d heartilyrecommend it, in fact, although Brother Barak is more likely to invite me to play pick-up basketball than ask me to opine on his international priorities.

Filipinos crave recognition. Give them recognition.

I’m not sure there is any higher priority in Asia right now.

But as it is now, with no national effort from either country to build good will, I think to myself, if fighting breaks out, give the Philippines boats and guns and drones. But fighting troops? No way. War is nasty, it is hell, it is deadly, it is unpredictable. Mistakes are made. People die.Who’s in the foxhole with me? A guy who holds a grudge toward my grandfather and father, thinks “arrogance” with each remark I make, and resents my country?

What it Takes to Win a War

It takes 100% commitment to win a war.This commitment can only be achieved if the Philippines is able to convert Filipino resentment to respect for America. Respect for America is needed to get the people of America to support sending troops to the Philippines to fight.

And America needs to recognize that operating solely for American interests is a sure way to build resentment. Clean-up Subic and Clark. Be candid about the USS Guardian. Give the Philippines a little love.

But here’s my main point:

If Filipinos want Americans to fight and die for defense of the Philippines, the people of the Philippines have to make sure Americans understand that Filipinos are worth dying for.

Failure to subordinate resentment to respect would, in battle, lead to backbiting and animosity under the wild, unpredictable heat of fire, and a wholly negative fighting experience.

Sorry.Been there, done that.

Comments
87 Responses to “America and the Philippines: Not Ready for War”
  1. The resentment of Filipinos is because they are denied Visa to America. The carpet bombing of Manila was because they did not have smart bombs. They have to kill Filipinos to kill the Japs.I am not quiet understanding why Filipino veterans are up in arms against American reneged on their promise of extending same benefits as American soldiers. Giving veterans a Visa to AMerica and carting their Lolos and Lolas and grandchildren with Supplmential Security Income to boot is better than giving these veteran soldiers money equal to Americans and not allowed to go to America.If I were a veeran I would choose going to America. My realtives would have better life there than in the Philippines.I believe the Americans were embarassed they were kicked out of Subic, making Justin Beiber out of grounded minesweeper with their Filipino-owned Hamilton-Class circling like sharks happy snapping picture posting it in Youtube, Philippine senators up in arms for their allies tresspassing and most of all VIOLENTLY BRUTALIZING THEIR PRECIOUS CORALS !!! Dios Mio Santasima !!! FILIPINOS WOULD RATHER LOOSE A FRIEND OVER CORALS and trespassing WHILE THE CHINESE are happily poaching Tuna within the 200-mile limit of Philippines.

  2. I AM SO CONFUSED ABOUT FILIPINOS RESENTMENT OF AMERICANS. I guess this is all peddled and made up by Congressmen and SEnators and the BRILLIANT PHILIPPINE MEDIA. It's like Manuel Quezon's "I'D RATHER HAVE THE PHILIPPINES RUN LIKE HELL BY FILIPINOS than by Americans" Because if PHilippines had became 51st state, Manuel Quezon, congressmen, Senators and Brilliant Philippine Media would be cleaning my latrines. So, they have to make Filipinos love Philippines and bastardize Americans.

  3. The Manila battle was quite horrid. The Japanese at Intromuros tied Filipinos to the outer walls to try to stop the American artillery bombardment. The Japanese in Intromuros were the same troops who dragged thousands of Filipinos off to be executed for the crime of being men. If you were the American general in charge of cannons that day, it was probably not the best day of your life.Actually, what America did regarding the veterans was pay the Philippines a one-time payment of $200 million for use by the army. Basically the US saw it as a buy out of the long term obligation, a simple financial transaction agreeable to the Philippines. I repeat, agreeable to the Philippines. Then, when the Philippines provided zero care for the veterans, the glare was shined on the US rather than on the Philippine army that made off with the $200 million and said to the veterans, "hawr hawr hawr".I think the resentment is part historical anger and part envy anger. But, in the end, Filipinos have to decide if they are up for fighting themselves. If they are, they will set aside both the history and envy anger and summon up some straightforward appreciation. If they are not, they need not worry about anger, and should start studying their Mandarin.

  4. Ella Tovara says:

    For most Filipinos "Money talks" Money defines who their friends are. If ever war between the Philippines and China happens and US will come in to help the Philippines. I will not be surprised if China bribes the Philippine Government and .. using the terms of Mariano Renato "Brilliant Philippine Media" … then we will see all these institutions talking against the US.So, yes I agree with you … there are a lot of issues that the Philippines and the Filipinos will have to resolve first before involving or asking the help of the US. Actually, not just the US but any country that may come in to help the Filipinos all the issues that you have mentioned will have to be addressed. Otherwise, it will be just a waste of resources and everything!

  5. "Otherwise it will be just a waste of resources and everthing!"Yes, and a waste of the good will that could exist with a little care. China is engaged on a purposeful strategy, expanding her geographic reach to secure resources. The current Philippine strategy is, as it always has been, to react to things. To react to China. To react to a minesweeper on a reef. Rather than to put everything into a strategic umbrella of need, to build a tight relationship with the US. It is almost as if the Philippines does not care what happens as long as it can "vent like Enrile". (Sung to the tune of "Dance like Jagger".)I argue there ought to be a strategic objective of creating a very tight, mutually respectful, bond between the US and Philippines, because it is the only way the Philippines can guarantee its own autonomy. It does not guarantee its autonomy by posturing and preening. Once that strategy is adopted, then issues like an errant minesweeper aren't leveraged to China's advantage. Trust me, China is getting a good laugh over the minesweeper incident. The US and Philippines are Frick and Frack screwing things up.

  6. Poor proud and brave veterans. The Philippine government pimped their veterans for $200M and these veteran prostitutes never got anything.Well, that is how prostitution works. It is always the pimps get rich. The prostituted veterans are barking at the wrong country.

  7. They should bark at both, I think. It was a shady deal on both sides of the Pacific.

  8. Edgar Lores says:

    1. I believe the Filipino resentment against the US is overstated. The resentment is there but it is the resentment of a newly independent young man making its way into the world.1.1 On January 24 in this blog, the commenter J said, “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.”1.2 This is true. And I would extend the subject of that first sentence to most Filipinos including politicians. The only exceptions would be leftists. There are currently no true Filipino nationalists.1.3 Filipinos are too enamored of American culture and gadgets to truly resent the US. For advanced study, they go to the US. And their first home away from home is always in the US.2. Will China go to war?2.1 If history is a guide, China has engaged in border wars and clashes against Korea (1950), Tibet (1950), Taiwan (1954), India (1962), Russia (1963), Cambodia (1978) and Vietnam (1979).2.2 All have been neighboring countries by land except Taiwan.2.3 China has never sought to permanently annex invaded lands except for Tibet, which China has always considered to be a remote, but nevertheless integral, territory.2.4 China has not invaded a country across the seas. China is not a sea power – yet.2.5 Despite 2.1, China has largely been a “defensive” power and not an “offensive” one. And despite 2.3, China has not been a colonizer like the Western powers.2.6 So China has never been foolhardy. But using history as a guide is sometimes foolhardy.3. Will the US come to aid the Philippines?3.1 I believe so, yes. As it did in Korea and as it continues to promise with Taiwan.3.2 American military strategy has always centered around the notions of containment and overwhelming capability.4. My tea-leaves reading capability is average or even less so. I have never predicted a winner in the Melbourne Cup.

  9. A fair and reasonable response. And indeed, as I prowl the comment threads here and there I do get many "appreciations" for the outside perspective along with big piles of "likes" on comments. But there is a HEALTHY measure of resentment and it flares when minesweepers run into reefs, or such incidents. All logic goes out the window and emotion rules.If most Filipinos are indeed respectful and appreciative of America's willingness to fight and die for the Philippines, the Philippines as a nation needs to show that side to Americans who are finished with fighting for countries who do not appreciate the engagement. It needs to be a people to people expression, brought about by the two governments, as a strategy.This winging it, incident to incident, doesn't cut it.

  10. J says:

    Joe, I agree with this blog, as you already know. But, as Edgar said, the resentment is overstated. Filipinos, rightly or wrongly, ultimately see America as a friend and whatever tinge of resentment they may have would be replaced by solidarity in the event of war. American military leaders doubt Filipinos would fight side by side with them? If that's true, they're nuts. They fought for America valiantly against the Japs, the Chinese and the North Koreans. MacArthur said he could conquer the world if he had a million Filipino soldiers.Will the US come to the aid of the Philippines? That's a title of a blog I wrote a couple of years ago (another shameless plug): http://thenutbox.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/will-the-us-come-to-the-philippines-aid-in-the-spratlys/http://thenutbox.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/will-the-us-come-to-the-philippines-aid-in-the-spratlys/

  11. I'm glad for the assurances. I still believe the strategy of building a stronger bond needs to be implemented, to lay the groundwork for American PEOPLE'S support. I think President Aquino has gone the wrong direction to appeal to popular sentiment on the minesweeper instead of touting friendship. Obama should visit here, seriously. And Aquino the US, not to kiss at the feet of Obama, but to reach out to Americans the way his mother did at her Congressional address. And Senator Santiago needs to be told to take her ranting against the VFA to the back rooms, rather than the front microphone, where she sounds a lot like a commie pawn.

  12. Aquino appealed to popular PHILIPPINE sentiment on the minesweeper. Bristling rather than soothing.

  13. Based on U.S. State Department 2012 Adjusted Refusal Rate of B1/B2 (Bysiness & Tourists) Visas, it appears Ameicans do not want Filipinos in their midst.Philippines has refusal rate of 23.8%Vietnam 22.2%Thailand 10.2%Malaysia 5.4%South Korea 13%Indonesia 12.1%… BUT TSINA !!!! CHINA !!!! CHINESE !!!! They have a refusal rate of ….. drum roll pleez … ta … da …. 8.5% !!!!!!!!! Oh, America so love Chinese …. Philippines is relegated to the likes of Burma and Laos. This is unacceptable. Filipinos died with them in Bataan. Why the high rate of deniability.Here is the link for anyones entertainment: http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY12.pdfIn facial likability, skin color, intelligence and coronary cuisine China babies are the most wanted and adopted at 2,697 babies for FY2012. Rusia is next. Philippines is just 124 BABIES ADOPTED? How dare Americans ! This is racial profiling and discrimination. We, Filipinos, spent America's skin-whitening products to make us look like them and our face is NOT ENOUGH? We even speak goot englischtzes. We emulate and like everything American. They are not adopting our excess babies?If you Americans are not adopting Filipinos, WE WILL GO THERE !!! Surrender ourselves and apply for re-colonization. But … but … the deniability index is sooo against us …..http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/FY12AnnualReport-TableXIII.pdfFROM THE LOOKS OF IT, in the event of war against China, AMERICANS WILL ROOT FOR YAO MING.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mariano Renato, a little knowledge, incomplete knowledge, is a dangerous foundation to stand on. Your criticism of Pres. Quezon's famous saying on accountability demonstrates that you are familiar only with its truncated version. Thus you reached an idiotic conclusion.The phrase in its entirety says "I would rather have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans, because however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it."Quezon's reason for his preference undermines your comment. – MB

  15. On the economic front … Americans are likely to outsource to non-englsih speaking Philippines perpetual enemy, The Chinese.Americans import their babies more than FilipinosAmericans deny Visas to filipinos more than ChineseAmericans outsource business to China more than PhilippinesAmericans more likely to marry Chinese than FilipinsAmericans likely travel to Chinese more than PhilippinesAmericans eat Kung Pao more than Philippine siopaoAmerica has more Chinese TV news anchor whereas Philippines has only one. She is not even a Filipino. She just look like a Filipino.America's White House has more Chinese-made cabinet members and A Filipino is cooking for them. She even forgot how to cook Adobo.Americans love Chinese. Filipinos should understand this. FATE IS AGAINST US !!!!! BLAME YOUR GOD FILPINOS. God has neglected us big time.

  16. Those are interesting statistics, but you have to get beyond them, I think. If you check another statistic, number of visas issued where the person fails to return to the Philippines, or China, you might find the difference there. Or if Philippine visas are for domestic work vs. Chinese for science work, or student enrollment. I'm guessing the educational credentials for Chinese is higher, and the positions for which applied deemed more important. Filipinas who seek employment as "girlfriend" are routinely denied.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Joe,I find it hard, discouraged if I may, to write some serious comments in your post after reading what Mr Mariano Renato has to say about it. Is he serious? Really?Sincerely yours,Leonardo San Miguel

  18. … MOST OF ALL … Americans fooled benign0 Aquino into buying a stripped-down down-graded coast guard cutter when Americans foolly understand that these coast guard cutter is meant for against the Chinese. But Americans did not want Philippines trying out their toys against America's economic ally, THE CHINESE.

  19. The question needs to be asked of Filipinos "why don't Americans think more highly of us", not of Americans "why do you favor Chinese". Look inward, my good man, look inward.

  20. Leonardo, good of you to visit. Mariano would be crestfallen if you got discouraged, I am sure. Look at his writings rather like those of Confucius, a mixture of truth and riddle, some days more one than the other, and difficult to discern which is which. Then probe your inner being for the real truth. Or go have a San Mig, maybe easier.

  21. According to Pew Research http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/06/19/the-rise-of-asian-americans/5/#chapter-4-immigration-and-transnational-ties 36, 37, 37 percent of Chinese, Indian and Korean respectively go to America for Educational Opportunities. Only 10% of Filipinos go to America for Educational Opportunities and may never want to return. And to your question, Joe, "why don't Americans think more highly of us" is difficult to answer I think it has got to do of its military and economic irrelevance. The Filipinos lost clout to the Americans because America lost Subic and Clark to leftist Filipinos. Americans willingly gave back Subic and Clark because of warming relations to former communist countries and Filipinos with their new found voice after Marcos became so noisy exercising their freedom of speech.Americans must be happy. They have Guam and Japan and Korea bases anyways with better facilities, fresh sashimi and yu kae jung hot soup. Most of all, Filipinos are not reliable allies. Americans help them against external enemy forces. Thereafter, Filipinos kick them out. Filipinos just do not know what they want.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Joe,War between the Philippines and China over the Scarborough Reef will be a war over territory, the basis of most wars including tribal and family feuds over the course of history.A war between China and the US on the other hand would not involve actual acquisition of US territory. Rather it will be over spheres of influence. Those were the reasons for Indochina and current Middle East wars. A throwback and an expansion of the Monroe Doctrine.China is now implementing its Monroe Doctrine over the region. America, like the European nations that once exercised substantial influence even dominion over South America, resents what China is doing because it will limit America not only militarily but also economically. The US and the Philippines are united against China's new foreign policy although for different reasons. Whether they will go to war against China as allies depends solely on how long their own rationale for war will hold together. Emotions will not bind nor unbind the Philippine-US alliance as much as commonality of interest and purpose and the immediate need for self-protection will. I was in the US, spending a lot of time in Capitol Hills, when the Bases agreement was not renewed. Emotions were high not only in the Hill but even more in the Pentagon not only because of the strategic importance of Clark and Subic but also to their importance in the advancement of careers in the navy and air force. But where are we now? VFA. At the end of the day, it is national interest and not emotions that always end up dictating foreign relations, policy, and war. What will war with China accomplish? More importantly, what rewards will victory bring? Those are the basic questions. When to act on them is crucial. It will determine when the actual shooting starts.For the Philippines the reason will be territory and the time to act will be when such an invasion occurs. But the Philippines will only be able to fight back through international courts to which neither China nor the US submit themselves. If only an invasion occurs, which is what is happening now although in incremental fashion, in the Chinese tradition of a thousand cuts, the US will stay out of it. It will only go as far as issuing "sitting on the fence" statements. For the US the rationale will be if the status quo will be permanently upset. If in America's assessment Chinese dominance over the region will relegate it to the rank of a second class power in the region, it will clip China's wings. It will create another Remember the Maine, Gulf of Tongkin, or WMD scare if it has to. The trick for China then is become like Japan, able to please America at the same time maintaining its economic dominance over the area. Japan's big mistake happened when it bought up American institutions like Disney and the Rockefeller Center – after it became an economic powerhouse and the US was suffering a recession under Reagan. Japan acted too soon. It became uppity. China would be wise to bide its time. The US will go down without any help from China or anybody. The US is killing itself right now.Anyway, I predict that war with the US and the Philippines on one side against China will only occur if and when both nations are threatened by China simultaneously and to the same degree. I think China's leaders are smart enough to avoid a shooting war at this time. Maybe years down the road it can and will but for now it cannot. It's best option is in the incremental. It has time on its side. -MB

  23. "Filipinos just do not know what they want . . ."That's an interesting conclusion. On the one hand, the drafters of the constitution, and all the leaders since, have not crystalized a "Filipino vision" that people can grab onto, like "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" grabs Americans. The vision gets killed by local/dunasty/clan/personal allegiances over national allegiance, and by poverty. Maybe a good, crisp fight is what is needed to glue the collective together.Also, a vision exists with President Aquino in a very broad sense. "Honesty, damn it!".

  24. Anonymous says:

    @Joe:It is always good and enjoyable to have some discussion with people capable of some serious thoughts, test your ideas and hopefully learn a thing or two from them, without some god-awful person barging in with surreal opinions and and even more surreal usage of the English language.Time is such that you would not want to spend it on trivialities. I'd rather have a bottle of ice-cold San Mig Pale Pilsen on a beautiful evening and contemplate on issues affecting this world of ours. Who knows, I may consider replying to Mr Mariano Renato after my tenth bottle. Maybe up the ante from there? But surely, as Confucius said it in reference to ignorance, it would be a night without the moon and the stars

  25. Very superb synthesis, MB. Thanks. I like the reference to "a thousand cuts". That, along with divide and conquer, reflect a concerted, organized Chinese method.Yes, Japan was quick to go to arrogant after buying up half the US, then went quickly back to shame when Japanese RE collapsed. I know, it forced them to sell the bank I was working for. The French bought it and fired my redundant ass.The thing that troubles me is that China sitting 124 nautical miles off the coast of Luzon, or somesuch,is very troubling. And Pag-asa sitting smack in the middle of China's claimed territory and outside the economic zone, full of Filipinos, has got to come into Chinese thinking soon. Freezing where we are today is awkward, and the next move is very dangerous.I hope you are right about your conclusion. My point is that plans should be executed that would cover if you are wrong.

  26. Fine strategy, Leonardo. Thank you for leaving us with that fine wisdom as you head to the refrigerator.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Joe, I hate to bring up the old Greek – the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must – but other than go to international courts what can the Philippines do? At this time any self-defense plans against China would need US involvement. That will be like the tail formulating a plan to wag the dog. And it is possible that China and the US might find an accommodation, based on their own national interests, and that will leave us to fend for ourselves. I don't know if a southeast asian military alliance without the US would hold off China. Maybe an alliance that includes India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan? That avenue can be explored, of course. But we can also formulate a plan for joint exploitation of the disputed territory. Without touching the sovereignty issue. Like our policy of putting the Sabah issue on the back burner and just focusing on the positives with Malaysia. After all, it's the resources that's driving the Fil-Sino conflict. No one in the region paid attention to the entire area until resources came into play, right? Maybe we can all put our banners aside and focus on the pie instead. We can all have a slice and fart together afterwards. The Chinese can toast their awful wine and we our excellent beer. Everybody happy. Now the problem might be, does the US get an invitation to eat and drink at the banquet? Do we have to plan for that too? – MB

  28. JosephIvo says:

    1- “Winning wars”, wars never win, only peace can win. The last war the Americans won was in Panama. Korea? Vietnam? Iraq? Afghanistan? War on terror? War on drugs? So it is natural that nations are careful with American advise.2- Where are the Americans in aid of the Japanese in their disputes? Or the 6 other countries? Or is to early yet?3- We are not talking about conquering the Philippines, we are talking about some natural resources in the 200 mile zone. The language should reflect this, it is about money, not so much about territory. 4- The “power” of a nation is more than the military power. It is the sum of Cultural power, Economic power, Political power, Scientific power, Manpower, Strategic Geographic location…. – Cultural power in the Philippines is Karaoke power. The main component is religion, re-enacting the catholic culture of the church 100 years ago, slowly preparing to sing the Vatican II song. Compare with Thailand, Bali, Cambodia… Only the superficial consumption aligns with the USA. – Economic power is largely controlled by Chinese Filipinos with a natural connection to China, call centres controlled by Indians, OFW’s controlled by 190 different nations, USA not the manifest preferential partner. – Political power was minimal due to rampant corruption, see what’s going on in the Senate now, not very convincing for the Americans. – Scientific power, counting the number of Philippine Nobel prize winners, we may say that it is nihil. – Manpower, yes but mostly unskilled, not what today’s economy needs. Education weak. – Strategic location, not more than Taiwan, Vietnam, | Indonesia….So power games (typical American way of thinking) are not an alternative for the Philippines. To maximise their share of the natural wealth they will have to be innovative, come up with different strategies. Local alliances with local, more equal partners, world support for an underdog, new sovereignty constructions…

  29. Anonymous says:

    @JoeI have no words of wisdom for you but let me try and give some inputs on your musings. Let us forget Mariano Pacifico for a while. Let us go direct to the gist of your opinion which is, if China invades the Philippines, should good ol' USofA commit in helping us, Filipinos? Should USA help a country where a good deal of resentment against the Americans are shown such as: 1)describing the Americans as arrogant, 2)the Miriam rants against the US, 3)the leftist tirades and 4)Aquino's stand on the Tubbataha incident? I tend to agree with Mr Lores when he said that Filipino resentment towards the Americans are overstated. But deeper than that, I don't think the US government would take into factor all this emotional resentments if and when the situation comes into a head with China. It's geopolitics and US interest that will be the primary consideration in all of these. Before 2012 ended, the US committed 60% of its military might to the Pacific. The recent pronouncement of SecState Hillary Clinton on the Senkaku island made clear the US stand on the Pacific. The US commitment in the Pacific does not stand on the Philippine situation in relation to the Chinese alone. Much more is it dictated on the basis of the Filipinos' resentment against the Americans, which is quite a nebulous assumption at best. Let me restate that again, the US commitment in the Pacific is dictated by geopolitics and American interests and not by any emotional attachments. And when I say American interests, I say it without any rancor or resentment directed against the US.Leonardo San Miguel

  30. What can the Philippines do? Recognize where it's interests and Philippine interests coincide and take initiative to direct the philharmonic. For example, I think China wants to divide and conquer and the Philippines wants to internationalze the Seas issue. China wants to drive a wedge between the Philippines and other states. The Philippine strategy should be deeper than a UN filing. Set out to aggressively bind the Philippines and US UNDER PHILIPPINE INITIATIVE, along the lines I have said. Establish an intimidating wall that China dare not even think about breaching. Do the same with other Asian nations. Having alliances does not sacrifice autonomy and sovereignty, it protects it. Going from one incident to another and not being consistent to the principle of BUILDING AND STRENGTHENING alliances, is not the way to go. The Guardian incident has undermined, not been leveraged to build.

  31. And joint development is fine, but China won't agree to rule of Philippine law. And the Philippines ought not agree to Chinese rules. Or it loses on the internationalization principle.

  32. 1. Your idealism is fine if China agrees. My write-up assumes China would abridge the notion that peace is best. This is entirely out of the hands of the U.S.2. Secretary Clinton was very direct in speaking out for Japan's rightful claim to the contested islands. She was criticized in the Philippines for not being so direct and "in your face" about Philippine claims. She basically declared that it is the US view that the islands are under Japanese administration. It really pissed off the Chinese, who ramped up their threatening language.3. It is about resources that enable China to build wealth and all that wealth provides for her millions moving up from poverty to middle class. This includes the building of a military that can go against the U.S. The entire sea claim is astounding. What makes you think a "Philippine" strategy is not an element of planning? Can you rule it out completely? If not, then you should do the worst case plan. Not fall into the trap of neglect.4. Then the Philippines should adopt a different long term plan called "getting closer to China without having them eat us for breakfast", and include in that the termination of the US defense agreement. I repeat, the Philippines and the US do not determine what occurs here. China does, and has, by its outrageous claims in the West Philippine Sea.

  33. Leonardo, yes, that makes sense. American interests are not bound or determined by emotions, and Mirriam can rant all she wishes, and American interests will remain the same. Stop Chinese adventurism in the name of acquiring resources on the cheap. But emotions can overcome resentment. One huge Obama speech akin to his Egypt speech from several years ago would stop China adventurism dead, and also end the ridiculous sniping from the Philippines about US arrogance.But that speech shoud be given ONLY if the Philippines wants it, and if it fits with Philippine interests.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Hello Joe !Several months I read your blog, very incisive, congrats !To keep up with the topic, I found ironic that the U.S and the Philippines claimed the Scarborough in the 1930's, much before the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. The U.S considered at this time that the Scarborough was part and parcel of our country… I found this information in this research paper, just finished it, athttp://www.irasec.com/components/com_irasec/media/upload/DP14-ScarboroughShoal.pdfThere are many chinese maps in this paper showing that China had no claim to the shoal before the war…The same author has written a summary in the PDI athttp://opinion.inquirer.net/42821/long-history-of-ph-management

  35. Thanks for reading, and especially for the links. That's good to know and I presume the Philippine legal team has this information in hand to support their argument to the UN. China is certainly behaving brashly and without regard for the national interests of other states, which is why I think a worst case plan is needed. You can't talk to a lunatic.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Yep ! I don't know what will be the reaction of the U.S during the proceedings in the U.N. You are correct when you say that, we, Filipinos, we have a hate/love relation with the U.S and we get highly emotional at times. Pero, sometimes we have our reasons : look, for example, the Scarborough was claimed by the U.S but today they do not support us on this question, just "we are neutral on sovereignty questions"… By being neutral, the U.S help indirectly China, the big power in the region. Foreign policy of the U.S is so moving and with so many contradictions, it is difficult for the allied of the U.S to trust the White House and al.

  37. Really good point. Which is why the Philippines needs to drive this. Possibly the US is not aware of the contradiction, I don't know. I'd like to know if Del Rosario's team has briefed the US on these particulars. I don't think China believes the US is neutral. The US is dancing the diplomatic dance, rather an egg shell waltz.

  38. JosephIvo says:

    The Chinese claim is indeed outrageous, that’s why I believe that it must be easy to get the world's support if playing the underdog role correctly. Between Belgium and Germany there was a very rich zinc mine that Prussia (big) and Belgium (small) claimed, outrages because it would be a German enclave inside Belgium territory. It became an independent state of 1square mile, 3000 inhabitants, the mayor head of state but ruled by the mine, money printed by the mining company, German and Belgian shareholders of the mine. 90 years later when the mine was exhausted it became an integral part of Belgium.( At one point Esperanto was their official language.) This proves that creative solutions are possible. Again, all I’m saying is that in their planning the Philippines should not only think in terms of navy ships, rockets and military alliances. A full, all-out war is out of the question as the resources might be insufficient to pay for that. But eventually a non-military solution will have to be found, start preparing for that too!

  39. Yes, I agree. There should be other strategies than military as preferred strategies. And get a different back door man than Trillanes, and make sure he/she is piped to someone credible. And put the back door channel under Del Rosario. There ought to be several approaches being worked on simultaneously.

  40. Another reader previously suggested swapping the Philippine claim to Sabah to China for the Spratleys and an assured 200 nm economic zone. Include that, too.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Joe,But it's still a plan for the tail to wag the dog if it involves the US coming to the rescue. Joint exploitation of the area with all the conflicting parties internationalizes the agreement. We can all submit any conflicts to international courts or arbitration bodies. That would be in keeping with the internationalization principle, right?- MB

  42. Anonymous says:

    Well, China believes that the U.S is declining and that it would not take the risk to go to war even for Japan.Aquino administration has taken a risk but it was necessary to take it… If China ignores the request of the PH,it would show her real face in the spotlight !!! With Japan she goes to the U.N but with PH she refuses…

  43. Yes, that is an approach that could be pursued. I'm skeptical, as that would be like the tail trying to wag several puppies, plus a huge, hungry beast. But certainly exhaust all peaceful means. In the meantime, don't allow China to drive a wedge between the US and Philippines.

  44. Right, that is what scares me. That China can be so wild as to allow top military people issue outright threats. If I were a Filipino and knew the reports I'd be plenty angry. Called a "running dog" of the US, with the notion that China only has to kill one of the three (Viet Nam and Japan being the others), to get all three in line. The Philippines is the weakest "dog", I think.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Yes the Phil-US alliance should remain, made stronger if possible and China for that matter any other country cannot be allowed to disrupt it. Meanwhile let's focus on how we can all get a slice of the south china sea pie. The sound of satisfied farts is a lot better than the sound of bombs exploding-MB

  46. Anonymous says:

    @Joe:I don't think it is a matter of whether it fits with Philippine interests or not. We all know the answer to that. And by the way, Joe, it is not only from the Philippines that you will hear Americans being described as arrogant. Americans can hear it from Europe, Asia and the Middle East as well. And in a higher decibel, too.Ridiculous, isn't it?LSM

  47. Anonymous says:

    You say above "I'd like to know if Del Rosario's team has briefed the US on these particulars"I wonder also… as it has never been mentioned in all the declarations of DFA ! It could have been used to attract the attention of Clinton… Or is it to avoid to embarass the U.S ? It is something to dig deeper…

  48. Ha. You forgot to add "Q.E.D."

  49. Yep. Love to know. The new Secretary of State is John Kerry. The Philippines should do a brief for him, out of courtesy.

  50. LSM, yes, I don't associate with most Americans here in the Philippines because I find them brash and arrogant, and I hate to see how some Americans behave overseas, loud and pushy. But as we ought not say "all Mexicans are lazy", we ought not say "all Americans are arrogant". And we ought to separate the acts of State from the acts of individuals. And we ought to understand that direct, candid speaking is not arrogant in a country that speaks that way, culturally.

  51. I love that "HONESTY, DAMN IT!" That should be on benign0's desk and lectern. iT is soooo Trumanisque "THE BUCK STPS HERE!"

  52. The appointment of war veteran John Kerry to the Secretary of State is good for Philippines. Kerry can look at our problem from the perspective of military man. I guess Kerry knows better what China is up to.

  53. Chinas' intransigence and belligerence towards law and order before the world gives them a black eye. If America wanted to remain a world power America should not do business with them. America should not put all its manufacturing eggs in one basket.

  54. In joint Filipino-American military naval exercise I wonder if China scenario was on their mind.For America to prove their alolliance to us, Naval Exercises should be in or around Scarborough and Spratleys. I doubt they'd do that.

  55. Anonymous says:

    @Joe:I think material resources in the Pacific and the West Philippine Sea (take note, it's WPS) is a secondary thing. What is of utmost importance for the Chinese is territorial integrity. It's paranoia on the part of the Chinese. We all know what happened to China during the latter part of the 19th century. We all know what happened to China during the 1930's and the second world war. If ever, we should learn a thing or two on what happened when the US forces under McArthur chased the North Koreans across the Yalu river. Any sign of imminent danger or threat to their territorial integrity will be dealt with accordingly. Any transgression will never be allowed. Modern Chinese history is still very fresh in the minds of the Chinese.I subscribe to the idea that the Chinese have turned this paranoia into state policy. It's the reason for their nine dash line. It is merely a pretense to protect Mainland China from any incursion. And I believe that this has been state policy ever since. Even before the present crop of Chinese leaders were in their diapers.If we want to resolve the Pacific and WPS issue, we should view it in a larger context than the current Philippine-China situation. We should probably view it in a truly Asian perspective to be able to see where the Chinese are coming from. Not that I am pro-China. It is the reason why I am in favor of elevating the whole issue of the WPS claims to UNCLOS. Not that it really matters. But it will give us the time necessary for China to rethink their whole position vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea. There is at least the hope that a status quo equal to pre-WPS days will be considered. Remember, the Chinese were all but silent about their claim in the WPS until Pres Aquino went into power and made noise re the Spratlys claim. A blunder for all to see. But is just a matter of time before all of these comes to a head.The Chinese nine dash line is ridiculous. But it is probably their way of saying that American naval might can only go as far from the Chinese coast.Maybe the Chinese needs assurance on this point. That their paranoia is just that, paranoia. The question is, with Japan and the US joining the fray, will the Chinese be able to discern reality from paranoia? LSM

  56. Attila says:

    The bombing of Manila was no different than what happened in other European cities during WW2. Budapest was also -as many other cities- bombed to the ground with heavy civilian casualties. If the Filipinos think the Americans were doing a bad job than they should think about how the Soviets did it. Hay Nako! Maybe they should have been "liberated" by the Soviets and they would have now enjoy a communist state. It happened to other Catholic nations in Europe and would have happened to the Philippines. Count your blessings!

  57. Anonymous says:

    I don't think China will ever fall into the trap of thinking that the USofA is declining. We know, and the Chinese know that America is still the world's only superpower. The Chinese are too shrewd to think otherwise.Also, we Filipinos can be angry with what the Chinese are doing in the WPS. But why let such a banal thing distract us? We can be described as a runnning dog, a sitting dog, a barking dog, a fornicating dog or simply a dog and be mad at the Chinese but these are all meant to cloud our judgement and pull us down to such pettiness as probably when Americans react to when referred to as arrogant and pushy.What we need to do is to quietly focus on the issue at hand, calmly assert what is ours, isolate China by working on a consensus among our ASEAN/Asian neighbors, strengthen and renew ties with the US and… prepare for the worse. LSM

  58. Anonymous says:

    @Joe:It is great to see that you have arrived on the conclusion that all these misunderstandings are brought about by our cultural differences. You see Joe, we Filipinos are never confrontational, direct or candid. The Japanese aren't, too. And this goes to other Asian cultures as well. I just hope that while we Filipinos try to be patient understanding Americans, so do Americans should be patient understanding us Filipinos. But let me share you a secret wish of mine… I wish we Filipinos can be as direct and candid as you Americans (without being pushy, of course). It will make us Filipinos less timid.LSM

  59. Anonymous says:

    and… if all else fails, prepare for the worse.LSM

  60. Interesting perspective, the territorial integrity obsession. Also, trying to see things though China's eyes. I disagree that Aquino's "noise" was a blunder. Arroyo had started down the path of giving these resources away. Aquino had to stop that in its tracks."Maybe the Chinese need assurance." Perhaps so. Or they are just looking for patsies they can dominate. Hard to figure out. Inscruitable?

  61. Wow. That would raise a howl, wouldn't it? I wonder what China would do. The term "going apeshit" comes to mind.

  62. Agree. You cause me to think, I wonder why China can't grasp that it is a natural progression that she become the largest economy, and a dominant nation on a par with the US. Why does she have to push it in everyone's face? A belligerant China will get cut down. A peaceful China will become the most dominant nation on the planet. Seems to me their thinkin' is stinkin'. Too much testosterone in the noodles maybe.

  63. " . . . all these misunderstandings are brought about by our cultural differences." Yes, that is exactly what is going on around this "arrogance" issue. And I think direct speaking is going to come as the Philippines "globalizes", with casinos and foreign businesses and tourism and the internet. It's more efficient, more productive to speak that way.

  64. MB and Joe mentioned Sabah. Very interesting. All quiet in that front.Then why is Philippines girding for war over two rocks from Ilocos when Sabah has greater potential for natural resources, tourism, proximity to Philippines and lesser military risk compared to this behemoth China?Is there something about those two rocks that Filipinos are not told? Why is benign0 Aquino picking fight with China not over Sabah? When I came to this world my Social Studies teacher told us Sabah is part of the Philippines. Something is cooking.

  65. The claim to Sabah is probably valid unless it is ruled as "invalid from neglect, such neglect being a forfeiture of claim". The Sultan of Swat . . . wait, wait, no, that was baseball star Babe Ruth . . . a certain Sultan of clear authority gave Sabah to the Philippines. But there is no court to take the case to because Malaysia refuses to attend and the UN is not empowered to ajudicate, only get willing people together.

  66. Anonymous says:

    The problem is that Gen. Mac Arthur was envy of Gen. Eisenhower when the Allied army liberated Paris with the triumphant parade no less that Mac Arthur wanted to copy the triumph (both Eisenhower and Mac Arthur are republicans and are considered to be presidentiables and in essence are rivals) with the world papers announcing the glorious liberation of Manila (Pearl of the Orient) that even though Manila is of insignificant military value (The USAFFE abandoned Manila immediately after the start of hostilities and retreated to the Bataan Peninsula) that the destruction is primarily the fault of the Americans because of vanity. You may easily say that but Manila is the second most devastated city after only Warsaw and in the case of European countries your national heritage are scattered with other cities preserving your cultural heritage. In case of us Filipinos, Manila is the city where the national heritage of our country was primarily stored. Intramuros which stood for 300+ years was destroyed by our liberators erasing most of the heritage left by the Spaniards and the Americans so do not assume that we must simply accept the fact that we were liberated by the Yanks and downplay the destruction of our culture.DaveOfBacoloda

  67. Anonymous says:

    Actually China never colonized the world the way the west did. They look for long term goals and do not forget that early on, the Ming Dynasty (I saw a documentary in NatGeo or History Channel) attempted to spread Chinese culture throughout their known world but the policy was reversed a few years after their great expedition. If the Ming Dynasty pursued vigorously their colonial expansion don't you think we will be speaking Mandarin (or any other Chinese dialect) nowadays? Remember that Chinese culture (settlements) spread as far as Indonesia before they were halted.DaveOfBacolod

  68. Yes, MacArthur's vanity. The US "Navy Plan" would have skipped the Philippines and gone directly to Tokyo. The buildings would have been spared. Possibly the people. Or it could have been a horrible bloodbath. The Japanese did not lose lightly. Roosevelt made the call. Tough call.

  69. That's an interesting point. It is amazing that the Philippines does not speak Chinese. I'm always surprised at how close Hong Kong is to Manila.

  70. Anonymous says:

    Well the liberation of the Philippines could still have proceed albeit if I were the theatre CINC I would skip MAnila and confront the mass of Japanese concentrated around cordillera and Bagiuo City.Dave

  71. Anonymous says:

    The Chinese did sow the seeds with their merchants, and according to history, Chinese traders regard the pre-colonial Filipinos to be trustworthy and industrious 🙂 And ofcourse most FIlipinos have Chinese blood in their ancestry so we are sort of related to the Chinese. I think the reason the Chinese never colonized the Philippines like Singapore is that there is a thriving pre-colonial society in the Philippines and do not forget that the Sultanate of Sulu historically is the overlord of Moro settlements in far Luzon IslandDave

  72. Certainly seems easier from this vantage point.

  73. That is very very interesting. Too bad James Michener died. He could do a prequel to "Hawaii" called "Philippines". Get to the root of things. I guess I'll have to go back pre-Rizal to truly understand this place, eh?

  74. Attila says:

    I guess Filipinos just don't get it. It seems that they have to feel "victimized" or they would not feel right about themselves. I give you some facts about one average city from a small country that didn't make it to your list: Budapest. This is from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Budapest "Some 38,000 civilians were killed during the siege, thereof about 13,000 from military action and 25,000 from starvation, disease and other causes. Included in the latter figure are about 15,000 Jews, largely victims of executions by Hungarian Arrow Cross Party militia. When the Soviets finally claimed victory, they initiated an orgy of violence, including the wholesale theft of anything they could lay their hands on, random executions and mass rape. An estimated 50,000 women and girls were raped, although estimates vary from 5,000 to 200,000. Hungarian girls were kidnapped and taken to Red Army quarters, where they were imprisoned, repeatedly raped and sometimes murdered. Even embassy staff from neutral countries were captured and raped." To understand the devastation you should know that right before WW2 there was a devastating WW1 and right after WW2 came the communist dictatorship and the F*** Soviet Union with more tragedy.If any of you feel like competing about who suffered more or victimized more I'm ready to compete with you. If anyone believes that the Filipinos suffered more during colonial times prove it and lets compare. I'm looking forward competing with on how we were treated by the Muslim Turks vs. you by the Spanish and the Soviets vs. Americans. We can also compare the Philippines with other European countries like Ukraine. Just starters: Ukraine where in one year 6 million were killed by communist on 1933. HOLODOMOR http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

  75. Yes, it is hard to comprehend the cruelty that went on. Marcos was an angel compared to Stalin. And it is important to understand that the real problem in Manila was not the Americans, but the Japanese. I agree with you that it is not healthy to forever live the life of victim, or to bemoan the "what if's". At some point one has to say, "okay, I've studied the past, learned some lessons, and now let's get on with things."Finally, sitting in the armchair many years later is not the same as being on the playing field, then, amongst all the mud and pain and death, and the decisions that had to be made, then, without knowing the future. That's why I object to hanging the title "arrogant" on Americans, as if an insult could somehow right history. No, only respect today can do that.

  76. Attila says:

    My Filipino friends! Have the guts and invite the Navy and the Air force back to Subic and Clark. Just the way it was before your beloved impeached action movie hero president kicked them out. Those who call you dogs will not be in your ass anymore.

  77. Attila says:

    There is one cultural obstacle here. A crook president who really F''' up the Philippines will be forgiven. It is in your culture to forgive bad guys and forgive very fast. On the other hand when it comes to the Americans than there is no mercy.. Guilty as charged. Yes Estrada told you that the Americans made you a nation of cheaters, maids and whores and so on. It stuck in the minds of Filipinos didn't it?

  78. Anonymous says:

    So… which islands will China invade? Will she stop at the Spratlys? Are the main islands at risk?

  79. Anonymous says:

    Woah speaking of Michener my late father have a lot of his paper back novels :)I just finished reading (again) Chesapeake and I hope someday a Filipino novelist will come around and write things about the historic culture of the Philippines. And yes you have to study not only pre-Rizal but pre-Spanish Philippines, we even have our own alphabet before the Spaniards introduced the Latin alphabet (or is it Phoenician?). That is why up to now the Philippines claims Sabah (or should I say the Sultan of Sulu) despite the protests of Malaysia that it was federated with them upon inception (forgetting that they still pay the "rent" due the Sultan when he leased Sabah to the Brits)Dave

  80. Anonymous says:

    I resent the term or generalization that we like to portray our selves as "victims" , most of what you see in the news are militant-activists who are far from my political ideology and they do tend to sensationalize political events that often has the Americans labeled as the "offenders" but no. Most middle class and the Upper class are pro-US and we look towards the Pacific rather than the West Philippine Sea. We are ingrained with the 48 years of American occupation that history books downplay the gruesomeness of the Philippine-American War. And most of our books are written with a pro-US bias POV so do not generalize us as hating the Yanks.And yes we were fortunate that we were liberated by Yanks and not the Red Army but did you also realize that the Americans could have liberated Hungary and most Central European Countries if the Allied Supreme Command followed the suggestion of Churchill to launch a front in the Balkans rather than France? The operation in Italy was the compromise between Churchill and Roosevelt that they will take a chance to liberate Italy before the Normandy invasion which will result in a broader second front against the Germans but unfortunately, the Italian endeavor was mismanaged from conception until the war was won.But back to the topic they devastated our cultural heritage and that we can accept. But after WWII we were treated shabbily and the government has no recourse but to accept the reconstruction funds provided by the Yanks simply because the new government was bankrupt.Dave

  81. I personally think that China will not approach occupied islands, even small Pag-Asa Island in the middle of the Spratleys, outside the 200 nm exclusive economic zone. That is a flash point for combat and an end of trading relationships. There are also Spratley Islands that the Philippines has leased out for oil exploration that are within China's self-designatetd sphere. I'm not sure what's there in terms of people and structures. That may be the next point of contention. I don't think the main islands are at risk at all. China's fine work these past decades would be ruined by all-out war.To me, a better strategy for China is to back off, warm up to the Philippines economically, marginalize the US through domestic initiatives, and open an exclusive and robust commercial relationship between the two nations. But then I've never claimed to think like the Chinese think.

  82. I think awareness is growing that these coddled "names" have done the Philippines little good. Let's see how the elections roll out in 2013.

  83. The Mouse says:

    A bit of deviation here, but this is an interesting input….about Philippine independence.

    http://blogs.cornell.edu/indolaysia/2011/12/07/voting-for-philippine-independence/

    Were the Philippines really “voted out”?

    (Which makes me think about the Philippines equally “voting out” the bases)

    • Joe America says:

      That is an interesting article. It suggests that the US in 1934, when agriculture was king, wanted to block Philippine sugar. It seems to me to be a somewhat narrow reason, although for sure sugar-beet farmers could have shouted loudly. My article for Wednesday discusses foreign ownership of business, and is tangentially related to this.

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