I’m American. Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?


The U.S. and Philippines are about to strike up an agreement that stations Americans on Filipino soil in non-permanent facilities.

It took eight working meetings for negotiators of the two countries to iron out the details about what kinds of facilities would be involved, where they would be, who would have access, how long the term of  . . . . um, I won’t use the term “occupation” . . . how long the term of residence will be, and other details, like “no nukes allowed”. The document is almost in final form with all the particulars not yet known to the public (e.g., treatment of the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA]).

The language of the new basing agreement makes it a dancing document because it twirls around some tricky issues, like the Philippine Constitution and Filipino sensitivity about sovereignty. The sovereignty issue deals mainly with who holds the keys to the buildings. It may also have something to do with how Americans behave in the Philippines and where the misbehaving are jailed.

It seems to me that Filipinos are looking at this agreement with some considerable wariness and mistrust.

Given that setting, kindly allow me to share some insight as to what American soldiers might be thinking . . . which, in the end, is what the American public will be thinking. I’ll crystallize the discussion around the simple, somewhat artificial, perhaps rude, but very meaningful question posed in the headline:

“I’m American. Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?”

The answer to that question will largely determine how Americans react to sending sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, to fight and die in the Philippines to defend joint U.S. and Filipino interests.

The Four Parts of the Military America

The U.S., contrary to the voicing of many, is not a warmongering nation. It is a nation that has values it will defend to the death, like the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Happiness means making money, and that means being aggressive in business enterprises.

America is successful.

My own particular war was Viet Nam, so I will use that as an example here. We could also use Iraq I or Iraq II or Afghanistan.

But before that, we should first sort out who the Americans are that participate in war. So when Filipinos complain about America’s military undertakings, it would be well to know which part of America they are talking about.

  • We have the troops, who are mainly tools, innocents, young men and women well trained, well-equipped and well-led who serve because they wanted a career or are passionate about defending their nation. They don’t determine policy. They are only as good or bad as their fighting courage and skill, and I guess their behavior when on leave. Their fighting ability is the best in the world, mainly because of attitude (competitive to the point of sacrifice) and weaponry. Their shore-leave behavior is overladen with testosterone. The stuff of successful fighters.
  • We have the officers, lower ranking tactical leaders and generals who provide the inputs that guide civilian policy. The military leadership is also the best in the world. Best trained, best equipped, best disciplined command structure. The chief flaw is that they are human, they assess risks, sometimes in the heat of fire, they make decisions, they win. And they lose.
  • We have the civilian leaders in the U.S., the legislators, the Defense Department, the President. They are charged with protecting America and they argue vehemently with each other because there are different ways to protect America. But they are not imperialists, and they are not warmongers. They are also charged with protecting the Philippines because, way back in 1951, the two nations agreed that they had a mutual interest in the Philippines being an independent state. That fundamental reason has endured through push and pull, thick and thin, and has been amplified lately by threat from China.
  • We have the American public. It is their sons and daughters (fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters) who go off to die. They love America so much, to let their dear ones go fight, and die. Americans love their troops, and make a distinction between them and civilian leaders, who set policy. They love the principles of America, to be free and fair and rich with opportunity. But they are tired of having their loved ones die to defend people who seem unwilling to defend themselves.

The Philippines has its similar casting. Troops, military leaders, civilian leaders, and citizens. When I ask, “Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole”, I refer to the soldier who is actually there. But I presume his attitude to be sharply influenced by the citizens, his military leaders, and his civilian leaders.

Evaluating Recent Wars, and the Philippines


If you did a super-simple tally of American opinions toward recent wars, I think the tally would come down like this:

  • Viet Nam: Bad war. Bad underlying assessment about the spread of communism. Disloyal fighting partner.
  • Iraq I. Good war. Kuwait was invaded. Defend an ally. Loyal fighting partner.
  • Iraq II. Bad war. Bad underlying assessment about weapons of mass destruction. Disloyal fighting partner.
  • Afghanistan: Good war. Eroded Al Qaeda fighting ability. Got rid of terrorist Taliban leadership. Fighting partner unreliable and may not be able to hold to democracy.

So how will Americans feel about, say, a “China War” in defense of the Philippines?

  • China War. Good war. Philippines was attacked. Defend an ally. Possible disloyal fighting partner.

So that’s where I am at. How willing are Filipinos to fight to defend their country, a nation that is not very unified, that seems to have endless strife within, that seems to be a culture of criticism, rife with mistrust and envy and people cheating one another?

If I’m in the foxhole with a Filipino, can I trust him to fight and die defending BOTH OF US, me and him? Or will he hide low in the hole or cut and run? How dedicated, really, is he to the Philippines and the Philippine civilian bosses who put him in the foxhole?

Put bluntly, is this guy in the hole with me, at his core, a fighter or a cheater?

I (the American in the foxhole) have mixed views because I know Filipinos fought bravely in World War II, yet after the war civilians, opinion-leaders and legislators blamed America for bad deeds, and things have been running hot and cold since then. The number of empowered people who are willing to steal taxpayer money leaves me wondering exactly what “patriotism” means in the Philippines.

Case Study: America and Partners in Viet Nam

In Viet Nam, the U.S. had the following fighting partners who had troops on the ground:  Republic of Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. Most Americans did not engage with troops of Thailand, the Philippines or New Zealand because their troop contingents were small. But they knew their other fighting partners, and I’d guess that a comprehensive survey of American troops would produce the following results:

Would you want a soldier from this nation in your foxhole?

  • Republic of Korea: Yes, yes, yes. Please.
  • Australia: Yes, sure.
  • South Vietnam: No. NO. PLEASE GOD, NO!

The ROK troops were dedicated and brutal. They fought the enemy on their own terms, and it was not kind. Australians are Americans who talk funny . . . or the other way around. The South Vietnamese ran when attacked way too many times. Leaving the Americans in the foxhole to fight and bleed.

Would you want a soldier from this nation in your foxhole?

  • Philippines: ______________________

You tell me.

Singular Focus and Passion to Win

I’ll tell you my wariness. I see many Filipinos who pack history in their psyche. They can’t let go of it. It is similar to the tendency of someone to take one incident that goes wrong and overlay it on the person as his total character. So if Mr Aquino does not fire Puno, he is a bad president, not to be trusted. Private Smith was unkind to Nicole, so America is a bad nation and no American can be trusted.

To me, this is an unreasonable zero-tolerance policy, but it is common policy in the Philippines. Under this policy, someone has to be absolutely perfect, IN MY TERMS, or he is flawed, and flawed forever. Unless his name is Estrada or Enrile or Marcos  . . . strange, that such deference is so easily granted to the rich and powerful . . .

There are also a lot of crabs in the Philippines, people who want to pull down those who succeed. America is on the receiving end of a lot of this.

I don’t want a crab in my foxhole. I don’t want a zero-tolerance person in my foxhole. If he can’t trust me, I can’t trust him.

I want a person who has one singular passion, to win.

Should it come to pass that I decide I can’t trust a Filipino, I would tell my general, and my civilian leaders, and my dear ones in the United States, to stop sending Americans to die on Philippine soil. Because too many of them will.

If I can’t trust Filipino fighters, and it is in America’s interest to stop China’s expansion, I’d argue that America should keep the battle at sea and in the air and forget coordinating with Filipinos. They’d just get in the way.

Right now, today, it seems to me there is not enough passion in the Philippines in favor of the partnership to give me confidence. I get this mainly from blog or editorial comments in news publications. The obsession seems to be with history, the VFA, mistakes America has made around the world, and the past. I presume the judgments are passed to the troops. I also get it from knowing how many powerful Filipinos care so little about their own struggling fellow citizens. These are the cretins who would steal taxpayer money, much of it aimed to care for the poor.

So I have to be honest. I’m hesitant to try to sell war with China, on Philippine soil, to my dear ones in America. I would want my kid in a foxhole with a determined soldier who has a deep-rooted desire to fight for his nation, for himself, and for his unit.

This person would have no interest in the VFA, World War II, Private Smith, Iraq, or the Philippine American War. No way would he steal from his country-mates. He would care only about winning the battle. And to do that, he would die to keep his partner alive to fight on.


The Challenges of Coalition-Building: The Vietnam Experience, 1964-1969


147 Responses to “I’m American. Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?”
  1. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    – No Nuke? Well, we will not tell the Filipinos that our submarines have nukes so are our flat-tops. Filipinos cannot know. They do not have Eiger Counter.

    – The Filipinos wanted their sovereignty yet allowed Chinese to go to Manila to do their own forensics on Chinese Bus Massacre and told Benigno to China authenticate the report before Benigno made public of the contents of their findings if it is certified true and correct. That was the first ever investigation in the Philippines that is absent of speculations and controversy unlike this PDAF and ….. Oooops! I stand corrected … DAP is under wraps. Speculations and controversy is immediately zapped by self-censoring Philippine Press.

    – sending Ameican’s sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, to fight and die in South China Sea for warmongering Philippines

    – Philippine-Chinese war. Bad war. Bad underlying assessment about the spread of China. Disloyal unreliable fighting Filipinos irresponsibly religious and democratic.

    – The Americans will eventually fight a war to defend the Philippines. While 10,000 able-bodied Filipinos line up daily at passport office willing to abandon the Philippines. Willing to fight in the Internet War of Words.

    Would I want a Filipino in my foxhole? Will I be sold out to China for a cup of noodles? Would I be commanded by a Filipino? Would I follow a Filipino commander? Can I understand the Filipino commander? Can I understand the military nuance I am used to under U.S. Military command?

    What if China skidaddle away? Would we end up supporting Filipinos of their present Affidavit-crazed justice system? Would I be entrapped of raping a prostitute? Am I safe?

    • Joe America says:

      “Bad underlying assessment about the spread of China.” My head jerked upright at that. I need to rethink a thing or two. Thanks.

      Your questions positively burn . . .demanding that each of us look around . . . then answer . . . for ourselves . . .

  2. Would I want a Filipino in my foxhole? Perhaps. But he has to walk point…

    • Joe America says:

      Sure, that would mean he is skilled and courageous, and the rest of the unit would be better off than having someone at point who did not want to be there.

      • Exactly my point. American soldiers will always go where we are told to by our leaders who (hopefully) are willing to put us in harms way for a right cause. We will fight as hard as the next guy who’s homeland is being attacked by a named oppressor. But I ain’t picking up anyone’s rifle unused by a comrade running the other way. I know this sounds like a line from a movie, but I’ve seen too many nicely pressed uniforms when mine were pretty ragged. Bien Hoa, 1970.

  3. Used to be, the Filipino families were so religious that they “promise” a son to be a priest or a daughter to be a nun. In the Southern US, the Americans were and are still religious and patriotic that there is often an unbroken family tradition of joining the military “for God and for the country.”

    89% of US recruits come from middle and upper class families, only 11% from the lower class segment of the society. The charts here are telling of those who serve in the US military: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2784508/posts

    Would I want a Filipino in my foxhole? YES. I still believe in the goodness of Filipinos. I have faith that if China attacks the Philippines, they will fight to death to defend their country.

    • Joe America says:

      I wan’t aware of that income breakdown of recruits. I know I have a cousin who did eight tours in Iraq II. Middle class family. They are very proud of him. His sister is an officer in the Navy.

      I’m pleased with your answer to the question.

  4. ella says:

    For me, my answer would be YES I will share a foxhole with a Filipino soldier. But I would consider it a suicide if I share a foxhole with a Filipino Politician.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank’s ella. I would share a foxhole with SOME politicians, Roxas, for instance. Poe, young Angara, de Lima, Henares. Those I would not want in the hole are those with absolutely zero sense of patriotic passion, it being buried in connivances for self gain.

  5. stitch says:

    Reblogged this on bleary and commented:
    An interesting take on what is shaping up to be the return of America to Philippine soil. Read on, folks.

  6. stitch says:

    Hi Joe, I quite agree, and I’m Filipino. But while we seem to be trapped by history, and by its various iterations present in this country, you have to realize, the one thing common in any version of history, is that we fought for the Philippines. We revolted against Spain, and even fought the Americans for a time. If the country is at stake, against a foreign power, Filipinos will be there.

  7. JM says:

    I think it’s a bit too early for the US to come. For my countrymen to wake up, they need to be hit hard. The US should come after some of my countrymen have died defending the country (i.e If china suddenly attacked the soldiers in the grounded ship or a Fisherman drowned after being bombarded with a water cannon). After, the public is very angry and afraid of China. They would welcome/beg you to come. The answer to your question “Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?” would be a resounding YES. But right now I am not sure.

    Right now, the public can be still swayed to be pro-China and anti-US with the right propaganda even if they are leaning towards the US. My people are not very complicated. You just have to engrave who the enemy is in their minds. Maybe because most tele-nobelas just paint a person can only be Bad or Good (which is not usually the case in the real world). The aggression of the Chinese in the South China Sea is fueling this but it’s not yet ripe. Some say that my people are resilient. Typhoons hit us. People from other countries abuse our maids, etc. But I think it’s more of denial of truth. China has to do more damage for my people to realize and accept that they are an enemy that needs to be destroyed.

    Come to think of it (in a literal sense), if an american and a filipino is in a foxhole then the war have already started and Filipinos have died. Filipinos already know who the enemy is. I think they would be rattled at first but if the invasion happened, as long as it was somehow slowed down, the realization would set in and it would be like WW2 again. Filipinos and Americans fighting side by side.

    • Joe America says:

      I REALLY like the attitude in your first few lines. “Let us do what we can do, and if we need you, America, we’ll call.”

      I’d strike the begging part.

      Get the basing agreement in place, fine. But I think there is a LOT that the Philippines can do on her own, and I’ve written to that point a couple of times. It seems to me that Mr. Aquino is on the right path, but I rather think he ought to be loading up on a lot more small missile toting boats. I think there are only about eight in the pipeline right now. Also, I’d think about mining a few seabeds . . . and not for minerals.

  8. pussyfooter says:

    “I see many Filipinos who pack history in their psyche. They can’t let go of it. It is similar to the tendency of someone to take one incident that goes wrong and overlay it on the person as his total character. So if Mr Aquino does not fire Puno, he is a bad president, not to be trusted. Private Smith was unkind to Nicole, so America is a bad nation and no American can be trusted.
    “To me, this is an unreasonable zero-tolerance policy, but it is common policy in the Philippines. “Under this policy, someone has to be absolutely perfect, IN MY TERMS, or he is flawed, and flawed forever. Unless his name is Estrada or Enrile or Marcos . . . strange, that such deference is so easily granted to the rich and powerful . . .
    “There are also a lot of crabs in the Philippines, people who want to pull down those who succeed. America is on the receiving end of a lot of this.”

    Haha! Such apt statements. You’ll get brickbats (or rather, sirang kamatis?) if the wrong sort of commenters happen upon them.

    I completely agree with you. It is all very sad, but true.

    “No way would he steal from his country-mates. He would care only about winning the battle. And to do that, he would die to keep his partner alive to fight on.”

    Well, it would depend if he believed that a living partner were necessary for his own victory. (Which would depend on what his definition of “victory” would be.) If yes, you can bet he’d cut off at least one ball if necessary. (and physical balls are very important in this culture too!) If no… well, we’re like this in peacetime, God only knows what we’d do at a time of war.

    Then again, maybe I’m just being another overgeneralizing, history-packing Pinoy (no, sincerely 🙂 ). Doesn’t take much book-cracking to find out how Pinoys–the “elite” and the “non-elite” alike–tended to collaborate with the imperial/colonial powers and betray one another in the 400 or so years of recent history. Til the present. Usually, if not always, to (a) grab power and property for themselves, and/or (b) ensure the survival/betterment of their preferred people.

    But there are certainly exceptions. The 8 soldiers who almost literally held the fort on Ayungin Shoal in the rusty, deteriorating hulk of a WW2(?)-era ship seem to be distinctly foxhole-worthy. (There was a gorgeously presented NYT online article on it some months ago.)

    • Joe America says:

      If people are centered on self-esteem, they might take the article as offensive, although all I have really done is expressed my wariness, not made any accusations. There seems to me substantial reasons for wariness and some of them are serving in the Senate. Who, really, would want to go into battle with Senator Estrada taking your back?

      Generalizations are instructive. I generally use them a lot.

      I like the characterization “to ensure the survival/betterment of their preferred people.” That nails the divisiveness that seems so pronounced, different than in American where people line up as either Republican or Democrat. Here they line up according to clan or family or political party based on personality, not principle. It “generally” has absolutely nothing to do with being a nation.

  9. Joseph-Ivo says:

    Who would you like to share your foxhole with a soldier who is?
    (not all questions are political correct)
    1. A rice farmer, a tricycle driver, a politician or a banking executive?
    2. A musician, a painter or a writer?
    3. A Catholic, a Buddhist, a Voodoo lover, an Atheist or an Muslim fanatic?
    4. A person with brown, white or black skin?
    5. A tennis player, basketball player, swimmer or pool player?
    6. A marine, navy, air force or infantry private?
    7. A city or country dweller? From the grasslands, mountains or dessert?
    8. A meat lover, an haute cuisine lover, a vegetarian or vegan?
    9. A teenager, adult, senior?
    10. What size, what weight, what hair color?

    Just curious, there is so much more than just nationality and fighting. Soldiers in WWI spent years in their foxholes and trenches before being slaughtered. And there is more than the “average Filipino”, each is an individual, some fighting with Japanese, some with the Americans, some with both, some not at all.

    • Joe America says:

      Everyone is an individual, yes, but some societies are into nation and others are not. There is reinforcement of dedication to the community of all that can get quite intense. Japan in WWII and China now have a version of that, highly emotional. Scary to me. The US has a version, too, more dedication and discipline than emotion, although the sense of patriotism is certainly heartfelt. I suppose all nations engage in certain brainwashing or editing of textbooks to generate that fighting bond. China does it a lot, censoring this or that and operating its press as an agent of the government.

      So what is the Philippines? I see a lot of “Pacquiao patriotism”, but for sure there was a dedication to nationhood by the WWII rebel forces, whilst the city-folk conceded to Japan to try to save lives. A tactic that did not work, for Japan was both emotional and cruel. There is so much self-dealing here, much out of need, but a lot not. So many groups and clans and families. I’m looking for help to sort it out.

      I do think there is something other than individual.

      I don’t like bloodletting any more than the next civilized man. But one must draw lines sometimes. Fences around the home, and national boundaries, are lines that ought not be crossed by those looking to take something.

      • Joseph-Ivo says:

        All correct, but framing it as an all-out war of Philippines against China is wrong. We live in the 21st century, although a lot of forces try to pull us back to the 18th century with strong nation states, encroaching on your neighbor’s borders, military coalitions, romantic weapons and wars… A global world needs global solutions. Problems are interconnected, economics, borders, finance, culture, national versus supra-national powers…

        Having an increased presence of the American forces here, serves in the first place the Americans who see the need to keep the strengthening powers of the east in check. Europe weakened a lot and will lose more in the race to the bottom (socially and environmentally), the Middle East will destroy itself, Africa will remain irrelevant for quite a long time still.

        The Philippines is right in framing the problem on an international level. What needs international decisions, what can be decided bilateral? Dealing with the Americans on their terms,a military focus in dealing with the army , looking for synergies. Not only the short term kickbacks for individual politicians.

        There is a Chinese proverb that sounds as “Turn a large problem into small problems, turn small problems into something irrelevant”. That’s what they are doing with the South China Sea. The problem is already one boat on one shoal. This is what should be prevented. The problem is the shift in ownership off the whole China Sea, not parts of it. It is the principle of who decides on what. Address the large problems, don’t engage in the small ones. ASEAN, Japan and Korea, even India are more important than the US, politically, military and economically.

        • Joe America says:

          And I agree entirely with your assessment. The only thing I would do is add a “presumably” somewhere in the first paragraph because the play of other forces may actually encourage China to engage militarily to have justification to squelch internal dissent. It is not just a “resources” issue. So there is some chess game going on and it does not appear that China is acting rationally. It helps to play one’s own game strategy, too, not just react.

  10. sonny says:

    Is the Filipino foxhole-worthy? All depends on his combat-readiness! Once he realizes there is no place to hide, viz. he has no choice but to fight to save himself and to do this he must help keep everybody else alive who will help him stay alive. My opinion.

    • pussyfooter says:

      “the” Filipino is definitely strategic, i’d agree anytime. perhaps short-sighted, often arbitrary, sometimes tragically unimaginative, but definitely strategic. (not to say “opportunistic” now…)

    • Joe America says:

      Very true. It may be that distinction – logic – more than super-hero bravery that impels American soldiers to work hard at being good. Or else it’s the drill sergeants here. You don’t mess with them, or step out of line. I suspect that almost every soldier eventually comes to the same conclusion, this is serious business . . . and therefore I (JoeAm) ought not worry so much.

  11. edgar lores says:

    1. Actually, the first question should be: “I’m Filipino. Will I find an American in my foxhole?”

    2. And the second question should be: “What are the demarcations of the foxhole? Does it extend to the Spratleys and the Panatag Shoal?”

    3. Let us look at the first question.
    3.1. Apart from the wars that JoeAm mentions, there are three conflicts that bear looking at:
    3.1.1. Libya. Good war. Dictator deposed. Loyal partners in coalition of the willing and local rebels.
    3.1.2. Syria. No war. Dictator still reigns. Biological weapons used.
    3.1.3. Crimea. No war. Putin grabs territory. Ukraine under threat.
    3.2. With the Pacific Pivot, the US is re-asserting its power in Asia. Also, the US has been making the right noises in response to China’s bullying attempts. The US sent a plane to test China’s assertion of expanded air rights.
    3.3. On balance, I would say we are likely to find an American in our foxhole.

    4. As to the second question, the degree of US involvement will largely depend on China’s military strategy.
    4.1. I am not a strategist, but I imagine there are two extreme scenarios: one, annexation by attrition and two, annexation by decisiveness. The first involves the piecemeal swallowing of the disputed sea territories by the gradual building of military installations over them; and the second involves a sudden and complete attack by China on one of the claimants.
    4.2. For the moment, China seems to be pursuing the first strategy. The success of this strategy depends on the piecemeal response of the allied nations against China and on the decision of ITCLOS, the international tribunal.
    4.3. While the international tribunal takes its time, the Philippines pursuit of a three-pronged strategy – legal, diplomatic and military – will hold China at bay.
    4.4. It is the second strategy that may literally necessitate a foxhole.

    5. If China adopts the second strategy, the answer to JoeAm’s question is indubitable.
    5.1. Filipinos have participated in US efforts in the wars enumerated by JoeAm, admittedly not in combatant roles but in support roles.
    5.2. Filipinos, as evidenced by Pacquiao, the Cudia incident and even the plundering senators, have the fluttering lightness of butterflies, the swiftness and cunningness of foxes, the courage and stupidity of bulls and the hearts of lions.

    6. Incidentally, I didn’t know that the Kipling poem, “The White Man’s Burden” was written with the US and Philippines in mind.

    • edgar lores says:

      3.1. Must note that Libya and Syria are civil wars.

    • Joe America says:

      1, 2, 3. Yes, that is a proper question for Filipinos. The question asked, however, will answer how two of America’s four military sectors feel about fighting in the Philippines: relatives at home, and soldiers. It is relatives at home who influence Congress and keep the U.S. troops feet off the ground in places like Libya, Syria and the Ukraine. And it is they who have great influence in answering the oft asked Filipino question, “will America be there for us?” I think your answer 3.3 is correct. The Philippines holds a prominent place in American interests, and is a very different, more close-to-home and close-to-heart, place than Iraq. I think this may be a sea/air based confrontation, if such arises, and a revised question, from the American perspective, might be, “okay, if a pilot goes down, will Filipinos nearby risk their lives to save him?” So from the American viewpoint, the question is, “will Filipinos be there for us?”

      4. I think China will hold, move in, put up peopled platforms and in 10 or 15 years when their presence is accepted and no longer a hot button, start drilling and mining. I have no idea what the Philippines will do. I know what I would do, but I’m more a warmonger than some, when it comes to protecting what is rightfully mine.

      6. Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      Send forth the best ye breed–
      Go bind your sons to exile
      To serve your captives’ need;
      To wait in heavy harness,
      On fluttered folk and wild–
      Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
      Half-devil and half-child.

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      In patience to abide,
      To veil the threat of terror
      And check the show of pride;
      By open speech and simple,
      An hundred times made plain
      To seek another’s profit,
      And work another’s gain.

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      The savage wars of peace–
      Fill full the mouth of Famine
      And bid the sickness cease;
      And when your goal is nearest
      The end for others sought,
      Watch sloth and heathen Folly
      Bring all your hopes to nought.

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      No tawdry rule of kings,
      But toil of serf and sweeper–
      The tale of common things.
      The ports ye shall not enter,
      The roads ye shall not tread,
      Go mark them with your living,
      And mark them with your dead.

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      And reap his old reward:
      The blame of those ye better,
      The hate of those ye guard–
      The cry of hosts ye humour
      (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
      “Why brought he us from bondage,
      Our loved Egyptian night?”

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      Ye dare not stoop to less–
      Nor call too loud on Freedom
      To cloke your weariness;
      By all ye cry or whisper,
      By all ye leave or do,
      The silent, sullen peoples
      Shall weigh your gods and you.

      Take up the White Man’s burden–
      Have done with childish days–
      The lightly proferred laurel,
      The easy, ungrudged praise.
      Comes now, to search your manhood
      Through all the thankless years
      Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
      The judgment of your peers!

      • edgar lores says:

        6. “Half-devil and half-child”. Evil and innocence.
        6.1. Perfect description of the plundering and plagiarizing senators, the meddling priests, the easily-bribed policemen, the bribe-asking bureaucrats, the vote-selling voters, the over-birthing squatters.
        6.2. Jesus’ word from the cross is so applicable: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
        6.3. Takes a poet’s eye and intuition to capture so precisely a descriptive insight into the Filipino psyche, right on Eastertide.

        • Joe America says:

          Sloth and evil folly,
          Sounds like Congress, by golly

          That Kipling guy could really write. Several stanzas just punched me in the gut, head and heart at the same time. Thanks for bringing it in.

  12. Adrian says:

    1. “I’m American. Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?”
    Let me quote General Lawton (highest ranking official during Fil-American War):

    “The Filipinos are a very fine set of soldiers.”
    “And taking into account the disadvantages they have to fight against in arms, equipment, and military discipline, without artillery, short of ammunition, powder inferior, shells reloaded until they are defective, inferior in every particular of equipment and supplies, they are the bravest men I have ever seen.”

    With that, I would say American soldiers would be lucky to share a foxhole with a Filipino soldier. Soldier not POLITICIAN. 🙂

    2. I’m Filipino. Do I want an American in my foxhole?

    Yes, if its not the same Americans who:
    a. Burned our village and killed our children.
    b. Stole our victory against the Spanish.
    c. Left us fighting their war against the Japs. On the first place, if Gen. “I shall return” prepared enough, there’s no need to leave.
    d. Flattened Manila and rebuilt Japan.

    Items a,b,c, and d, of course, are just exaggerations (oversimplifications). 🙂 But my point is, Filipinos have enough reasons to be doubtful of America’s intentions.

    3. Filipinos does not have a problem dying for a cause. We have problems living for it.

    • Joe America says:

      1. Nice quote. The kind of statement that would give Americans confidence.

      2. If Filipinos have doubts based on old wounds, they should cancel the Mutual Defense Treaty and take up alliances with those they trust. Australia perhaps. And Americans need to set aside the misdeeds of Filipino politicians or other reservations from the past, and focus on today, now. Those kinds of issues simply cannot be brought into the foxhole. They are a deadly poison.

      3. Ahhh my. Rather strikes home, as I see the buses careening down mountains and murders and five to a motorcycle, no headgear, and poor sanitary conditions. Life is cheap.

    • edgar lores says:

      3. 🙂

    • parengtony says:

      I would add a
      e. Reneged on the commitment to provide backpay and other post WWII benefits to the Filipino soldiers.

      But, by and large, the biggest challenge/obstacle PNoy must overcome here is “opportunism” by Filipino carpet baggers and trapos.

      • Joe America says:

        We should discuss sometime the deft of hand, or dirty tricks, done by a democratic nation, where principles change from one administration to the next. One administration wants the Philippines held by the U.S., the next wants to set her free. One promises veterans benefits to Filipino soldiers, the next transfers the onus back to the Philippines with $200 million attached, a deal rejected by the Philippines. Or, shift the context. GMA promises the Chinese joint rights to drill in the Spratleys and Aquino absolutely reverses course. China accuses the Philippines of not fulfilling her promise.

        There is great danger in holding the current administration responsible for anything but what the current administration does. Otherwise, we end up dealing like China, always going back to history to grab the facts that suit our argumentative purpose. That’s my point in this blog. These historical references are damaging to today’s purpose.

        • parengtony says:

          A covenant or a contract is an agreement which creates an obligation, regardless of whether a new management has taken over. Otherwise no party will ever sign an serious agreement with USA or China or the RP. My relatives who fought the Japs in WWII and survived as well as the families of those who did not will forever be hard put to reconcile dirty tricks with injustice (perpetrated through the collaboration of some of our leaders).

          But the current reality offers limited options and we should, therefore, avoid such historical references from being damaging to today’s purpose. Welcome to the Philippines, Mr. President (Obama).

          • Joe America says:

            I agree with the statement of the second paragraph but only partially with the first. I agree that a contract should be upheld while it is in force. But we have to agree on what a contract is and confirm that the parties that agreed to it were empowered to do so. Furthermore, most contracts contain termination provisions, and our democratic histories (both nations) are filled with cases of a new law ending all or parts of a prior law.

            Adrian’s a, b, c, and d are bad acts, or interpretive renditions of historical moments taken out of complete context. They are not contracts, although they may be acts under contracts. Each needs to be discussed in its proper context, a point in time, generally having absolutely nothing to do with today. An American might have a completely different take on each example, and to be objective, we have to hear both sides of the argument, and then draw off our lessons. We ought not use one side of the issue to cast stones because it allows us to win an argument. That is not helping anything. The veteran’s payments are a case of contracts overlaying contracts, and a good example of the flightiness of democratic lawmaking.

            And I trust you do not hold that the Philippines is obligated to let China drill for oil within the Philippine EEZ because Gloria Arroyo made certain promises. I would note that a verbal agreement is a contract, in U.S. law. (I sat on a jury dealing with one; the contract was upheld.) I don’t know if it is here.

            • Joe America says:

              I would add that sometimes fulfilling a contract does not produce kind results. General MacArthur’s “I shall return” was an expression of his commitment to come back and win the war and free the Philippines from Japanese occupancy. He believed it was a contract and argued vehemently against the “Navy Plan” which was to bypass the Philippines and go directly to attack Japan. Had MacArthur not been so ego-centered regarding his “contract”, perhaps Manila could have been saved from destruction.

              Or maybe the slaughter would have been worse.

              History is good for lessons and is best left with universities, I think. When it gets into the hands of people wanting to win arguments, it gets twisted every which way but right.

    • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

      I am Australian and I am sorry for my words, yes you can say bad things back to me if you want, but NO I would not want a filipino OR a soldier of the USA ( America is NOT a country) in a foxhole. NO Australian soldier would. As to Joe..heck in Viet MORE US officers were shot in the back by their own men who so desperately wanted to run away..hence they shot them, than were shot by the V C or NVA. As to the Filip soldiers..I am sorry, I have had enough experience with them not to want them.

    • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

      Let’s look at a few of your points…Jose Rizal to start with: He lived a precious life in luxury and did NOT care about the ordinary people ONE hoot. Let’s go to ww2 now, it was The Philippines the Japanese invaded and it was the Americans who tried to defend The Philippines…not the other way around you idiot. Did you know there were twice as many Philippino troops surrender at Bataan as US troops? Did you know that the combined force of the US and Pilippine force OUTNUMBERED the Japanese by 2 and a half to one? Did you know that the US and Philippine forces were logistically better off then the Japanese, had more guns as well…did YOU know this? And you say it was NOT the Philippines war. Did you know what the Japanese did toManila, do you know how many Philippine men, women and children the Japanese brutally murdred? Do YOU know anything or are just a raving idiot????

  13. Ricardo del Cabo Sur says:

    My answer is this: With a Filipino grunt, yes. With a Filipino General, now yes, before no. With a “trapo” (a dirt rag referring to a traditional politician), I say let’s go home to America, Joe.

    Here’s the deal. If it is not to their advantage, many Filipino political elites will readily abandon love for country as long as it preserves some measure of their local power and prestige (i.e. collaborationist of World War II). Even the first President of the Philippines, when he was still the revolutionary leader was suspected of giving in to the Kastila after signing a treaty. A patriotic Filipino political leader is more of an exception than the rule despite mythical proclamations.

    Let’s fast forward to current times. It is my humble theory that the Philippines wouldn’t be in the current mess with China, if the previous leaders of the country were not so cynical and corrupt. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) and her cohorts should not just be charged with plunder; they should be executed for treason!

    Do you know what the NBN-ZTE deal was about? Unfortunately the focus of public attention was on the NBN-ZTE drama of greedy agents, and not on the more treasonous dealings of the national leadership underlying the scandal. I share my analysis based on discussions with a political analyst whose views are very well respected in the diplomatic circles. Based on my discussions with said analyst, this is my take:

    NBN-ZTE was not just an Internet infrastructure deal gone sour between petty agents; it may have been a surreptitious way for the Chinese to compensate Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (with and through the outrageous commissions of Abalos, GMA’s trusted henchman) for agreeing, in principle, to the joint “exploration” of oil and natural gas resources in the Spratly’s.
    The joint “exploration”, however, was not just to explore the existence of fossil fuel resources. China already knew that they existed; it wanted a joint exploration where to dril! It was, therefore a development deal not just exploratory.

    However, the joint agreement (sans Vietnan) fell through because it was prematurely exposed to the public before GMA and her lot had a chance to work the public and her loyal trapos. Soon, there were public assertions in the media that such a joint agreement required Congressional ratification. And so, much to the chagrin of the Chinese, the cookie crumbled.

    Guess who exposed the deal? By way of a question, it was revealed by American diplomats at a public forum with other foreign diplomats which was covered by local journalists.
    Why? The US had to put it out there without having to look interventionist. Simply put, such a deal was not in the US or the Philippine strategic interest.

    1) The deal would have undermined the US strategic position in the South China Sea which has since World War II been the western edge of an American lake (the Pacific).

    2) It would have undermined the mutual defense treaty with the Philippines because its raison d’être would be meaningless (imagine having to be legally and politically obliged to defend your key ally in the region when it is strategically in bed with your most likely adversary).

    3) Lastly, the NBN-ZTE deal (which was intrinsically linked to the joint development agreement) would have made the national government’s Internet communications infrastructure vulnerable to espionage and interception because its technology provider was owned by the Chinese government!

    So, in answer to your question, no I will not go into the fox hole with Filipinos like GMA. They’ll sell you out to the devil first and then give your ashes to the Chinese.

    China’s first gambit of “negotiating” with corruptible Filipino leaders failed; now they are upping their game with more muscle and less cunning. Thank God for small favors like Benigno Simeon Aquino who has stood up to them. And speaking as a Filipino American, yes, I want him in my foxhole.

    • Joe America says:

      Fascinating background, Ricardo. So the Chinese, in accusing Mr. Aquino of going back on prior agreements, are still in effect holding to the treasonous and corrupt deal-making of GMA as a legitimate negotiation. Figures. Any slander to advance the argument. I agree with your conclusion, and tend to make a similar sorting of who I’d want with me when I go through the Senate names. I rather suspect the treasonous class is fairly broad, governors, a general or two, some agency people (Customs). If they had the chance, they’d sell the country out to become kings in the new order. I also suspect that below a certain “power” line, Filipinos are dedicated to country in a way the empowered crooks are not. More the way Americans are. Power corrupts in a nation whose processes are loose and filled with ways to deny accountability for anything.

      I very much appreciate the perspective.

    • Joseph-Ivo says:

      As said before, the enemy comes from within. In fighting the Spanish, in fighting the Americans, in fighting the Japanese and now in fighting the Chinese. Different groups aligning and betting for different favors using actors or lawyers to run the show. The untold history of the Philippines.

      Talking about the “Filipino” is naïve, there will always be 2 sides, not by ideology but just by opportunism. The President will need more energy to stop fellow countrymen than to stop the Chinese.

      • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

        And then there is archived documents telling the REAL truth as opposed to “The untold story” Which is a lot of bullshit to be blunt.

    • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

      Ricarda you just do NOT understand how rotten your country really IS! The Chinese DO NOT want it, it has few natural resources, the country is a shambles right out of the middle ages, it’s too hot ALL the time and to fix it would cost TOOOOO much time and money. All the Chinese have to do is go around it. They wont invade because the Philippines cannot do a dam thing about anything . And the Chinese do NOT want the effort to try and control a joint that is a complete MESS!

  14. David Murphy says:

    I’m really surprised that no one has alluded to the fact that the Filipino soldier was betrayed by his own high-ranking officers, who stole or wasted huge amounts of money intended for salaries, benefits and supplies, including providing substandard weapons and ammunition, the most basic needs of the foot soldier, for their own profit. Corruption among civilians is contemptible. There is no word in my vocabulary that amply describes my opinion of military officers who enrich themselves at the expense of the safety of the men who put their lives on the line in the service of their country. My wish for them is that they be supplied with the defective weapons they provided and put in the front rank, ahead of soldiers who have been instructed to shoot them at the first sign of cowardice during a jungle assault on terrorists, NPA or any other fanatic/criminal element. Actually that would be poetic justice. My real wishes for them are not compatible with civilized human behavior.

    I have no way of documenting that the American military personnel who have served as advisers and observers of the fighting in Mindanao have nothing but the highest opinion of the Filipino fighting man, both enlisted men and junior officers, that is, of the people who do the job. That is the impression that I have evolved based on various isolated reports and quotes, in particular regarding their opinion of the Filipinos’ stamina and their expertise in jungle fighting. I think the answer of American soldiers who have served with the Filipino soldiers to the question about sharing a foxhole would be an emphatic, obscenity-laden “YES!”

    I think that some comments have overestimated the likelihood of military action by China. For one thing, they can not presently prevail militarily over the US. They have already stated that they will employ other methods of warfare, including economic, propaganda, diplomatic, technological, espionage, industrial and a host of others. What form might this take? Theoretically, they could buy up the futures of the petroleum industry and “corner the market”, driving up the prices to levels that would cripple the economies of the West. It’s possible that they have already done this once, when the oil “shortage” drove prices well above $100/barrel. It has been established that much of this “shortage” was due to speculation in the futures market but the entities behind this speculation were never identified. This may have been a practice run by the Chinese for destabilizing the Western economy. And have no doubt that the Chinese are very familiar with the weaknesses of the US political system and will exploit these in any way possible. In this sense the Chinese are like a chess player who is planning 20 moves in advance while the US has still to realize that the game is underway.

    China’s policy in the South China Sea will probably continue as it has in the past. Stonewalling against legitimate international institutions such as UNCLOS/ITLOS, who have no ;punitive or enforcement power. Threats, brinksmanship, initimidation, actual physical intervention,including building structures on disputed islands. In short, China will continue to attempt to expand its territorial claims by all means possible until confronted, at which point it will begin negotiations, which will not progress, while it continues to advance its position by any means possible. Only if it directed confronted by a superior military force will it back down and then only after interminable attempts to delay definitive action. You can be sure that they will make every effort to keep each of the claimants to the disputed territories separate and to prevent them from presenting a united front against China.. Expect cheating, failure to observe agreements, deception, dissembling, obfuscation, sabotage, any dirty trick that will give them an edge.. With China the only way to win is not to play. The Philippines has done well to involve international organizations but it remains to be seen if the decisions of these groups will have any influence on China’s actions.

    There is one hope for a positive outcome for the Philippines and the other claimants. China may eventually collapse from the weight of its own internal problems. Let’s hope or pray, if you believe in the power of prayer, that it will be soon.

    • Joe America says:

      Paragraph two, the most powerful evidence so far in the discussion.

      Paragraph three is scary, and I do believe that is what is happening now. Look at the propaganda campaign (using airline relatives) to paint Malaysia as incompetent, a subtle part of the divide and weaken campaign, and also a way China can enrage her own population toward the “darker natives” of the outlying regions. It also explains why it makes no sense, what China is doing. It only need make sense to her gameplayers, who have a very different agenda than the peace and harmony track we are on. I would add that my question was not really directed to soldiers, but to Filipino opinion leaders and legislators. Do I, the American, want YOU (Senator Santiago, et al), with your divisive attitude, sowing anger and mistrust, on my leaders’ team?

      Paragraph Five. “Dear NSA readers. Please pass paragraph five over to the CIA so destabilization activities can begin mighty fine quick.”

    • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

      THIS IS THE TRUTH…IN MINDANAO>>>>>>AFP troops are led in by AMERICAN Green Berets and the Green Berets have to almost pull the trigger for the Philippine troops in a combat situation. To find the rebels in the first place there is a force of ABOUT 12 Australian SASR soldiers who go in without packs or food for up to two weeks to seek out the insurgents, once they find them they lay low and bring in the Green Berets who bring in the Philippine forces. The Philippine forces do NOT have the training, ability or capacity. THAT IS THE TRUTH!

  15. I would gladly issue Juan Rico a powered armour and have him serve in my unit.

    • Joe America says:

      Wiki: In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, Rico is the son of a wealthy Filipino family who joins the Terran Mobile Infantry almost on impulse and over his parents’ objections. He is sent to Camp Arthur Currie on the Canadian prairie for basic training and graduates as one of 187 remaining recruits, from an original class of over 2000 enlistees. He is assigned as a private in “Willie’s Wildcats” (Company K, Third Regiment, First Mobile Infantry Division), aboard the transport Valley Forge. His first exposure to battle comes during the disastrous “Operation Bughouse”, where 80% of the Wildcats are killed, most of them during the collision of the Valley Forge with another ship during the combat drop. He is subsequently transferred to “Rasczak’s Roughnecks” (2d Platoon, Company G, Third Regiment, First Mobile Infantry Division) aboard the corvette transport Rodger Young, where he is promoted to corporal and survives several successful battles. He later enters Officer Candidate School (OCS) at the encouragement of his friend Ace, eventually being commissioned as a second lieutenant after successfully commanding a platoon as a temporary third lieutenant in “Operation Royalty”. At the end of the novel Rico is commanding his own platoon (“Rico’s Roughnecks”) back on the Rodger Young, with his father, Emilio Rico, as his platoon sergeant.

      Very good, “stray”.

  16. Have you read it? It’s rad as fucking all hell, yo! Best piece of military sci fi.

    Unfortunately, the Verhoeven film that shares its name was utter crap.

    • Joe America says:

      I have not read it. “Stranger in a Strange Land” is the only Heinlein I’ve read.

      “Democracy is a poor system of government at best; the only thing that can honestly be said in its favor is that it is eight times as good as any other method the human race has ever tried.” Heinlein, “Stranger in a Strange Land”

  17. Micha says:

    You may start filling up your foxhole now Joe because there is no war forthcoming between US and China over the Philippine claim on the Spratly’s mainly for two reasons :

    First, The US will not dare confront a nuclear armed country except when directly attacked on its own soil. When Putin snatched Crimea from the Ukraine, what did the US do? Diplomatic and economic sanctions. No hot war with the Russians for you there Joe. No boots on the ground sharing foxholes with Ukrainians. In the event that the Chinese will be arrogant and aggressive enough to annex the disputed territory, the US will most probably make a wimpy protest and that’s just about it. No boots hitting the ground digging foxholes. Besides, there’s hardly any ground on those shoals.

    Second, the alliance between American plutocrats and Chinese plutocrats had never been wonderful and mutually beneficial, why would they want to destroy it? In a globalized world, war between technologically advanced nation-states are no longer paramount nor necessary except for Orwellian posturing and propaganda for its own citizens. Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia and all that bunkolery.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, the foxhole is just a metaphor, and I was speaking to legislators and opinion makers more than to Philippine soldiers, mainly those who haul out old reasons not to trust Americans yet have no idea how to get China off Philippine seas. How will Filipinos feel when drilling derricks go up? Wave, concede, and say “peace, brother”? Time will tell what the U.S. will do, or have to do, because I don’t see China backing off one inch. I’d like to think that the U.S. will not be as passive as you suggest. But we are in the arena of speculation, so I will certainly allow you yours.

      • gbjao says:

        I would like to point out, that with Ukraine, there was no “military/alliance treaty” signed between USA and Ukraine, thus, the US took it’s best option: diplomatic and economic route, not military. Not to mention, there’s the NATO to handle such incidents in Europe.

        So, if, (though only time can tell) China decided to use military “aggression”, I’m not saying 100%, but there’s a big probability of Americans coming our way.

        I am a Filipino (a proud one, since I even cried when the Philippines qualified for the FIBA World Cup during the Semifinal of 2013 FIBA-ASIA) of Chinese descent (Father’s side), but for your question: as an American, would i like a Filipino in my foxhole? Depends. Like what other have already posted here, if:
        a. soldiers like those 8 marines stranded in Ayungin Shoal, with dwindling supplies – Hell YES!!!
        b. military leaders giving out substandard rifles/ammunitions – Not a single chance
        c. Trapos – I’ll stab them in the back before they stab me
        d. ordinary Filipino that uses their voice to uncover corruption and the likes – yes (patriotism is there).

        And like the previous statement: once us (sad to say, yet the truth hurts) Filipinos have been hit hard by Chinese, militarily, would be the best time for a Filipino to be side by side with an American in a foxhole (just like WWII).

      • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

        China is not a technologically advanced country at all, lots of them and the ablity to manufacture VERY cheap. The problem, well the main problem with China is that they CONSIDER themselves as very advanced when this is just not so, so they think they have power that they do not. This is dangerous.

  18. Micha says:

    You might also want to reflect on this Carl Sagan quote :

    The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

    • edgar lores says:


      I’m a little confused. Are you arguing there will be no war (first post) – or there will be war (second post)?

      • Micha says:

        Don’t be. The second post is anti-war snippet from Pale Blue Dot.

        Or the futility of staging wars amongst ourselves, obscure inhabitants all of a vast cosmic arena.

        • edgar lores says:

          Thanks. I will just note that anti-war sentiments are only necessary when there is a prevalence for war or of war.

          • Micha says:

            I’m arguing that war is both irrelevant and unnecessary in the global march of human evolution.

          • Joe America says:

            I was just thinking, an occasional thing, that as animals, we fit naturally into a chain of the survival of the fittest. Thus, we eat other animals and scrap like dogs for our position in the hierarchy of nations. Now I know we are supposed to have a “one up” on the less thinking animals by being able to conceptualize what is best for us, and strike for the high road of harmony and grace. But occasionally a beast comes along, tromping into the Crimea or setting up camp on some rocks that belong to others, and one is sorely tested to conceptualize them back to where they belong.

            Sanctions are a form of conceptualization that say, if you continue, you only hurt yourself. Rather like we would discipline a child. But if sanctions do not work, one is forced to roll over and submit to the animalistic upstart, or behave on his terms and beat him into submission. Russia and China seem to be very slow learners.

            I think it is our obligation to remain the toughest nation on the block, either alone or with our friends. Rolling over is not a suitable option, or we all eventually end up like North Koreans, wearing funny hair.

            • Micha says:

              Putin has just upped the ante and now claims the whole part of eastern Ukraine in addition to Crimea in what he calls Novorossiya (New Russia) and is not shy of hinting at the use of force if necessary to do it.

              l’m not seeing that the US will be sending troops and “beat him into submission”. Diplomatic and economic sanctions are the only tools the other adults in the room could use because that recalcitrant child happens to be armed with deadly mushroom explosives.

              • Joe America says:

                It seems to me that Putin has been studying the Chinese. Little steps. Decide what you want, then justify them and accuse anyone who objects of destabilizing the situation.

                I think the U.S mindset is at stage 1, how can we do this without losing any American lives? The nukes may be in the background, but the thinking is really still at stage one. The first sanctions were soft and did not hurt the American economy. Tougher sanctions will. I’m sure that many Americans will be thinking, well, if the PEOPLE of the Ukraine won’t defend themselves because they can’t organize an effective government or because there are too many Russians in these areas, just let it go to Russia and lets get on with making money.

                That attitude might be instructive to the Philippines.

            • Micha says:

              Filing a case in the international arbitration court is the best and most that the Philippines could do. Let the rest of the civilized world know of the Chinese intransigence and isolate them for their defiance of international law. No need to be going to full blown war over a lagoon. The argument that it might be resource rich in fossil fuel deposits and thus worth sacrificing a few thousands of lives falls flat in light of the most recent IPCC report which warned of severe consequences for world governments’ failure to address anthropogenic climate change. Going to war over an area which may very soon be submerged several feet because of rising sea levels is telling on where our priorities rest.

              On the other hand, China’s aggressiveness may be due to the fact that it sees America in its weak state right now. And I agree. America has abandoned a lot of moral high ground. The founding ideals has been compromised as it is now entering into a New Gilded Age. Democracy has been replaced with plutocracy as the US supreme court recently put the Citizens United ruling on steroids. Millions are still unemployed, the middle class has been systematically eviscerated, poverty is widespread, the Koch brothers are on a warpath, and a United States Banana Republic is in the offing. Can it reverse course? Sure it can. Depends on how this coming midterm elections will turn out. If big money wins, its game over for American democracy – which used to be the real source of its strength.

              • Joe America says:

                I like the characterization of the American “New Guilded Age”, and you are right, the U.S. has lost her way. I have been following the standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and militias representing free-range ranchers. Armed confrontation. My, my. And NY Mayor Bloomberg is committing $50 million to oppose NRA candidates. That ought to raise the gunslingers’ ire even more. Coups in the wind, I suppose. Banana republic, indeed.

                On China, perhaps you are right. We should not get overly excited about China’s sitting on the Philippine ocean and let the U.S. deal with open seas and skies. I personally have a hard time with the Chinese chopping up Filipino corals and loading it on boats, not to mention fish and turtles and anything else edible or decorative or good for potions. If she started setting up drilling platforms, I would not sit passively by.

              • Micha says:

                On the frontline of a New Gilded Age : The Kochtopus Empire

                Click to access Embargo_Report.pdf

              • Joe America says:

                Powerful case, somewhat repetitive. I’d like to read the rebuttal.

                I wonder what Ayn Rand would have to say about it.

              • Joe America says:

                Developments today on the pipeline: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-administration-delays-keystone-xl-pipeline-review/

                Opponents need to do a masterful job of popularizing their arguments, because legislators are certainly lined up behind the pipeline.

              • Micha says:

                Development of renewable clean energy source creates more jobs, is environment friendly, and will be the trend of the future. The addiction to dirty carbon based fuel only serves the bottomline of Koch Industries, adds to greenhouse gas emission, and worsens the impact of AGW.

                Poor countries like Bangladesh which are minimal contributor to weather altering pollutants borne more of the collateral damage such as rising sea levels. The Philippines is expected to see more of Yolanda strength typhoons on a regular basis. Drought in California agricultural valley will cause disruptions in food production.

                One would hope that these non-fictional John Galts would actually go on strike and confine their destructive activity within their walled community. But no, they chose the profit-above-all-else, and I-don’t-care-about-the-rest-of-you-nor-the-environment business model.

                Destructive, greedy parasites that’s killing their host.

              • Joe America says:

                @Micha, well the only part I would contest is the “I don’t care” attitude, which I believe may characterize a lot of business moguls and a lot of Republicans, but not the entire U.S. President Obama, in particular, is sensitive to the need for clean energy and the laws enacted in the United States to reduce carbon emissions were recently cited has having a positive impact on the re-establishment of Greenland’s ice fields. He is catching a lot of heat politically for delaying the pipeline, as the article link I provided explains.

                Two other points to bear in mind:

                1. It is technology that is likely to be the saving grace, and the moguls are responsible for that, too. They are not all greedy, dirty, inconsiderate beings.

                2. China is a hyper-polluting beast on a scale that the U.S. has never reached. Thirty percent of her farmlands are poisoned with chemicals, the worst of the lot being cadmium. There are numerous “cancer towns” adjacent to unrestrained chemical industries. Beijing is a smog pit, the numbers of people with cars is ramping up quickly, and government is paralyzed by its need to project some kind of hyper-nationalistic perfectionism to hold things together, rather than address problems forthrightly. No one knows about her pipelines, I am quite certain.

              • Micha says:

                Sorry for the confusion. I was actually,specifically referring to the Koch brothers, not to the rest of American industrialist or politicians.

              • Joe America says:

                Well, it’s a good point, and broader than just the Koch brothers, the undermining influence of big money. It was given a heady boost by the Supreme Court a few years ago when the court allowed corporations unlimited donations to political groups not directly associated with a candidate. But generally in support of a candidate. Furthermore, the Clinton papers being revealed now recite the existence of a well-moneyed, right wing effort to undermine the Clinton presidency after Clinton won the White House.

                Some kind of patriotism . . . The guilded age is pretty corroded and corrosive, it seems to me . . .

            • Hildergarde says:

              AWWW GEE whizz Joe..give ME 46 % of the total money spent on the total worlds military budgets and I might have YOU saying I am the toughest…but MONEY does not make toughness, unfortunately the USA is NOT the “toughest.” I invite and would welcome dialogue with you that could be posted here . What say you Joe?

              • Joe America says:

                I’m not interested. Your idea of dialogue is to tell me the correct way, not to listen or try to comprehend different views. That takes sensitivity and stepping into other people’s shoes, rather than hard declarations of truth. I deal with enough of that hereabouts and don’t need the frustration. There is no upside to engaging with someone who is quick with insult or hard of mind because the method shuts off my listening, too, and then we have two people who are not listening. It makes for a real shitty dialogue.

              • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

                It would make for GREAT dialogue Joe, it would indicate that you have a fair streak in you. As you say Joe, try to comprehend different views, as to insults, isn’t that the BASIS of your blog in this diatribe? And yet, Joe , your willingness to engage in what YOU say once again, with a person who will give “hard declarations of truth”….are you NOT willing to want to discuss the truth???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
                I AM.

              • I can appreciate sledge hammer discussion for a short while. It’s a style. But I prefer discussions that are a bit softer, and that recognize we all get to where we are along different paths.

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t think the Chinese read Sagan.

  19. J says:

    Dear Joe,

    I’m afraid I would have to take exceptions to your insinuations. I’m taken aback, frankly, because I’ve always known you to be circumspect.

    Your point seem to be that, based on your assessment of anti-Americans in the commentariat and the crooks in government, it’s a little iffy for Americans to determine whether the Filipino soldier will fight to the death, as comrade-in-arms, with the American soldier. Please correct me, and I apologize, if I’m wrong; but you seem to question the courage and dedication of Filipino soldiers. I apologize for being frank, but I find this somehow offensive; I thought you would have known better.

    You seemed to have made your assessment of the Filipino soldier (i.e. You’re not sure how loyal a comrade he is) based on what you see in the attitude of other Filipinos. You did an excellent characterization of who the American soldier is and you differentiated him with other Americans, yet you seemed unable to differentiate the Filipino soldier from the anti-American ideologues and crooks in government and media.

    I disagree that there should be any doubt about the dedication of the Philippine soldier and his loyalty to his allies. Like the American soldier, the Filipino soldier is also driven by his dedication to defend his country and is molded by a tradition of brotherhood common to many military bands in the world. He has proven this on every battle he has fought in, from the 1896 Revolution to the Korean War.

    As to his loyalty to American allies, I’m sure you’re aware of how highly the ordinary Filipino thinks of America and the ideals she represents. We students of international relations call that soft power. Despite the nationalism of the intelligentsia, America’s soft power is strong in the Philippine grassroots.

    A comparison with the South Vietnamese is plain fallacious. America had limited soft power in Vietnam. Heck, the government of South Vietnam had limited soft power there.

    You being a long-time student of the Philippines, I didn’t expect you’d make a hasty comparison between Vietnamese and Philippine troops. I expected that you’d look at how Philippine troops throughout history have fought courageously and side-by-side with their American friends even when they didn’t even have to: In the European theater of the First World War, Bataan and Corregidor, and in Korea.

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely, I did not intend to question the courage of the Filipino soldier. The article is meant to bounce off the many questions and challenges to America’s apparent return to the Philippines, the war-exhaustion in the United States, and what I perceive to be the “anti-patriotism” of a shockingly large number of empowered elite in the Philippines who would take taxpayer money and put it in their own pockets, including generals. As I explained in the article and comments, the foxhole question is a metaphor, and it risks being taken as rude. I also said it is clear that Filipinos fought with great bravery and dedication in WW II.

      The war exhaustion causes these kinds of questions to arise. I would be remiss not to put them on the table, delicate though this might be. Filipinos who ask “will America fight” need to reflect on why she might not. If they grasp that, they might be more intense at directing their anger at their own corrupt, who skew impressions in the United States that maybe this is not the place to go die for.

      For myself, I am but an empty slate, only meant to ask a question that needs to be asked and answered, and am pleased with the way that readers answered, the most striking comment to me being that American advisers in troubled Mindanao speak in the highest terms of Filipino soldiers.

      The hasty comparison between Vietnamese and Philippine troops is, I believe, a comparison that would be made in the U.S. The Philippines should not be in denial as to why it arises.

      • Joe America says:

        I would add that public opinion in the U.S. carries a heavy weight on government policy, exercised by open speech and voting on issues. Public opinion is formed on broad generalizations. Filipinos tend not to think of things from the American viewpoint, but that viewpoint exists. There is a lot the Philippines can do to manage public opinion in America, or it can expect the impossible, that Americans will automatically see things the Filipino way. Holding an ex-president for five years without trial, coddling apparent plundering senators without even a query on ethics, perhaps dozens of congressional thieves, shooting of journalists with impunity . . . these form a very poor impression to those operating on impressions. And who are war weary.

        • edgar lores says:

          There should be a blog on the incarceration of Gloria.

          1. Why is she being held so long without trial?
          2. Where is the bottleneck? Is it the Executive or the Judiciary? Is it her lawyers?
          3. Why is she allowed to stay in a hospital? I thought other accommodations were prepared.
          4. What is her health status? Is she truly ill? And of what?
          5. Why do the powerful visit her? The bishops?
          6. Is she a plotter? Is she wasting her ill-gained wealth to ill ends?
          7. What are her prospects if Binay wins?

          • Joe America says:

            Yes. It’s probably better done by someone like Raissa who may have resources other than what is publicly available. I doubt that the reasons are published.

      • Joe America says:

        J, let me add a final point as to the different nature of this blog from other blogs. I view the article as a starting point, not a statement of any certainty. It is a vehicle to start discussion. It is the discussion that provides the other part of the blog, most often the greater part. I think if you read the discussion, you will see a variety of views expressed that add up to an endorsement of the fighting attitude of Filipino troops, along with a sense of wariness about the leadership of those troops.

        If I were able to scream a simple message, it would be to people like Senator Santiago who have to be very careful in their public pronouncements, lest Americans determine the Philippine Nation is not really into partnership. Bayan Muna they can dismiss as being extremist and largely irrelevant. But a mainstream senator who is not on the partnership bandwagon is quite a different story. Americans have had it with fighting for people who are not into partnership. Who aren’t willing to jump into the foxhole with Americans who will put their lives on the line for the idea that the Philippines is worth protecting.

        • Micha says:

          “Americans have had it with fighting for people who are not into partnership. Who aren’t willing to jump into the foxhole with Americans who will put their lives on the line for the idea that the Philippines is worth protecting.”

          Considered from the point of view of American geo-political strategists, it may not necessarily be all about partnership and protecting the Philippines as it is about containing the strategic regional economic influence and military power of the Chinese.

          • Joe America says:

            True, and America’s leaders would probably be wise to explain it to Americans in those terms. And I suppose the question for the Philippines then becomes, do we wish to be a partner to America as she pursues those aims, or is it better to let Americans do the work (and dying) so we don’t disrupt our commercial ties to China? Or, maybe, if the nation follows Senator Santiago’s lead, the Philippines becomes willing to hinder America’s effort by refusing her the bases she’d like to have to block China. The Philippines cannot escape decisions or the outcomes from those decisions.

            • Micha says:

              The US, it seems, will have more to worry than blocking the Chinese off Scarborough Shoals :


              • Joe America says:

                Well, that’s a topic for a different blog, I think. American educational institutions welcome qualified foreign students and the Chinese have an excellent study and work ethic, so they both go back home and remain in the U.S. working for universities and companies to advance knowledge. The U.S. response is to recognize that American schools need to keep pace, and that is one of the Obama initiatives. That is, to “look within” rather than complain about the excellence of others. Another goal is to better train people for the jobs that are out there. I don’t think you’ll find America trying to limit Chinese students because they are doing an “end run” around American students to gather knowledge and apply it. Now, stealing secrets, that is a different matter. For myself, I think the better educated the Chinese are, the more likely common sense and mutual benefit will come into play in state policies. Almost like the Philippines needs a broad, educated middle class to temper the excesses of the well-to-do. America has a lot of Asian citizens, especially in California. They are widely respected for their studious ways and good work ethic, graduate high within mixed universities, and are a part of the normal social framework of what is a very diverse, non-white, America.

        • R.Hiro says:

          Ah, America’s colonial burden continues to this day. It will still be a long time before a national gene will emerge in this country. There still is no genetic basis for nationhood in this country.

          The Philippines is making a strategic mistake in allowing American military forces and logistics to once again be based here all on the wrong U.S. policy of containment.

          The Chinese already have been duped by the U.S. control of the world’s financial system and have all those trillions in dollars earning nothing for the Chinese while literally and figuratively funding U.S. militarily requirements through their budget deficits.

          Chinese are trapped and internationalizing their currency would mean the central government would lose control over the economy and politics within China.

          • Joe America says:

            Am I reading you right, that you believe China is already contained by the U.S. dominated monetary system? You are not so concerned about China taking resources from Philippine seas? Or believe the Philippines can deal with that alone? I’m afraid I need a few more pieces of your fabric to see the whole cloth.

            • R.Hiro says:

              Last article I read about China’s foreign reserves are almost $4 trillion. Writer from Bloomberg calls that the gilded cage China finds itself in. The U.S. would love to see them dump those reserves as it would destroy the Chinese economy and provide a huge boost to the American economy. China needs time to restructure their economy from being a State led investment model to more private consumption. The reserves are providing the necessary buffer together with the strict capital account controls while China under takes this massive reform.

              What reserves will China be taking from the Philippines by force? Article below from U.S. Energy Information Agency

              http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=10651 Yes, the Philippines can deal with China alone.

              The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and China all have a physical presence in the contested area.

              Do you honestly believe that China will attempt to dislodge the countries listed above by force?

              China will simply ignore the ITLOS decision and eventually the Philippines will have to talk to China one on one.

              • Joe America says:

                Thank you for the point of view and the information, which bolstered the case I will be making in next Friday’s blog entitled: “Proposed Bilateral Agreement between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea”. Indeed, the military of both sides can back down and the Philippines can tell America “thanks, but we don’t need no stinkin’ warships in this peaceful and harmonious neck of the seas”.

              • Joe America says:

                I moved the “Bilateral Agreement” blog forward to Wednesday so that President Aquino has time to study it before President Obama stops by for a little nobbing of the hob.

          • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

            HIRO? is that a Chinese name? Seems more Japanese but who cares. The general ethos of what you say is totally flawed. Indeed in China at university level, no matter WHAT you study, if you are NOT competent in reading, writing and actually speaking English at the end of your course you will not be granted a pass. The Chinese have a more filial family attachment that has been undermined by their Governments political agenda. This agenda has been opposed for a long time, and still is, by general Chinese academia. Fast forward to google not being allowed and other social media outlets not being allowed and the Chinese public ( which is FULL of some of the finest human beings on earth as far as ethical standards are) are being manipulated and falsely sold a bogus ideal and told …wel ..simply LIES..and they believe them because they have nothing to compare them to. It is more a complex issue of who do I believe, my family or some foreigner saying they are wrong. To put it another way, I had a Chinese girlfriend who managed her families business interests in MY country, her family had NEVER been here , only this girl. BUT when she rang her mother up one night to tell them she loved ME ..a white western guy..WOW..the DEMANDED she stop and go immediately back to China and marry a Chinese guy. She DID stop..and she DID go back to China..but she only stayed a short while and cam back here….but we never got together again and as she put it…” I like coffee..but I also like tea….if my mother asked me to drink tea and to not have coffee, I would do it for her, because it would make her happy.”

        • Micha says:

          The US history of partnering and protecting the Israelis in its land dispute with Palestinians has gone on ugly for so long and is not exactly the model we would want to adopt in the Spratly’s – an immature mankind, polarized and in perpetual war with itself over a minutiae piece of land on the surface of a “mote of dust”.

          • Joe America says:

            Israel is the Jewish homeland. Jews play a prominent role in American society, in the arts, entertainment, finance, medicine, governance. America was instrumental in establishing Israel as a solution to the horrific treatment doled out to Jews in World War II. Israel has been a state under attack since inception, and America has indeed been a loyal partner, rather a big brother to a somewhat strong-willed and independent little brother. Immature? Sure, if you wish to add Palestinians to that bucket as well, relentlessly firing rockets into civilian areas and then wondering why Israel is hard-headed about settlements. The immaturity on both sides is that neither is willing (or more accurately, politically incapable) to put forth the effort required to gain the trust of the other side. The two-state solution is likely dying as we look on.

            The Philippines is also a little brother, to America, I think. Maybe adopted, or half-brother, somewhat more distant. Filipinos are engaged in a different strata of American society, the working class. They are not in daily engagement with the White House except in the preparation of state dinners. They don’t run banks or own medical practices or produce “Star Wars”. The Philippines is not under daily attack from rockets or terrorist bombings. The Immaturity in the Philippines deserves a capital “I”.

            I don’t think the cases are at all the same, and any partnership would have reasons for being that are unique, terms that are unique, and dynamics of engagement that are unique.

            There is indeed a similarity that the little brothers are both hardheaded and don’t often listen to the big brother for reasons of an over-enlarged sense of sovereignty. So they bear the pains of their decisions.

            So while I disagree with your characterization, you have given me an excellent idea for a blog that I will draft now and pop out prior to leaving on vacation. Thanks for that.

            • Micha says:

              “The immaturity on both sides is that neither is willing (or more accurately, politically incapable) to put forth the effort required to gain the trust of the other side. The two-state solution is likely dying as we look on.”

              That’s exactly the highlight of my point. That the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has dragged on for so long, has seen a lot of violence and suffering without coming anywhere near a definitive solution even if mighty America has taken sides in the drama. And that conflict has spilled over other parts of the world in the form of increased religious fanaticism and strife which eventually led to the doorstep of America on 9/11.

              So no, thank you for your offer of partnership and protection Joe but I’m afraid the US will be bringing more harm than good if it gets involved militarily in this drama. Let us all be aware that the Philippines is, in the event of military escalation, well within range of Chinese nuclear warheads not unlike the Palestinians who, on occasion, only lob stones in a slingshots at Israeli soldiers. Allow us to seek peaceful solution and give the UN or the international arbitration court the chance to decide on the merits of the case filed by Philippine gov’t. No need for chest-thumping and talk of foxhole sharing in a drum up for martial solution to this childish expedition by the Chinese.

              • Joe America says:

                You will see that I have taken your suggestion to heart, in Friday’s Wednesday’s blog. Thanks for the point of view and inspiration.

              • Joe America says:

                I know you are firm in your belief that an American partnership would be destabilizing, not stabilizing, but I offer the following view fresh out of Poland in today’s Inquirer:

                On Thursday, [U.S. Defense Secretary] Hagel met at the Pentagon with his Polish counterpart, Tomasz Siemoniak, and told reporters that they had identified new areas of military-to-military cooperation, including special operations forces, air forces and additional military exercises and training, as part of their discussion of closer defense ties.

                In an interview with The Washington Post, Siemoniak said the decision to deploy U.S. ground forces to Poland had been made on a political level and that details were being worked out, the newspaper reported.

                “The idea until recently was that there were no more threats in Europe and no need for a U.S. presence in Europe any more,” Siemoniak said, speaking through an interpreter during a visit Friday to the newspaper. “Events show that what is needed is a re-pivot, and that Europe was safe and secure because America was in Europe.”

                One is inclined to wonder, if the US still had ships in Subic, would the Chinese have been so brash at camping out in Philippine seas.

                Article link: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/595749/us-weighing-military-exercises-in-eastern-europe#ixzz2zPCswbhn

              • Micha says:

                The reason for Polish deployment is this :


                Obama is adopting a reboot of cold war strategy. Containment and defense but no aggressive military pushback for the land grab in Crimea which is so unlike the reaction of the US when Sadam invaded Kuwait in 1990. And that’s because Putin has the launch code for nuclear missiles while Sadam was only brandishing AK-47 from his palace balcony.

                The US is just hoping now that with the economic sanctions in place, Russian citizens will feel the pinch and will try to oust Putin and somebody like Gorbachev will come along.

                I see a parallel reaction if China will go ahead and make a lagoon grab in the Spratly’s.

                Will the presence of US troops deter them from taking Palawan as well? Maybe. Maybe not. But then again why worry about that when the Chinese already owns the Philippines anyway. There’s Lucio Tan, Gokongwei, Henry Sy, Danding Co Huangco, the Lopezes et.al., in control of big business and a host of other single syllable names owning hardware stores, auto supply dealerships, pancit noodles factories, grocery retails, and the Binondo rice cartel.

                If China manages to overtake the US as economic superpower, maybe it’s good for the Philippines to fully embrace them now than continue to cater to the United States which is sliding economically because of Republican morons in congress imposing gratuitous austerity measures that’s killing the recovery from the 2008 Great Recession.

              • Joe America says:

                Ahahahaha, yes, those Republicans, who declare themselves to be the “real” Americans, and the rest of us are parasites. I am sure there are nukes in the calculations, but I think an even greater immediate priority is to fight wars without any American deaths, a keen trick if you can accomplish it. So we have drones and economic sanctions and a smaller army. It seemed to me that Putin caved a bit after the flight of capital crushed economic performance, but maybe it is just a part of his wily ways. Clearly, President Obama has lost all confidence in Putin. I suspect he believes he was flat-out lied to.

                I also agree conceptually with you that it would make more sense for the Philippines to get close to China and forget about the U.S., except China is such an autocrat and I suspect at some time in the not so far future, a social/political/economic basket case. A giant egg shell. The U.S. is solid as a rock, value wise and economically. I don’t think she is sliding economically, just recovering from a mighty blow very slowly. Americans lost a lot of real wealth in the 2008 Bush economic collapse. China will get bigger than the U.S. economically as a function of being a huge market of billions of mouths, each as greedy as the next human clawing his way up the consumption status pole.

              • Micha says:

                I’m not quite certain the US is as stable as it appears. Disenchantment and economic insecurities are being felt by a lot of folks. Most of the gains from the partial recovery went to mega corporations and Wall Street wolves.

                And then there’s this :


              • Joe America says:

                Being among the disenchanted, for political not economic reasons, I certainly will not argue that point. But we see unemployment down, jobs up, stocks near an all time high, a broad commercial base from tech start-ups to old car-making industries doing well. A regulatory environment that corrects for poor commercial behaviors (new bank capital requirements). It is still a healthy, vibrant, commercially deep, adaptable place. So I guess we will just have to watch and see. And we will have to see what transpires when the oligarchs put into office a Republican president and congress.

              • Micha says:

                No need to wait and see Joe. Oligarchic/plutocratic America has already arrived.

                Patrimonial capitalism is already here too. Gordon Gekko may have been a self-made hustler (greed is good), but Gordon Gekko’s son and daughter now owns the place.

              • Janice says:

                Bejezuz, those who ran Palestine have links to terrorist organizations

                Rest assured that Israel withdraws from Palestine, the other Arab countries will fight each other on who will control “Palestine”

    • Hildergarde says:

      Hi J. Well said. I just don’t agree with you. Drive through any city..oops..”city” in the Philippines and a traffic control gorilla who would not be able to control a sewer will put you over if you are a westener so they can get a bribe. The police don’t care, the army is a separate identity that is barely controlled and only does stuff to get money by corruption, the cats and dogs there are skinny because the fat ones get eaten and Correidor and Battaan was a shambles and a disgraceful place in the history of the Philippines if the truth were to be painted accurately. Would you care to discuss this? I am available to supply you with a LOT of reference material. So would you?

      • Joe America says:

        Very interesting, hard views you have. I’ll let J represent his ideas if he chooses to. He is one of the brightest young Filipinos around.

        For myself, I’ve lived in the Philippines for 10 years, driven through a lot of cities and check points, and have never been fleeced by a traffic control gorilla. In stores and banks and the LTO, I generally get better treatment than Filipinos do. I agree the police and army are organizations with a different set of values than western armies have. As for dogs, I hate them, the mangy, flea-bitten strays that are death to motorcyclists. But I didn’t come here to find Los Angeles, and there is a bit of poetry in these cultural eccenticities if one tilts one’s head just right. But I don’t expect you to grasp that.

        I know little about Bataan other than the murderous ways of the Japanese. I did study the Zambales rebels under the Magsaysay brothers, who hid in the hills and fought with machetes because they had no guns. They were instructed by MacArthur to lay low until he said to emerge upon the Americans landing. When the rebels heard of the intended landing date, they completely laid waste to the Japanese installations in Zambales, allowing the Americans to land untouched. I think any war has lots of stories, and people get along best if they try to respect the other’s efforts.

        • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

          Joe what don’t you expect me to grasp? Possibly you are unwilling to LISTEN properly and only have you own narrow pointed views and are unwilling to have dialogue that conflicts with your views. To say any one of whom you have absolutely NO knowledge is incapable of grasping a point of view has to be called not just narrow minded but completely insulting. And so you say I insult by you are no better? Indeed Joe, I find too many people like you floating around this flea bitten planet. Earnest to have their say and to consider themselves a font of all things wonderful. Joe I am not sure if you are past it, but I suspect so. Your manners are abysmal and your thought processes only support your own thoughts. You method of discourse is from a view of obsequiousness tinted with the desire to protect the plebs. This MAY be your blog Joe, but don’t get senile!

    • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

      I don’t think Joe made a HASTY consideration at all. Unfortunately it is NOT the courage of the Philippino soldier that is in question, what is IN QUESTION seems more their willingness to fight, this is NOT a courage thing at all, it is about BELIEF in the cause you are fighting for, it is about having good logistical support , high morale, self respect and MANY things, but NOT about courage. I do not think the Philippino soldier actually has may qualities with the root issues and they are DREADFULLY arrogant. I mean I doubt NOT other country in the world has so many rambo security personnel roaming around with shotguns and pistols that is so highly visible in ordinary places. As to Bataan and Corregidor….maybe I am missing something, but aren’t they places IN THE PHILIPPINES? So when the Japanese INVADED THE PHILIPPINES are you saying is was NOT a Philippine fight? The Amercians fought and died fighting the Japanese that invaded the Philippins….not the USA. And later on the cam back and kicked the Japanese out and gave you back your country and rebuilt it with THEIR money…..are you stupid? I think you just might be. I actually like Jo’s sentiments. He seems like a good man who wants food results and is willing…………………well not with me…..but to listen to MOST people. You on the other hand are just full of misinformation…………………WELL DONE!

  20. edgar lores says:

    There seems to be an on-going controversy on which is better: living with America or living with China. Here are ten important criteria for your consideration:

    1. Food. Given the choice between Kentucky Fried Chicken and Peking Duck with Hoisin Sauce, I would go for the latter. But I would prefer to eat with spoon, fork and knife rather than chopsticks, thank you.

    2. Movies. Hmm, the main choices seem to be between kung fu mayhem and Western, Mafia or sci-fi mayhem. I’ll take the latter for variety. As Forest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man… but I know what love is.

    3. Sex. I’m known to favor variety so between the basic “missionary position” and the mysteries of the “Sky-Soaring Butterfly” or the “Reversed Flying Widgeon” not to mention “The Paired Dance of the Female Blue Phoenixes”, I’ll take poetry anytime. No contest.

    4. Torture. Americans are so simple. As in sex, they have only one technique, the water-boarding treatment. The Chinese “kinds of torture are not few” as one author would have it, and establishing proof “beyond reasonable doubt” relied on “extorting a confession of guilt from the accused.” And if the accused refused to “make a truthful statement” torture would be applied as many times as required. I confess my preference for the American method.

    5. Music. Music can be bliss or torture. What would you rather be tortured by? The screeching music of Chinese Opera or the screeching of American metal rock bands? Call it a tie.

    6. Technology. This is a mix-up. Modern technology of the gadget kind is American conceived but “Made in China”. Do we give credit to the brain or the hands? I’ll go with the brain.

    7. Sustainability. What’s the difference between L.A. smog and Beijing smog? Well, not much; L.A. smog is Beijing smog. According to a new study “emissions from Chinese factories add up to an extra day of unhealthy air quality per year in the Hollywood Hills.” Another tie.

    8. Literature. Chinese literature precedes American literature by hundreds of years. We are talking about 770 BCE era versus 1600 CE. Although, America has 11 Nobels in Literature versus 3 for China, I would hand this category to China simply for longevity. After all the Nobel laureate Pearl Buck wrote about China, and as she said the Chinese “novelist did not have the task of creating art but of speaking to the people.”

    9. Blank category. So far the score is tied at 3-3 with two ties. Think of any category that would favour China, and then go to the next item, the decider.

    10. Government. Which kind of government would you prefer to live under? A government (a) that limits freedom and heavily censors virtual searching or (b) one that allows freedom, limitless virtual searching but monitors your phone conversation and reads your emails? The choice is a bit irrelevant. The actual question should be: Which country would you rather be a colony of – China or America? Do you see Filipinos moving to Beijing or to L.A.? How do you think you will be treated as a laowai (foreigner)? There goes your answer.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, that is very good. I can tell your coffee was spectacular this morning. The difference for me is that, in America, I am allowed to disagree with what you say and everything is fine. In China, I cannot be so honest.

      1. In Los Angeles I can get food from any region of the world. I’ve never been to Beijing, but I’d guess I can’t get Mexican guacamole.

      2. I’ll take CSPAN over the movies (the American channel that televises House and Senate proceedings). In China, I’d be relegated to looking for Mexican guacamole.

      3. Ahahahaha, China wins.

      4. Americans torture the enemy; China tortures the disagreeable.

      5. I dig blues, which I can’t so readily find in China I’d guess.

      6. Stolen or original creativity. I go with original creativity.

      7. You don’t have to wear a mask in Los Angeles and you can no longer chew the air. I think that study is nutso. References references!

      8. Okay, you pick China because it has been around longer. I pick America because I really like Huck Finn.

      9. My score is 7 to 1. Government is a gimmie. 8 to 1.

        • Joe America says:

          Ah, okay, I misread your comment. I thought China’s smog was only 1/360th of Hollywood’s. Duh! Thanks. The article confirms what I thought was true. China is a polluted mess. I read the other day that a full 30 percent of her growing fields are polluted, with cadmium being the most deadly mineral left behind by poorly regulated industrial plants. There are several “cancer towns” where the incidence of cancer is way above normal levels. And, of course, no class action law suits.

          Which reminds me, you did not put justice system on the list. Add another one-up to America.

      • Not Needed says:

        There are many better places on this planet than China…one is the USA….on the other hand..there are many better places than the USA…yet you are both willing to only consider these two almost mirror like despotic shitholes….ohhh…sorry..USA has twice as many people in prison as China and Russia combined…mainly due to the 3 strikes rule and no support for people locked up for a trivial offence in the first place, China has less people in prison because it shoots a lot of them. USA repealed Habeas Corpus under bush senior ( maybe one of the BEST acts in human history) While China NEVER HAD Habeas Corpus..USA the ONLY couintry to have spied on ALL it’sown people.China wasnt bothered, it just denied them basic freedoms on pain of death any way. Not a recommendation for other countries to emulate……..

    • Micha says:

      Natives of a vassal state don’t have much of a choice but to take it in and chew/suck on it.

  21. Micha says:

    (Plutocracy uses the same method everywhere. Excerpted below is a cross-post from another blog.)

    China is pure plutocracy, like any Western nation. The Chinese parliament is the richest legislative body in the world; far richer than the US Congress
    Because these plutocrats call themselves “communist” (a sick joke), they are internationally known as the “red aristocracy.”

    Ninety-five percent of Chinese billionaires are related to senior government or “Communist Party” officials. And China’s one-party system allows no opposition candidates for Chinese voters to choose from.

    All billionaires worldwide seek to widen the gap between themselves and everyone below. China is no exception. Ten years ago China had no billionaires at all. But then, Chinese politicians and sweat-shop owners discovered the miracle of privatization, deregulation, austerity, and switching from industrial capitalism to finance capitalism. Now the number of billionaires in China (measured in US dollars) reached 251 in 2012, and 315 in 2013, and is expected to reach 500 by the end of 2014. And that is just the billionaires who report their earnings. The top five people saw their wealth double in 2013 alone.

    Many analysts predict that by the end of 2015, China will have more billionaires than the USA has, since the wealth gap in China is widening even faster than in the USA.

    While Chinese billionaires keep getting richer, 1.36 billion regular Chinese people keep falling further into poverty and despair. Universities and most public schools have been privatized, forcing students to take on massive student loan debt they can never pay off. (Sound familiar?) Everywhere there is privatization, deregulation, inequality, and growing unemployment, all of it is designed to widen the gap between the rich and the rest, and to make the financial economy supreme over the real economy.

    China’s money is called the “people’s currency” (renminbi), yet China is no more “communist” than Europe is “socialist,” or the USA is “democratic.” Such words are meaningless labels whose purpose is to keep the masses confused and submissive.

    The IMF claims that China’s per capita income is 17 times higher now than it was in 1980. The IMF conjures this number by combining the total fortune of all those Chinese billionaires, and dividing those trillions by the number of people in China. Voila: instant “prosperity” for all, even though 99% of Chinese people are in poverty. Likewise, American workers get poorer every day, but because the rich keep getting richer, the U.S. “per capita” income has quadrupled over the last 40 years. The higher per-capita GDP supposedly proves that austerity and neo-liberalism help rich and poor alike!

    In November 2013 there was a “third plenum” of the Chinese “Communist” party’s 18th Central Committee. [A plenum is a gathering of all party members. A “quorum” is a gathering of a minimum number of party members needed to conduct the group’s business.] The plenum was a four-day gathering of more than 370 of China’s billionaires and top politicians who celebrated “reforms” that are radically widening China’s wealth gap.

    President Xi Jinping and Party Leader Li Keqiang told an auditorium full of cheering billionaires that deregulation and privatization will continue to expand as never before. Premier Li Keqiang said “the markets” would continue to play a “decisive role” in allocating resources.
    Translation: financial capitalism will continue to eclipse industrial capitalism.

    The two men said they would create a Homeland Security Committee (to keep the increasingly starving masses in line). Indeed the biggest growth industry in China is private security, as the ultra-wealthy hire guards to protect themselves and their vast wealth. In other words, the government will assume more responsibility for protecting the rich and their fortunes, so the rich don’t have to pay for private security. (In China as in everywhere else, the pejorative term “big government” refers to any aspect of government that helps average people. Meanwhile any aspect that helps only rich people is not called “big government,” no matter how huge it grows. It is called “efficiency.”)

    President Xi Jinping and Party Premier Li Keqiang said they would form a “leadership group” answerable to no one but themselves. The group’s mission will be to ram through a whole new level of neo-liberal “reforms” to “unleash market forces.”

    Any time politicians mention the word “reform,” they mean restructure social entities in order to make the rich richer. For example, the rich in China want to “reform” (i.e. destroy) land laws. Traditionally, Chinese laws concerning land ownership do not allow farmers intent on migrating to cities – or already settled there – to sell their land back home, in order to fund their new lives in urban areas. These laws were established in the communist era to protect rural folk from being swindled out of everything when they sought work in the cities. At the Third Plenum (November 2013), Premier Li Keqiang vowed to “reform” these laws (eliminate them) so that the billionaires can swindle the rural folk out of their land. Li Keqiang said, “Farmers should participate equally and enjoy the fruits of modernization.” (That is, farmers deserve to enjoy being cheated out of everything.)

    In the cities, rich speculators fuel a housing bubble that makes the cost of urban living extremely high. (25% of all Chinese billionaires made their fortunes by speculating in China’s land bubble and housing bubble. One of them, a girl, is now the world’s youngest billionaire at age 24.) As money flows to the top, rich owners of housing in the cities increasingly demand that their tenants pay their rent in land deeds, since the tenants have no money. That s, the tenants must give up whatever bits of land they own in the rural areas where they came from. This is called “modernization.” It is called “equal land rights,” and “unleashing the market.” It’s why the rich want the land laws repealed, and why Premier Li Keqiang will do it for them.

    China’s economy is ultra-capitalist, yet the Chinese oligarchs call it a “socialist market economy.” They call their plutocracy “democracy.” They call the shift to pure ideology “making economics scientific.” In short, they use the same lies that oligarchs use all over the world.

    Caps on usury interest rates are being “reformed” (eliminated) in order to make China into an “ownership society.” (Sound familiar?) This is why China is part of the WTO, the global organization dedicated to widening the gap between the rich and the rest.

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely wonderful brief on the real workings of “communist” China. Her manipulations to acquire resources of other lands fall right into this enrichment pattern where about the entire world outside the wealthy circle is played for fools. Thank you for this. I was about to start digging and now I don’t have to.

      • Micha says:

        If you have an hour, the video below is instructive of how the fruits and labor of Chinese plutocracy work. Don’t look for sweatshops and mining disasters. The video is more subtle than that. It is more low-key. And more awful…

  22. Janice says:

    Philippines: ______________________

    Tough call. It depends. If it’s a common Filipino, other than your wallet, I don’t think there’s much of a problem as long as you have chips ahoy and oreo.

    If it happens to be a politicians or an NPA, get out of the foxhole and run for your life

    If you’re from the South or West and love country music and cowboy attire, you might want a specific Filipino in your foxhole — an Igorot. LOL

  23. Hildergarde says:

    There are always different sides to a coin and here is one. Australian troops have never really enjoyed fighting alongside US troops. That goes back to ww2, Vietnam , Iraq and Afghanistan. Not asking any of you to believe me at all , but that is the way it is, they consider them as unstable as what this post is trying to say a bout Filipino soldiers. It’s kinda funny, but everything is from personal point of view and that differs. A USA ( note I don’t use the term “American” – because it is a BIG continent made up of MANY countries – only the US seems to think it applies to only them? Why?) Any way the truth is that an Australian soldier would honestly prefer NOT to have a USAIAN solider with them. That is generalising, but it’s pretty true.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s interesting but not surprising. It is consistent with the general coldness that I met in Australia when I visited in 2004. I attributed it to GW Bush and his international adventurism that cast a shadow of dislike over all Americans. Plus, I think many of us have that Bush cockiness about us, or excessive confidence in ourselves to the exclusion of what others think. That is the representation you have made, so we see similar things. Then I think most people would prefer to be with their own kind than a foreigner, because there is an unease being around people we don’t wholly understand, and therefore don’t wholly trust. As for the circumstances when and where the US is perceived to be wrong, we’d have to examine the incident and circumstance. Often America is thrust into the lead because no one else has the power or will to be there (as we see in the Ukraine where Europe ought to be in the lead, but they defer to the US so not to get hurt back by Russia in the battle of sanctions). Let the US bear that, she is big and strong.

      For myself, I like Australia’s growing engagement in global affairs. Being stronger and outspoken against Chinese adventurism, for example. It is good to have other rational players in the rather unstable international scene.

      • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

        Sorry Joe, it has nothing to do with your rants, your war was Vietnam and so was mine. We just didn’t want to fight alongside US troops because they were poorly trained and poorly led, at least in OUR eyes. Indeed you should read a little about the US 32nd division, referred to by US writers as the Ghost Division, who , so it is said, went over the Owen Stanley range in ww2 by an ALTERNATE route to the Kokoda track. Only prob Joe is that NO alternate route ever existed. It was made up for home ( USA ) consumption for justification. No Joe, the US soldiers would not fight according to Australian soldiers and that is as simple as it gets. Thanks Joe. I am not trying to be insulting but merely trying to allow you to engage in a dialogue that provides more knowledge of what you are trying to say. Thank you.

        • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

          Joe I am sorry for having another go at this, but you may or may not be aware of a couple of interesting things. I had to say this because of your thoughts that the good ole USA is the provider of all beneficial considerations on behalf of truth and justice in the world. In WW2 in ITALY 6 out of TEN troops and supply equipment were BRITISH. Indeed in ALL theartres of war ( including the Pacific) up until the very last 6 months of the war , the British had more men, more ships, more planes in the sky IN ACTUAL COMBAT against ALL belligerents . As you seem to wish to portray yourself as aware of what happened I suppose you would find it easy to access references for this information. If you would like some help,PLEASE do not hesitate to ask me.

      • Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

        Jo NO Australian would have shown YOU coldness, they would have put their arm around you and said, “G’day mate, let me buy you a beer” That is unless you are an utter prig..even then they would have been friendly……AKS Oprah WInfrey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Hildergarde Hammhocker says:

    You just seem a little bit bitter Jo. Indeed if that were NOT so you would still be living in the USA. This is NOT about seeming to attack you at all. It is about trying to cross borders and let us all see how stupid as individual nations and peoples who blindly following a nation rather than that of being a human and wishing to make this stupid planet a better place for humans. There really is NO place for extolling the virtues of a country, if as citizens of a obscure planet spinning stupidly around a minor star in a minor galaxy in probably one of billions of galaxies it serves NOT purpose to blindingly believe that one country or the other is all that is good and the rest are no no’s . It IS and does fall on all of us to enhance our understanding of others and to be HUMAN for them and therefore get the BEST out of ourselves. Nationalism is NOT it. You are way TOOO nationlistic Jo. I could quote YOU many many figures that paint the world as it really is, only you would not like them,yet they would be true. Let us try to be nice to our fellow travellers in this nonsense that is life.

  25. Rvyne says:

    As Filipino, I believe Pinoy will fight their own fight as proven in History we will fight even we know its hopeless against all odds. I also believe our country is still considered strategic location which has natural wall between US/China when conflict arise the very first victim for sure will be our country no matter who instigate it. If you check the map without it China can penetrate as far as US including US strategic partners like Japan and Australia.

    As if I want American in my fox hole? No I rather have their have their vest and weapons. Every Filipino Scout Ranger’s in the Philippines is 10x more experience and fighting capable than what’s best American’s can offer except they’re lacking with modern arms and equipment.

    • Joe America says:

      Rvyne, good of you to visit, and I suspect you are right, that what is missing is the equipment, not the dedication or courage. I think both Americans and Filipinos are equally courageous and skilled and would make a superb fighting team.

      • Rvyne says:

        Ya beside why would we wan’t Amerian’s to fight our own fight? We are not American’s nor part of US. I think the worst scenario why I want them on my side is equiptment and weapons it’s more appreciated than American boots on the ground.

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  1. […] I'm American. Do I want a Filipino in my foxhole?. […]

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