“Managing America” to assure Philippine sovereignty

drone-launchIt appears, subject to all the normal court challenges and few more whacko leftist marches down Roxas Boulevard, that the United States will operate on eight bases in the Philippines. The bases will house or anchor US military equipment, including warships at Subic and aircraft at Clark and elsewhere. They will also house intelligence assets positioned to know all there is to know about what is going on in the South China and West Philippine Seas, and training facilities to coordinate tactics with the Philippine military.

Such an elaborate partnership offers the Philippines certain resources and imposes certain risks. Here are a few examples:

Resources available to the Philippines

  1. The best intelligence information in the world.
  2. Military training and familiarity with modern weapons.
  3. America operates as the Philippine proxy to keep air and sea lanes open.
  4. The Mutual Defense Treaty: the Philippines gets US assistance if Philippine ships, aircraft or land are attacked militarily by China.
  5. US forces are on scene to assist in recovery after natural disasters.

Risks

  1. The US might seek to dominate Philippine political decisions and undermine sovereignty.
  2. The confrontation might result in a military flare-up; China might attack US and/or Filipino military installations resulting in many Filipino casualties.
  3. American troops might misbehave while off duty.
  4. There is no clear “end game” that foresees the US down-scaling its her presence or withdrawing altogether.

One Scenario

The Philippines will take no forceful acts against China until the ITLOS arbitration is concluded. If the arbitration decision goes against the Philippines, the Philippines will concede to China’s nine-dash line. If the decision is in favor of the Philippine filing . . . and is rejected by China . . . the Philippines will take steps to move China out of Philippine territory.

The Philippines will begin to deploy economic and diplomatic sanctions, for example, barring Chinese companies from mining in the Philippines. The Philippines will press for exit of China by establishing a test case, perhaps at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, and sail civilian craft into the area.

China will respond with her own sanctions, and with civilian ships . . . her coast guard . . . used to repel Philippine activities aiming at reclaiming Philippine territory. China will use the civilian ships so as not to trigger the US/Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty. The US, however, will counter that with military ships escorting Filipino ships.

China will stand down, or there will be a limited war between the United States and China.

Philippine Interest Number 2: Domestic Development

The foremost Philippine interest in dealing with America is independence and security. The second is economic health. They are actually interrelated, one depending on the other.

Many in the Philippines have long thought that America gave the Philippines a bad deal after World War II. The US invested big amounts in Japan and very little in the Philippines. The US sought to establish a robust industrialized Japan as a blocking force against the communist insurgencies widespread throughout Asia at the time. The US gave the Philippines encouragement in its fight against communism, and that encouragement warped into a support of the Marcos dictatorship.

From the Philippine perspective, score two points against the US: (1) neglect after WWII, and (2) supporting a ruthless dictator.

What few know is that US support of Japan took forms other than direct financial aid.

  1. Japan was allowed to control her currency and establish trade barriers that created a tilted playing field, all in favor of Japan. Japanese goods were allowed to undercut American companies as cheap products flowed from Japan into America.
  2. The US gave Japan rights to American technology, which Japan then perfected, to move from cheap products (toys) to high-value products (cars). Japan became rich.

Today, Japan is solidly in the path of China’s expansion to the north. The Philippines is economically and militarily weak and is possibly not occupied by China today because of the US presence. The Philippines is directly in the path of the spread of communism. This time, however, the spread is not in the form of insurgency, but in the form of Chinese government aggression.

If the US pivot to Asia is legitimate, it is very clearly in AMERICA’S INTEREST to provide aid to the Philippines above and beyond military arms, troops and training. Aid that builds domestic infrastructure, industry, and national well-being, as was done in Japan after WWII. Aid that will make the Philippines – like Japan – impossible for China to push around. And get around.

A more industrialized, robust Philippines is better assured of long-lasting sovereignty. A weak Philippines is a chip in play.

How Philippine leaders can assure longlasting sovereignty

Rather than wallow in isolation and mediocrity, bowing to the fears and historical hysteria of anti-VFA politicians such as Senator Santiago, the Philippines can assure long-lasting sovereignty by going entirely the opposite direction. They can seek GREATER engagement by the US in Philippine economic development. Specifically, Philippine leaders can propose to America that the US help the Philippines build a legitimate Philippine Military/Industrial Complex.

The Philippines needs manufacturing and the multiples of jobs industry will produce (2 to 4 ancillary jobs for each manufacturing job) to arrive at enduring financial well-being. The Philippines needs military strength. Her own, not begged and borrowed.

The Philippines needs the ability to take care of her own defense.

This will serve American interests by relieving the US of that obligation.

Win.

Win.

Philippine leaders can be forthright in managing the alliance with America. Americans won’t be offended. The Philippines can ask for American design and manufacturing expertise. Not money; that complicates the effort, and, besides, the Philippines can finance her own way. In fact, the Philippines could also do the design and manufacturing herself, but that would take decades.

The need is more urgent than that. For both the Philippines and America. Rather than scrape sand from the ocean to build a wall, the US can establish the Philippines as a legitimate, peaceful barrier to Chinese expansion in the South China and West Philippine Seas. It wouldn’t take money from America. It would take manufacturing expertise and technical designs.

What can the Philippines reasonably build?

  • Small ships
  • Missile boats
  • Missiles
  • Drones (surveillance and armed)
  • Artillery
  • Guns
  • Armored vehicles
  • Bullets, shells and bombs
  • Flack vests, helmets, clothing, radios, other gear

Because of costs and scale, the Philippines cannot today build combat airplanes, large ships, aircraft carriers, submarines, and high technology radars and satellites. As long as tension with China persists, the Philippines will require high-powered American support.

Perhaps it is wise that the Philippines look at America as more than a military big brother, but a partner to domestic development and strength. If America could establish the mechanisms to build a tattered Japan into the second largest economy in the world, she can certainly help jump-start a stable, healthy, industrialized Philippines  . . . rising from the tatters of corruption and poverty . . . to establish a solid, long-lasting anchor for democracy and freedom in Asia.

The end game for US involvement ought to be a much better capacity for the Philippines to provide . . . build, actually . . . her own defensive tools. It is for a much more economically stable and regionally powerful INDEPENDENT Philippines . . .

. . . that is squarely in the best interest of America.

 

Comments
95 Responses to ““Managing America” to assure Philippine sovereignty”
  1. karl garcia says:

    I have no problem in seeking assistance.When Mt Pinatubo, I mean,we kicked out the US from the bases, we have nothing as far as military assets.No ships,nothing,and what do we do. FMS deals with who else but the US?
    I digress, we have no modernization plans for the coast guard,because the coast guard is already civilian, and not part of the AFP modernization plan. It is already under the DOTC. I will be glad to be proven wrong on that observation.

    • Joe America says:

      The problem is China, and the Philippines can’t make “no choice”. A decision to do nothing is a choice, and has risks. It is also not possible to NOT endure pain, because it comes in the form of stolen fish and oil, or loss of lives, or economic hardship. That is caused by China. The Philippines should make the most out of the circumstance, and getting a little economic supercharge from the US, as did Japan after WWII, is a goot outcome.

      • karl garcia says:

        I am wrong.Japan did offer us to buy patrol boats. Japan has been assisting us to modernize our coast guard.Well the point of manufacturing them here remains and it is actionable.

        The fishers are losing their livelihood to China.

        But the boycott China products movement won’t even tickle them, Divisoria will have to find another source,not only divisoria,but SM,Robinsons,Puregold as well.The sanctions will be on us.

        Oishi,Metrobank,Jollibee and SM might be kicked out of China.

        • karl garcia says:

          The good thing is no more rotten onions and other vegetables from our farms,if sourced here,if there has to be more vertical integration then make it happen.
          As for the businesses there in China, they tried to kick out Japanese businesses,but most still remain.

        • Joe America says:

          Okay, some clear voices against economic sanctions.

  2. In writing my recent Commonwealth article, I found out that McArthur WANTED the Philippines to be self-sufficient in its defenses. He was Philippine-raised after all, his father was military governor. Somehow this got lost after the war, the Bell Trade Act was a bad deal…

    Any Filipino nationalist with some sense will realize: power politics is what it is. There are three superpowers to choose from: USA, China, Russia. Now all can be SOBs in a way, but the most predictable and humane of the three is still the USA.

    Of course it is smarter to ALSO seek alliances in the neighborhood to NOT be TOO dependent on the USA for protection. President Aquino is building the Vietnam and the Indonesia alliances. Because in organized crime and in international relations, protection always comes with a cost.

    The final goal in about 20 years should be a regional alliance under Philippine leadership, with the USA, Australia and Japan as alllies. How your role is in a partnership always depends on what you have to offer, those who have less to offer have to maneuver in a smarter way, that’s it.

    What stupid nationalists like Senator Santiago do is simply whining. Hopefully smart nationalists like Cayetano and Trillanes will develop their positions and policies on how to manage the USA. With the medium-term goal of turning the Philippines into the regional maritime power it can be.

    • Joe America says:

      Well said. I do think the US can be managed, actually, and that the Philippines was very firm in negotiating the EDCA deal.

      For readers, here’s the link to that article: http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/philippine-history-part-ii-state-section-3-philippine-commonwealth/

      • Thanks for the plug – writing the entire second part of Philippine history series on the formation of the Philippine state, I realized how skewed the Filipino nationalist view can be. Both Spanish and Americans were NOT as bad as the typical schoolbook histories show. Not as perfect as the old colonial histories show either. Overcoming the colonial period being objective about it. Japanese were IMHO the worst occupiers, after the Mexicans…

        Modern Philippine nationalism will have to acknowledge that American influence is ALSO very much part of Philippine culture, like everything else that came before it. Just like Poe, Gordon and Cayetano are clearly Filipinos with American blood. And Filipino malls native.

        As for EDCA, I might look at it – my grandpa’s lawyer blood needs something after BBL.

  3. manuelbuencamino says:

    The Philippines is in no position to deploy economic sanctions against China. Our total economic relationship with China is too small in relation to China’s overall economy. However, if China were to deploy economic sanctions against us, we would really hurt.

    We import so much from China, from consumer goods all the way to the bigger stuff. Many of our businessmen have big (relative to our size) investments in China with some even in manufacturing plants that export their products to us. So waging an economic war against China will only hurt us.

    To boycott China because of Spratley’s etc is patriotism of the flag-waving bumper-sticker variety.We end up hurting ourselves more than we do our intended target. Imagine what would happen to us if tomorrow China stopped selling consumers goods in the Philippines, pulled out all its investments, stopped work on all the projects it is working on as a response to our economic sanctions….

    We must be realistic when we itemize “Resources available to the Philippines”. We must not lose sight of the fact that those resources are available only with America’s permission. Nevertheless a promise is better than nothing. It gives hope for those with very little.

    The “Risks” are real.

    No.1 has been demonstrated time and again. For example, American support for Marcos and then American withdrawal of support with Laxalt telling him to step down; the overflights of jets from Clark during one of the coups against Cory. Those are the more overt examples, a lot goes on behind the scenes like presidential candidates since Independence making a pilgrimmage to DC to win US support. We also know that the US backed Pres. Magsaysay. The US was very active in the bases debate. We even had congressional committees patterned like the US Congress’ HUAC during the height of the Cold War. The Philippines joined the American adventure in Vietnam and also contributed warm bodies for Bush’s WOT. The list goes on and on although American “meddling” is much less ever since the closure of permanent US bases. Intel may have increased ever since 9/11 and the launching of the WOT.

    No. 2 is obvious. In case of war between US and China we will be caught in the middle specially if there is US presence here, temporary or otherwise.

    No 3 Well boys will be boys and no need to dwell on cases.

    No 4 True. The lack of an end game characterizes many of America’s foreign adventures post WWII.

    Finally I am against creating a military/industrial complex. We should welcome America’s help in civilian industrialization. But stay away from a war industry. If we anchor our development on a military/industrial complex then we will be doomed to commit ourselves to a perpetual state of war-preparedness in order to keep the military/industrial complex humming. Eisenhower warned America about that…unfortunately he sounded the alarm after he was safely out of the White House 🙂

    At any rate, the most militarily equipped armed forces in this part of the world are Singapore and Taiwan, neither of whom will be able to stand up to China should they go to war. Singapore has enough arms to keep Malaysia honest and to patrol its seas and not much else. Taiwan well it is moving towards unification with China so eventually its defense expenditures will come from Beijing.

    So I would say we only need enough arms for regional peace and security against piracy, poachers, and disrespect from rude neighbors. It will be foolhardy for us to dream of a defense capacity against the great powers. Better and more practical for us to concentrate on civilian economic development.

    Having said all that, I welcome the US presence in the region and China’s “aggressiveness” because I do not want a hegemon in this part of the world. I like that the US and China are balancing each other out. It makes me fell warm and fuzzy 🙂

    • karl garcia says:

      I would beg to differ on MIC, but even without the military industrial complex, the on going wars are already allegedly staged,scripted,etc.so that the budget of the military will increase. We all know, it did not increase.
      I am for it, with the hopes that it will prepare us just in case of war,and we manufacture only what we need,or manufacture for export.Just my few cents.

      • karl garcia says:

        clarification- beg to differ on MB’s stand on MIC,agree with Joe’s suggestion.

        as I saw on one comment,additional allegations/observations would be selling arms to rebels and criminal elements.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate the analysis. Many good points made, and I’ll let them rest. As far as economic sanctions go, I get the idea that you are a peacenik and don’t really like pain much. You’d rather the Philippines play like Switzerland, love ’em all to death, and if there is any dying to be done keeping China from stealing the world, let them be American.

      I also see your thinking is a bit at odds with the Aquino Administration which has embarked upon a military rebuilding to establish a “minimum credible defense”, whatever the hell that is. Only they are spending the money for big boats and air craft and other gear from other nations. All I’m saying is keep the jobs here in doing that, and going along with the argument, think modern and in swarms (drones) rather than big (a submarine). The Philippines cannot win a direct war against China, but she can impose huge costs against China for her attempt to steal Philippine goodies.

      Or, the Philippines can just let China take what she wants. That is a legitimate strategy, too. It is the Santiago/Binay strategy. I’d have to outline the risks of that, but it’s late in the day and shall leave that to readers.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        Switzerland has done pretty well for itself, hasn’t it? I’m for the Philippines. Whatever is best for us. Period.

        But the economic sanctions. I’m against it because there is no way that us imposing economic sanctions will bring China on its knees. To even consider it possible to hurt China through economic sanctions at this time or in the next ten years is laughable.

        Also using economic sanctions as a tool is immoral because the logic of economic sanctions is starve the people so that they will overthrow their government. It is the people more than the leaders of the targetted state who suffer. Look at Cuba, what did all those decades of sanctions do to Cubans, did it hurt Castro as much as it did the Cubans? If at all, I think targetted assassinations of leaders is more humane than economic sanctions. When one country imposes sanctions on another country it is because their respective leaders do not see eye to eye, so why not just assassinate the leaders you consider a pain in the ass instead of taking it out on their people?

        It’s not about letting China get what it wants. That is not even an issue. You’ve read the Melian Dialogues so you know that China can do what America did to the Philippines in 1898 if it chooses to do so. That’s why I welcome a balance of power between China and the US. Their rivalry is the best antidote to either of them becoming a hegemon in the region.

        I don’t know if my thinking is at odds with the Aquino adm because my understanding of minimum credible defense is to have a defense capability similar to Singapore and Taiwan.

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          “If there is dying to be done, keeping China from stealing the world, let them be American”?

          America is the self-appointed policeman of the world? If you want to be brutally frank about it, imagine China doing in the seas around the American continent what America is doing around here, wouldn’t you wonder what is China doing so far away from home, why is its navy patrolling distant seas?

          I am on the side of the Philippines and right now China and America neutralizing each other is dandy as far as I’m concerned.

          • Joe America says:

            America was drawn into the role of world’s policeman at the request of nations that were being slaughtered during WWII. The cold war, with Chinese and Russian aggressions, kept them there. Most are appreciative of the sacrifices America has and is and will continue to make. Not all are. America rebuilt Japan, and stepped away. China . . . different means, different motive, different ways.

        • “Switzerland has done pretty well for itself, hasn’t it?” Yes.. but they are far from loving everbody to death. They have very good minimum credible defence and more, well their mountains help with that, but for all their niceness they remain fierce mountain tribes.

          “Look at Cuba” Cuba pretty much straightened its act and is now mainly upper middle class, its infant mortality below that of the USA. With Raul Castro, they ready for the world.

          • Joe America says:

            Excellent. That’s what I am struggling to get to. Fierce. The Philippines ought not strive for minimum credible defense, but for “fierce”. I think the peso investment is not much more, it is just how it is spent.

          • karl garcia says:

            To straighten our act,we need to Iron things out. It works for fabrics and hair.

            We keep on saying we are tribal and separated by islands,why not look at what Indonesia has been doing.

        • Joe America says:

          China already deployed economic sanctions against the Philippines when it ordered tour guides to stop booking here because of a murder or two. The idea is not to defeat China, but to make her thefts incredibly expensive. It’s rather like rebels shooting from the trees. You don’t eat very well, sleep in the dirt, lose a comrade now and then, but eventually win.

          As for minimum credible defense, I don’t know what it it intended to defend against. Why even arm up at all? I’d arm up to punish mercilessly any thief who tried to steal Philippine goods. I would not invade China. And I would not sell my hope to America, but keep it for myself.

        • Joe America says:

          The following article discusses economic sanctions in the light of a possible American response to apparent Chinese hacking of US government personnel files. Economic sanctions are not an all-in proposition where every possible interrelationship is torn up and the other nation is brought to the brink of starvation. It is a way to return bad deeds with punishment in the interest of stopping bad deeds. The immorality is to be found in the initial bad deeds, not the attempt to rebut the bad deeds with punishment.

          http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/06/15/obama-considers-sanctions-after-opm-breach

          • karl garcia says:

            North Korean sanctions only starved her people,but the intent of the leaders remains, the nuclear bomb tests remained on schedule. As to Iran, they still afforded to mock America by sinking mock aircraft carriers, while on the negotiation table.(if that was just showbiz, it was not confirmed nor denied).Russia’s sanctions was felt economically.
            That brings us back to China, what will sanctions do to them economically.
            Manufacturing is slowly moving out because labor is no longer cheap,further sanctions will be another reason to exit.Now as to the trillion dollar reserves,that is a very long lever when you talk about leverage.

            • Joe America says:

              I think North Korea starves her people, not American sanctions. If one does not attempt to punish those who behave badly, they behave with impunity.

              • karl garcia says:

                Ah yes,all those R&D money and manufacturing of nukes should have been spent for food.I agree now that one must attempt to punish those that behave with impunity.All the so called caveats I mentioned like the potential shutdown of retail can be be remedied by changing sources and local manufacturing.Those businesses, if kicked out can go elsewhere.No one said it would be easy.

      • “I get the idea that you are a peacenik and don’t really like pain much. You’d rather the Philippines play like Switzerland, love ’em all to death, and if there is any dying to be done keeping China from stealing the world, let them be American.”

        Hmmm

        • Joe America says:

          There is a meaning to that “Hmmmm” but I’m not reading it. The point of my remark was accountability for one’s own welfare. When people claim sovereignty as important, but let others endure the pains needed to retain it . . . seems odd to me.

          • My “hmmm” was just a raised eyebrow at your use of “peacenik” and “dont really like pain much.” manuelbencamino makes a lot of sense to me. War is never an outcome to be even considered. I do agree with your statement that self defense has to involve Phil troops but also dont forget that Americans have all the equipment. If a drone can accomplish an objective, by all means let the americans do it.

            • Joe America says:

              He makes a lot of sense to me, too. Yet there is this demand for “sovereignty” from here and there within the Philippines, and if one is to acquire and keep it, it requires sacrifice now and then. And a sense of personal (or national) accountability for outcomes good and bad. We Americans get this “policeman of the world” accusation all the time, when people are feeling a little put out, and yet when thugs like China or Russia are at the doorstep, or ISIS in the new equation, America is often seen as not doing enough. Iraq recently made that charge regarding the current level of US bombing against ISIS. “Not enough” the leaders exclaim, as their own forces refuse to fight.

              Sovereignty involves accountability for one’s own lot, not easy paths and excuses and blames.

  4. OldmaninLA says:

    Great minds analyst…. I salute.

    • Joe America says:

      Good of you to stop by for a read, LA. I trust you mean Los Angeles, my former home town, the most ethnically diverse city on the planet, I suspect. I miss the Mexican food, especially the Haas avocados.

      • OldmaninLA says:

        Haas avocado with ripe banana with raw egg with celantro for taste with milk, blend together, excellent nutrition for breakfast.
        Yes Los Angeles is a great city. Feels at home here.

        I just love the brainy analysts discussions, you’re all the best think tank group. I hope the Philippines leaders can make use of your group talent.
        The Overseas Experiences Talent of Expat Filipino and JoeAm can contribute greatly to the Philippine nation.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m sure the people who comment here are cheered as much as I am with your observation. Indeed, the discussion is what makes this blog. It is not academic or opinion mongering. It is a group of smart people combining their intellects to get smarter. Thanks for your encouragement.

          Check that cholesterol count, okay?

  5. josephivo says:

    If you can’t beat the enemy within, how to beat an external enemy?

    Step one: Find out who corrupts the legal system and eliminate them. Who did steals half the budget? Who did sell out to the Chinese (e.g. ZTE)?…

    In the meantime don’t waste too much time in looking for outside help. Who will want to real partner with you if you can’t put your own house in order?

    • Joe America says:

      Well, if your house is a tad messy and is a shack, it doesn’t get any easier if China decides to move in. Well, maybe it does, if you don’t mind marching to the beat of Chinese gongs.

      • josephivo says:

        Don’t spent too much on new locks for the front door to keep potential burglars out if your family members are stealing all your gold and everything else that has some value. Well, for the burglars it might be easier to buy at a huge discount from your family members.

        Not the Chinese army will conquer the Spratleys, but a future administration might sign a deal for a little money under the table.

    • Vicara says:

      Multitasking required, facing external and internal threats simultaneously. Need to deal with fears of what could go wrong when building up one’s own “legitimate Philippine Military/Industrial Complex”–a strong, loaded term which gives one pause: Is an M/IC ever truly legitimate? And even if it were, there’s the fear that our military simply can’t hack it. We all know how bad it is–not just in terms of equipment, but the whole situation of inter-branch rivalry, graft, inadequate training and general education (important for developing a sense of perspective and thinking clearly), grandstanding and–even worse–WEEPY generals, selling of guns to insurgent groups (a practice which has endured over many decades), etc, etc. We have no shortage of brave young men and women, but somewhere along the line everyone (it seems to this civilian) gets co-opted. Along with dealing with our fears about managing big countries like China and the U.S., we must deal with fears about managing ourselves. Crunch time.

  6. sonny says:

    Just a little more information on our China tussle. It seems an alliance of affected countries are getting together even without the US participation. I picked it up from Yahoo news. maybe you’ve seen it. I thiink it’s worth a read.

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/made-beijing-anti-china-alliance-emerges-13104

    • sonny says:

      PS. Wishful thought: postpone the lameduck status of Pres Aquino for however time is needed. (Think FDR during WWII.) It seems we will buy more by doing so.

    • Joe America says:

      Wonderful photo. The article will go into my must read section. For the life of me, I don’t understand China. As a cooperative partner to the world, she rose to economic strength, but now is biting the hands that fed her. She would gain greater dominance through sheer friendly economic might than she can ever get militarily. She just can’t gain control of other peoples.

      It is also interesting in the article how the Philippines is as the center of everything. I’d guess that is partly location, partly leadership.

  7. commenting for the comments :-).

  8. jameboy says:

    I’m not really sure if the present standoff between us and China over the disputed islands in the South China Sea should be utilized as an opportunity to beef up our military capability and economic well-being vis-a-vis our relationship with the US.

    I get the threat we are exposed to in terms of territorial dominance over specific piece of lands in the disputed area which we claim sovereignty of. On that, we should argue, protest and lodge official complaints or worse even wage war against any trespasser. An owner has all the right to protect and preserve the subject of his ownership. That’s the basic tenet in ownership and possession. And that’s where the conflict lies.

    All contending parties in the South China Sea proclaim ownership based on their respective ‘title’. No need to enumerate all the proofs/evidence in detail the claimants have for they can all be reduce to historical and legal basis. All have something based on those two factors to prove ownership is on their side. As it is, all are capable of arguing their position on matters of ownership and rightly so almost everybody is looking at the possibility of the settlement of the conflict through international arbitration based on existing law, rules and policy. Except China.

    Why? While everybody may be on the same page in terms of claim as to ownership by title, only China, if push comes to shove, has the capability to back such claim with physical possession of the entire disputed area.

    Given that dreadful scenario, an examination of our present position is necessary. Are we really going to look at the conflict in terms of what can the US do for us, military and economic, and act belligerent and hostile against China? Or are we going to give priority to utilize our influence as an Asean member for regional cooperation and coordination with neighboring counteies and partners on the issue with China?

    My thinking is we should give more time to fine-tune and strengthen our relationship with other claimants and present a united front with regard to the resolution of the conflict through settlement by arbitration. At least, that is what I would like to believe and how people should look at us. Filipinos are not only freedom loving people but they’re also peaceful people. I’m more on negotiation and less on war talk. War, I think, is not in our level or we are not in the league where we can talk about it and be believed.

    With regard to the US, whether we like it or not, the US (and other influential countries) will always be in the picture because, she too, has interest in the resolution of the conflict. She will be there if ever the first shot is taken to start a war and will be there when the smokes of the battle die down.

    That’s also the reason why I don’t want others to see or think that we’re taking advantage of the situation by suggesting what we can have in terms of military and economic benefits from the US. I’d rather the idea of military and economic assistance comes from the US itself rather than us thinking it for themselves to do.

    The resolution of the conflict does not rest entirely on one or two countries. Everybody must share in making everybody come to terms and come to an agreement or something that will put everybody at ease and possibly have a cessation of hostility and have a decent conversation towards resolution of the conflict.

    It won’t be easy but at least we’re relegating talk of war at the back burner in the meantime. 🌍

    • Joe America says:

      I particularly like your counter proposal, to build a network of alliances. That, I believe, is what the Aquino Administration is doing, as reflected in the article mentioned by sonny and now in the right “Must Read” column. Make no mistake, Asia would be harmonious but for China and North Korea, and this discussion would not be necessary.

      I circled a few wagons to get to the US engagement in building a military production capacity in the Philippines.

      First, Japan is blocking China because the costs would be huge if China took Japan on. So she doesn’t. The Philippines is weak, and the “build a minimum credible defense” is a slow, arduous, and I’d guess largely ineffective process, given the speed at which China is building islands. It could be sped up if the intent of the build-up were shifted from some nebulous minimum force to a fierce, flexible force aimed at punishing interlopers.

      Second, the Philippines is providing lots of jobs in the US, in Japan, in Korea, and elsewhere by buying military supplies there. Meanwhile jobs here are lacking. Manufacturing produces 2 to 4 ancillary jobs for each direct job. This approach is nonsense. As is the big boat approach, I think. The goal should be punish. Not fight conventional war. Rebels in the bushes, not D-Day.

      Third, I think sovereignty as a concept of national borders and isolation is very weak, as I will write in a future article “Re-defining global sovereignty”. That’s where your thoughts and mine merge. Build those alliances in Asia, for sure. But be ready to take care of business at home, as well.

      So why keep spending money overseas? Makes no sense to me at all.

      • “So why keep spending money overseas? Makes no sense to me at all.”

        It makes no sense to me, too.

        We can never be economically sovereign (a variation of karl’s article) if our country imports every simple thing that we need, from nails, toilet napkin dispenser, to defective helmets made in China/Taiwan. I agree on starting small and progress to be a giant producer from economic products to defense ones; trade agreements that tend to favor the already big economies of the world without a safety net is self defeating. Flooding our markets with farm produce and other basic necessities which we can easily produce here at the expense of our local farmers and producers is a seditious, traitorous act.

        I welcome the part of America helping us recover from the tatters of WWII and the corruptions that ensued from the series of unpatriotic and self centered political leaders, just like it did with Japan. Japan is wiser and practical while we continue to be talking of sovereignty and independence but weak and defenseless like a boastful toddler.

    • karl garcia says:

      “That’s also the reason why I don’t want others to see or think that we’re taking advantage of the situation by suggesting what we can have in terms of military and economic benefits from the US. I’d rather the idea of military and economic assistance comes from the US itself rather than us thinking it for themselves to do.”

      If taking advantage sounds bad,then would making most out of the situation be better?
      Waiting for the US to give us anything without asking,is a wasted opportunity.
      I am not good with analogies and metaphors, but we are asking seeds for planting and what happens next is up to us.
      We had the chance,we may have blown it time and again,but we still have a chance..

      • karl garcia says:

        No permanent friends only permanent interests.Permanent interests is what we get from borrowing money.Kidding aside,I know we have individual interests and no one is denying that,our interest should be a good neighbor,a good ally,and have a minimum credible defense, we might as well be interested in EDCA.

  9. Steve says:

    Bit of clarifiacation on the MDT… the treaty does not require the US to come to the aid of the Philippines in the event of an attack. It only requires the US to respond “in accordance with its constitutional processes”. That means that if the US decides to respond with economic sanctions, or by unclogging their noses in the general direction of China, the terms of the treaty have technically been met, as long as that is the outcome of constitutional process.

    Of course expectations are a bit higher than that. One reason why the US has consistently said that it does not consider the disputed territories to be an organic part of the Philippines is that too much US commitment might induce the Philippines to do something unnecessarily aggressive in the expectation of automatic American support. Some Filipinos worry about the Philippines getting drawn into a US-China conflict; the US worries about getting drawn into a Philippines-China conflict.

    I agree that having shared facilities with the US is beneficial to the Philippines, thoiugh of course there are some risks, as there are with every course of action. I am less sanguine about the prospects of developing defense industries. Unless the national military is very large, defense industries typically need export markets to achieve the scale needed for economic viability. Arms export markets these days are very very crowded and sales are difficult to make. Without such markets domestic defense industries would probably not be viable and would require heavy subsidy… the hardware would probably end up being more expensive than purchasing from the Koreans, Israelis, etc. Many countries are very eager to make arms sales (because they need that economy of scale to keep their own purchases affordable) and in that kind of competitive market good deals can be cut by buyers.

    Lastly, it must be remembered that while alliances are useful, they are not absolute. Allies still act according to their own interests, and the leverage any given partner has in an alliance is proportional to what assets that ally brings to the table. Right now the Philippines is essentially a zero on military capability, and the only asset the country and offer to gain leverage within an alliance is access to facilities.

    I personally think the Philippine defense modernization program suffers from a serious case of misplaced priorities, but that’s another story…

    • Joe America says:

      Sanguine: cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident. Well, you have made an excellent case as to why that position (“less sanguine about . . . defense industries”) makes sense. My only note of inconsistency in your argument is minor, that you don’t think alliances are absolute, but you also don’t want the Philippines to develop arms herself. As for volume of product, I’d say several islands infested with hundreds of drones is worth spending time and money on. What is the return value on a farm to market road? Negligible. What is the return on a drone plant? Priceless.

      • sonny says:

        That is not even mentioning tons of Filipino gamers and eager hackers. 🙂

        • sonny says:

          PS. Neither here nor there.

          Cardinal Tagle came to say Mass at the Chicago Holy Name Cathedral. 4/5 of cathedral capacity was taken by Filipinos singing and worshipping. Never have I seen our cathedral come more alive. I then imagined this being repeated in the usually empty cathedrals of Europe. Blessed be God! 🙂

      • Steve says:

        Arms sales and alliances are two different things. Arms purchases are simply business. Countries won’t sell arms to openly hostile nations, but they will certainly sell to those with whom they are more or less neutral. The Russians stage maneuvers with China and cut all sorts of deals with the Chinese, but they still sell submarines to Vietnam. Business.

        I am not sure about the return on a drone plant. Uness you can muster civilioan sales, what are the returns?

        The Philippines already manufactures small arms and ammunition, at a limited scale. Things like artillery… possible, but again you’d need foreign sales, the Philippine Armed Forces just can’t order enough to make it worth building the factory. The country lacks the technological base for really sophisticated weapons, though they might be able to do a “manufacture under license” deal like the Vietnamese do with Russian-design surface to surface missiles. I doubt that the US would alow any really cutting edge tech to be supplied on the manufacturing end, because nothing in this country stays secret. Whey do you think the Philippine Armed Forces have no MANPADS? Nobody will sell them for fear that they’ll be sold on to someone undesirable.

        The part of building a credible military here that nobody wants to talk about is a desperate need to reform the organizations themselves… crack down on corruption, eliminate the rampant leakage of ordnance and materiel onto the black market, eliminate the padrino system, assure that promotion is merit based, not seniority based… and more.

  10. Sup says:

    Morning thought
    Lets combine safety and business..
    My simple mind said ”To make the Philippine safe bring back the US army
    To make it safe for the US soldiers remove the bakla from Olongapo
    Don’t believe this?
    Ask any Businessman in Olongapo how much income they have lost since Jeffrey took the drunk sailor to a motel…..

  11. America is a democracy, just as we are, and they are a country that has a finite tolerance for military spending, just as any other country on earth. I think, democracy in America will take care of many concerns because Americans themselves would not accept long-term involvement in any conflict or international engagement that doesn’t have a clear and direct economic benefit to the American people – and, I agree, an independent and stable Philippines is a benefit to America because we would then be a trade partner, investment market, and a security buffer in the Pacific. All of the concerns that are being raised by anti-American politicians and leftist groups are nothing more than a political and ideological agenda that is out of time, all of their short-sighted views and childish fears have clearly become anti-Filipino.

    • Joe America says:

      You said in one crisp paragraph what took me a bunch to say, plus you added that American people would accept non-monetary, non-life-giving support of the Philippines. But no more wars for unclear benefit. Nice synopsis.

  12. bauwow says:

    Uncle Joe, I don’t know what the fuss is all about sovereignty. Heck, the U.S. operates a military base in the UK. The very country they fought to gain independence. Does that mean the Queen is giving up her throne to the Americans?

    • Joe America says:

      Bingo. You said it. Sovereignty is defined by the character of Philippine decision-making, not presence of American troops. Most of the noise is from the insecure/angry (Santiago) or inept (whacko leftists).

    • chempo says:

      When Philippines kicked the US out (well done Santiago & Joker Arroyo) Singapore offered the US naval base facilities. Because Lee Kuan Yew saw the threat coming from China as Napoleon Bonaparte’s giant has awoken from it’s sleep. Yes indeed, what’s the fuss about sovereignty.

  13. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    RISKS!

    “The US might seek to dominate Philippine political decisions and undermine sovereignty”
    IF The U.S. interests are threatened by nine-dash line The U.S. obviously will undermine the corrupt sovereignty of the Philippines. That is a given. The U.S. has to root for a corrupt Philippine President that can be bought! A puppet on a string. They are THE BINAYS! They are for sale.

    Gracie surrendered to Americans to apply for re-colonization. Came back as CIA operative? What about Mar? He went to Princeton. He could be a mole, a U.S. lackey.

    “The confrontation might result in a military flare-up; China might attack US and/or Filipino military installations resulting in many Filipino casualties.”
    In my mind this is farfetch. China will not attack the Philippines. Filipinos are already a huge headache. China wouldn’t dare. China is surrounded by its nemesis, Vietnam to the south. Japan to the east. Americans from everywhere. China has to behave so the world keep buying their products.

    American troops might misbehave while off duty. It is likely they will touch Philippine women that browned skin colored Filipinos wouldn’t dare. What are the browned-skin colored Filipinos going to do about it? They are not going to kick out the Americans, are they? Filipinos are no match to Chinese absolutely. We did not kick out the Filipinos in America when they misbehaved. Filipinos has to understand this.

    There is no clear “end game” that foresees the US down-scaling its her presence or withdrawing altogether. Why is the Philippines taking the brunt of U.S. presence? Vietnam has their claim, too! Vietnam can lend Da Nang’s Tourane and Saigon’s Tan Son Nhut Air Base to Americans. What about Haiphong for Naval base?

    THERE IS ONE RISK THAT JOE FAILED TO MENTION. The Filipinos The Filipinos are the noisiest among the claimant. The more they become “brave” and MORE NOISY when Americans come to defend the Philippines. Per Filipino proverb: becomes A fly that lands on a carabao feels itself to be higher than the carabao

    Is the U.S. serious about protecting the Philippines? My thought on this is “HELL NO!”. The U.S. is protecting Vietnam, Japan and other claimants from obliteration, PHILIPPINES IS ALREADY OBLITERATED WITHIN!

    Take a listen of Barack Obama in NPR June 1 2015 broadcast “US Criticizes China For Construction In South China Sea”

    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=411271126&m=411271127

    Barack did not mention Philippines. It mentioned VIETNAM!!!!

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Barack knows that if he mentioned Filipinos, The Filipinos will become braver and noisier and might attack China with pumpboats.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Wooops !!!

      Military training and familiarity with modern weapons. Are Filipinos trainable? Educateable? SAF44 were presumably trained by U.S. Military Contractors. They failed. U.P. Law and Journalism Textbooks are authored by Americans, look where Binay is now? Still free. PMA Police Supretendent cannot know how to preserve crime scenes and importance of evidence. The U.P. Senators cannot know the benefits of close-door investigation.

  14. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    Can the U.S. trust the Philippines? I doubt. Malacanang is leaking like a sieve. Tulfo knew what transpired in the conversation with Binay and Benigno. Malacanang’s Lavandera knew. The cook knew. There is no secret in Malacanang. The whole place is US National Security Risk. NSA cannot allow that.

  15. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    On the side regarding Solita Monsod article, she is right! There was overpricing. Problem is she cannot prove the money went to The Binay Crime Family’s pocket.

    • Joe America says:

      There are standards short of proven theft that display the Binay character. Failing to testify. Limlingan hiding out. Reckless accusations thrown at anyone who speaks up, most of whom are decent people. Spokespeople being dishonest. Those are factual enough to voters who must decide who to pick, or honest people who understand that ethics, and stains on public office, are prominent. In your country, Binay would have resigned long ago. Binay stains the whole of Philippine government by playing poor people for fools, and even educated people, and even top government officials.

  16. josephivo says:

    How to prepare for the correct war. Generals tend to prepare for the last war, not the next one. The ongoing ones seem to be very different. Are the current wars any indication of the future ones? The Middle East with kamikaze car bombs, cutting heads with knifes, internet recruitment. The Chinese with subtle salami tactics and just plain bullying. The Americans with stealth weapons or from a safe distance with drones, cyber-surveillance. (And having plenty of nukes in the arsenal always helps to make an argument).

    Will the next war be plainly economic? Plainly virtual, cyber-facilitated destructions? Only with game consoles, automated weapons, fought from a distance? Aiming at military targets, commercial targets, civilian targets, “emotional” or symbolic targets? A series of local clashes, an all-out global war or anything in between?

    Will a war be won or lost because of better information gathering, better coalition building, more brute force, more motivated soldiers, better exit strategies? A war conceived by some evil generals, concealed from the public or a patriotic war driven by national indignation?

    Do national planners have an idea what is coming? (or are our coalition – US – planners telling us?) Do politicians have an idea? Is the defense industry pushing in one direction? Or do we just plan for every combination of possibilities? A focused allocation of modest resources or a little bit of everything?

    Analyze to paralysis? Or shoot and then aim?

    • Joe America says:

      The answer is maybe.

    • karl garcia says:

      As far as the PMA curriculum is concerned, they have a little catching up, but the problem is not in academics,it is when they enter the real world.

      We all learned of the influence of the military in elections and the grievances of various coups,supposed to be resolved by the various commissions that handled the post coup recommendations.

      Add to that everything mentioned by joseph.

  17. Bing Garcia says:

    Maybe P-Noy can put paid to VP Binay’s claim in a more headline-grabbing manner: What if he directs, as provided for by the Administrative Code of 1987, the Solicitor General to institute proceedings against VP Binay, “to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public officials or employees, from them or from their nominees or transferees”? That will show us that P-Noy is really for daang matuwid, no matter who is involved. Solita Monsod

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, she definitely placed the ball in the Aquino court. Someone some place needs to stop the disgrace of the nation permitting the Vice President to even run. Integrity counts, does it not?

  18. OldmaninLA says:

    JoeAm, here is your punch conclusion. I like it.
    “The end game for US involvement ought to be a much better capacity for the Philippines to provide . . . build, actually . . . her own defensive tools. It is for a much more economically stable and regionally powerful INDEPENDENT Philippines . . .

    . . . that is squarely in the best interest of America.”

    I like your conclusion advice…… Very brief and concise.

    As old man in Los Angeles from the Philippines, with Filipino-Spanish-Chinese blood in me with American Christian exposure for 40 years, I can’t understand why animosity shall prevail.

    History peace records is there after Japanese surrender in 1945, peace treaties in Cairo Declaration to treaty of Peace in San Francisco, “It is recognized that under Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco in the United States of America on September 8, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as the San Francisco Treaty), Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) as well as the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands.” , to Replublic of China. This is international peace treaties clearly recognize and documented.

    USA, China, Philippines had been friends since, start with USA president Nixon to president Carter to president Reagan, I can not understand this Philippines created tensions.

    The Philippines leadership made it so complicated because of UNCLOS which its rulings EEZ 200 miles is effective only from 1992 onward and not inclusive, or retroactive to national sovereignties.such as U.S. Territories as example. Can UNCLOS retro its rulings to treaties?

    As old man in Los Angeles, I agonize if trouble come to pass.

    I think,, China will not make war with Philippines nor USA, unless otherwise provoked.
    China interest is only trade and friendship ever since to Southeast Asia long before
    Spanish colonial time that established the Philippines nation birth.

    Just a pinch of opinion.
    Ito na lang, Salamat

    • jameboy says:

      History peace records is there after Japanese surrender in 1945, peace treaties in Cairo Declaration to treaty of Peace in San Francisco, “It is recognized that under Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed at the city of San Francisco in the United States of America on September 8, 1951 (hereinafter referred to as the San Francisco Treaty), Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) AS WELL AS THE SPRATLY ISLANDS AND THE PARACEL ISLANDS.” , TO THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA.

      This is international peace treaties clearly recognize and documented.

      USA, China, Philippines had been friends since, start with USA president Nixon to president Carter to president Reagan, I can not understand this Philippines created tensions.
      ==========
      Clarification sir. The article you quoted never said those in the capital letters. Let me quote it correctly:

      CHAPTER II
      TERRITORY

      Article 2
      (f) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Spratly Islands and to the Paracel Islands.
      http://www.taiwandocuments.org/sanfrancisco01.htm
      ========
      Clearly, there was no mention of “Republic of China” which actually is Taiwan. China is the People’s Republic of China (PROC).

      Lastly, it’s a bit surprising not only that a Filipino raised that point instead of a Chinese citizen but China herself has not advanced such defense in support of her claim.

    • Joe America says:

      It is always good to get the Chinese view represented here, which is always to my western mind disingenuous and manipulative, as if the ends were what mattered and not the way of getting there. The ITLOS court was established to provide the framework for resolving disputes, and is recognized by China, with reservations, and by the Philippines. China holds that her claims are “indisputable”, which is manipulation number one because they are obviously being disputed by a good number of nations, not simply the Philippines. So your own message has those same kinds of deceptions when you state “I can not understand this Philippines created tensions.” The tensions are created when China refuses to acknowledge that Japan, Viet Nam, the Philippines, et al, have claims. Acting unilaterally.

      I look forward to your response to jameboy as well.

      • OldmaninLA says:

        Here is the excerpt below clearly shows Republic of China.

        “. Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan

        Signed at Taipei, 28 April 1952, Entered into force, 5 August 1952, by the exchange of the instruments of ratification at Taipei

        TREATY OF PEACE

        The Republic of China and Japan,

        Considering their mutual desire for good neighbourliness in view of their historical and cultural ties and geographical proximity; Realising the importance of their close cooperation to the promotion of their common welfare and to the maintenance of international peace and security; Recognising the need for a settlement of problems that have arisen as a result of the existence of a state of war between them; Have resolved to conclude a Treaty of Peace and have accordingly appointed as their Plenipotentiaries,

        His Excellency the President of the Republic of China: Mr. YEH KUNG-CHAO;
        The Government of Japan: Mr. ISAO KAWADA

        Who, having communicated to each other their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles:—

        Article 1
        The state of war between the Republic of China and Japan is terminated ……………..

        Article 2
        It is recognised that under Article 2 of the Treaty of Peace which Japan signed at the city of San Francisco on 8 September 1951 (hereinafter referred to as the San Francisco Treaty), Japan has renounced all right, title, and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) as well as the Spratley Islands and the Paracel Islands.”

        ########

        The issue raised by Jameboy is Republic of China(ROC) and People’s Republic of China(PRC). Are they two China separately or one China nation?
        To some, it is a matter of personal opinion, as two Chinas separately.
        While the others, it is accepted from historical facts as one China nation.

        Based on historical facts, Republic of China and People’s Republic of China are ” one China nation” replaced the ROC by PRC, recognized by United Nation and its members at large, including USA from President Nixon administration and onward to the present.
        Taiwan is an island, ROC moved to Taiwan in 1949, is considered a part of People’s Republic of China, the governing authority of present China.
        This can be checked historically.

        This is neither Filipino or Chinese or Spanish opinion, it’s just facts for analyst.
        I KIS, ( Keep It Simple)

        The old man in LA. The peace advocate, peace and stability = progress

        • jameboy says:

          With due respect, sir, I did not raise the issue of two China. I just mentioned in passing that ‘Republic of China’ (ROC) is identified with or known to be Taiwan which is not the country we have issue against. The claimant of the entire South China Sea is the People’s Republic of China (PROC).

          What I pointed out was actually your claim that, and I’m quoting you again,

          “Japan has renounced all right, title and claim to Taiwan (Formosa) and Penghu (the Pescadores) AS WELL AS THE SPRATLY ISLANDS AND THE PARACEL ISLANDS.” , TO THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA.”

          Neither in the San Francisco treaty nor in the Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan such phrase been reflected. On both Art. 2 of both treaties no such provision is provided.

          Maybe you may have read it somewhere but surely it is not in those treaties that you have mentioned.

          Granting for the sake of discussion that there is such a statement that exist granting all rights and claim on the disputed territory in the SCS to China, how come nobody is talking about it on the side of the Chinese? Don’t you think that such historical proof of ownership and possession is of utmost importance not to be even cited by Chinese authorities as their basis for their current activity in the disputed territory? 👀

        • Joe America says:

          I think peace is best achieved when nations abide by international laws and refrain from stealing and lying, and when they respect all peoples, especially those less powerful.

  19. maya pula says:

    what we have is what china doesn’t have-fertile soil to turn to in case of economic sanction, or even a slow drawn out war. our grandparents knew that they had to eat green bananas instead of rice in the last world war. we are a resilient nation because of our simple needs. we should start planting the seeds for food, literally, mentally, we should be prepared, with America or no America to help us.history repeats…aslo we need to protect our inner seas, sulu. visayas etc, where clams alone can sustain us along with green vegetables. china’s plague is the decreasing land eaten by industry, urbanization, greed and and the gobi desert..and thats the truth they face.

    • Joe America says:

      Your closing line puts the scare into me, for sure. Be sure to read Thursday’s blog, because, in a way, your ideas fit right into the idea of a re-defined sovereignty. Individual self-sufficiency is an important part of that.

  20. DAgimas says:

    i would not ask help from the Americans if i were the President. in exchange for basing rights, i would ask for duty free entry of our exports to the USA.

    i believe America will never go to war with China or vise versa. we could never recover all the islets China seized already even though UNCLOS might favor us. in fact, the basing rights the Americans are asking right now wont help us in our fight against China.

    so why not duty free entry? this will stimulate our economy. jobs will be created. unemployment solve. with increase unemployment, increase tax collections thus providing the budget to buy armaments.

    its not that i like military bases but there is nothing wrong with it if you know how to play the game like Korea and Japan.

    i just think the nationalists kuno senators who didn’t vote for the treaty and their earlier encarnations beginning with Recto, Quezon etc were only concerned with their ego aND not about the welfare of the common tao, as evidence by the multitudes of poor people since they were in power.

    • Joe America says:

      Please send your resume to DFA. You should be on the negotiating team. That is EXACTLY the kind of push for Philippine interests that ought to be going on.

      • DAgimas says:

        I really could not decipher how the Rectos, Salongas etc think. didn’t they know that in the event of war, its the americans that commands the South Korea Armed Forces? now in Rectos and Salongas thinking, they would never allow that even if what we got are only bangkas and paper planes and the Koreans are rich and their armed forces are high tech too

    • OldmaninLA says:

      DAgimas, you are creative positive thinker with excellent benefit idea for Bayan Filipinas. I agree with JoeAm, prepare your resume for DFA.
      Creative Positive Thinker like you will make Philippines improve a lot. You are a precious gem kabayan.

  21. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. The greatest risk, in my view, is not what the US might do but what the Philippines will not do. And that is NOT to become truly independent.

    2. As it is, we are still expectant of US aid in many forms and areas: in development assistance, in health and in humanitarian aid, and in particular in security and defense. In financial terms, the US probably lags as the second largest bilateral donor after Japan. But in non-financial terms — in cultural, political, ideological and technological influence — the US is, without doubt, first ranked.

    3. The transfusion of memes is not entirely to be resisted. After all, the noble ideals of liberty and equality, and the institutions that grew out of these ideals, came to us from the US and not from their European birthplace. And I am a great admirer of the Western aspiration for individual independence in subsistence and thought.

    4. But my fear is that the Filipino will never develop his own national identity to the extent that the Japanese and South Koreans have. Our identity continues to be elusive, a rickety construct of a native substructure topped with colonial influences. Josephivo has posited that we are as people see us. How do foreigners see us?

    4.1. Ultimately we should be as we see ourselves to be .. or as we want to be — in the best light.

    5. When I try to distance myself and try to see America’s contribution to the world, I can see that in the last century it was the gift of democracy. In the last half century, America has fought wars – and mistakenly initiated them – in defense of, and in the propagation of, democracy, and against the encroaches and incursions of communism, terrorism, and self-harming and self-aggrandizing states.

    5.1. The god that was communism has died except in five non-fully observant states and in pockets of rebellion in the Philippines and Peru.

    5.2. Terrorism takes many forms but it is usually associated with radical Islam. It may be that America, the Great Satan, has provoked the rise of terrorism, which has replaced communism in the dialectical war.

    5.3. It is perhaps in the last arena of self-harming and self-aggrandizing states that America acts as a moral beacon and performs the role of global policeman — not as a matter of choice but of necessity. Well certainly, with Saddam, it was a matter of choice, and this has led in part to the rise of the Islamic State. But with self-harming states like Libya and Syria – and with self-aggrandizing states like Russia (in Chechnya) and China (in the China Sea) – America plays a countervailing role that a non-sovereign UN cannot perform.

    6. The term Pax Americana may be a misnomer… partly because America, as noted, has initiated wars. Perhaps we should talk of a Moralis Americana instead.
    *****

    • Joe America says:

      A very fair summary of the American role since WWII. The one thing that troubles me with those who are self-declared nationalists is that they view sovereignty and independence to mean isolationism, whereas I think it ought to be more to “take care of your own business” in a global arena with many linkages. Accountability, not isolationism. Isolationism and hard walls of sovereignty that exclude a lot of benefits to the Philippines is not so constructive, I think. (Thursday’s blog).

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