The faces of partnership
Every once in a while a picture comes along that seems to say even more than the proverbial 1,000 words. This is one of them, captioned as reported in Mint Press News:
What do you see in the photo? I see trust, respect, equality and camaraderie. These are the two men who must forge a world-class defense force under the wary watchful eyes of Filipino leftists and skeptics and the hostile eyes of Chinese generals and propagandists. The photo also gives (to me) confidence that this is the kind of relationship that can make good things happen.
I simply can’t imagine a Chinese partnership with the same kind of personal closeness, unless Gazmin is replaced in the picture by Duterte or one of his NPA generals. Or with Binay in the picture, possibly. Probably not with Poe. Definitely not with Roxas.
And the greater amusement (for me) is that, under Senator Santiago, Ash Carter would be taken out of the picture.
Here’s a brief on the work now being done between the two defense organizations, as reported in Mint Press New:
The Pentagon said the U.S. forces that will remain in the Philippines are already participating in the Balikatan, or shoulder-to-shoulder combat exercises, that will end Friday. About 200 airmen, including special operations forces, will remain at Clark Air Base, along with three of their Pave Hawk attack helicopters, an MC-130H Combat Talon II special mission aircraft and five A-10 combat aircraft.
This initial contingent will provide training to increase the two militaries’ ability to work together, laying the groundwork for forces to perform joint air patrols.
Up to 75 Marines will stay at Camp Aguinaldo to support increased U.S. andPhilippine combined military operations.
The troops and aircraft are expected to leave at the end of April, but other U.S. forces and aircraft would do similar rotations into the Philippines routinely in the future. Carter would not say how frequently those rotations would happen, but called it a “regular periodic presence.”
Last week the Pentagon announced that the U.S. will give the Philippines about $40 million in military assistance to bolster intelligence-sharing, surveillance and naval patrols. Carter said the aid will include an enhanced information network for classified communications, sensors for patrol vessels and an unmanned aerostat reconnaissance airship to help the Philippines keep watch over its territory.
The U.S. will get access to five Philippine military bases to house American forces that will rotate in and out of the country for training and other missions.