Regarding China: “Okay, so now what?

China live fire drill sputkiknews

China live-fire drill in South China Sea [Photo source: sputniknews.com]

Review

We’ve had two excellent discussions touching on China recently. One was fueled by Lance Corporal X putting matters in a context of global warming which will see the Spratley Rocks (the arbitration panel said none of the ‘islands’ are life-sustaining; therefore, they are just rocks) submerged beneath the rising oceans. We are faced with a reshaping of our earthly priorities to one of how to survive the guaranteed climate catastrophe coming headlong at us. China is not immune to climate change.

The other article was by Josephivo looking at the bigger context of technology development and the Chinese progression toward its Center of the Earth strategy. I concluded from that discussion that the China/Philippine stand-off is but a gnat in the eye of this high-speed technological progression, and we will be swatted aside one way or another as China pursues global dominance.

For reference:

The blog discussions also addressed the Duterte Administration’s posture on China. The Administration was subdued after the UN arbitration panel announced its finding in favor of the Philippines. The Administration argued that subdued was proper, and several commenters on the blog agreed. No need to slam China in her delicate face.

Some readers, however, found Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Yasay’s response totally unsuitable considering the importance of the victory won. It was almost as if he were ready to concede defeat and beat a fast path to China to bow before Emporer Xi. Others argued that a Philippine pivot toward China makes sense given the prospects for commercial trade between the two nations, resource extraction, infrastructure build-out, and funding. The US is but a distant shore by this thinking, with America just ‘playing’ the Philippines in its global game of well-armed chess.

Then there was my own speculation that the real interest of President Duterte is a free and independent Mindanao. That thinking got a lukewarm response.

So with those arguments as backdrop and the situation on the ground in the seas still developing, what’s next?

  • China’s current (recent past) strategy might be termed aggressive expansion and extraction of resources through acquisition or alliances.
  • The current (recent past) Philippine strategy might be termed firm defense of sovereignty in hopes of protecting and getting to extraction of resources.

For this article, let’s consider some possible scenarios going forward. Please understand that the main goal of the article is not to try to sell you any idea, or promote any particular initiative. It’s to organize a few thoughts and get them on the table in hopes that it will inspire readers to provide more insights.

It seems to me there are four types of engagements possible between China and the Philippines. The US is also standing by, but we can’t yet figure out if her role is that of a Greek Choir . . .  mainly of voice . . . or a warmongering nation anxious to sink a few Chinese boats. Or some place in between.

The four possible engagements are: (1) military, (2) legal, (3) commercial and (4) geo-political. They need not be exclusive and we’re likely to get some of each.

Military engagement

A lot of people seem to want to go first to testosterone, war and weapons. I’m skeptical about that. Here is my reading of the various real-world fighting scenarios, with probabilities in parentheses:

  • China attacks Philippine vessels or outposts: (25%)
  • China defends her occupied outposts: (100%)
  • China harasses US ships and planes: (65%)
  • China attacks US ships or planes: (5%)
  • Philippines attacks Chinese vessels or outposts: (15%)
  • Philippine defends her occupied outposts: (75%)
  • US attacks Chinese vessels or outposts: (0%)
  • US defends Philippine vessels or outposts attacked by Chinese vessels: (50%)

This produces a tense “status quo” holding pattern which benefits all three nations because nobody loses anything. The last bullet-point is the big question mark, which is why I put it at 50/50. The US election may reshape the US willingness to engage China. The US “physical commitment” is a significant unknown, which is itself a reason for China to probe (that’s my ‘25%’ attack probability). Do not expect China to withdraw from any current holdings. Expect China to start reclaiming Scarborough Shoal. Probing, pushing, moving always forward. Never enough to provoke confrontation. Always moving toward the goal.

Scarborough is a red line for the Philippines because a Chinese military outpost there would seal off Subic and be too close to Manila for comfort. The 15% probability that the Philippines will attack Chinese vessels or outposts presumes the Philippines might physically counter Chinese efforts to reclaim Scarborough. This would pose a test for the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and Philippines, if China countered with force.

Legal engagement

Under President Aquino, continued legal engagement probably would have been the next step. The arbitration ruling establishes case law that confirms, yes, China is in the wrong and the Philippines is being damaged. The next step might have been along the lines of Ecuador’s suit against Chevron in a Canadian court (“Court Says Chevron Can Be Pursued in Canada Over Ecuadorean Damage“).

Under this line of reasoning, the Philippines might sue China in a Canadian court for damage done to the environment at Mischief Reef, which the arbitration panel confirmed was in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). China created massive destruction of the ocean beds to build an outpost on the reef. If the Philippines won and China refused to pay the judgment, Chinese assets in Canada could be attached and awarded to the Philippines.

Highly speculative, I suppose. A long row to hoe. A 10-year project. In the meantime, the stalemate would continue. I’d fully expect China to push forward and begin extracting minerals from regions anchored by her outposts. Time is to China’s advantage.

It looks like the Duterte Administration is not interested in further legal confrontations with China. Indeed, some of the arguments we hear are that the Aquino Administration CAUSED problems by being so confrontational. The human mind is capable of all kinds of contortions, I guess.

Commercial engagement

This is the path that appears to be what the Duterte Administration favors, but it is fraught with problems. China is already insisting that, for any talks to occur, the Philippines must first trash the arbitration ruling. Does that make it clear who would drive the negotiations?

Indeed, that is why the Aquino Administration took China to arbitration. Because China’s starting point was always unreasonable, “recognize Chinese sovereignty”.

Furthermore, Associate Justice Carpio has said that conceding sovereignty to China would be a violation of the Constitution. And presumably lays the grounds for impeachment.

So it is no wonder the Duterte Administration did not react to the arbitration finding right away. And even appeared to react with disappointment.

Commercial sharing . . . the Duterte Administration’s ambition . . . is almost a non-starter for the loss of Philippine sovereignty that it represents.

Geo-Political engagement

This presumes the dispute would be joined by other nations, essentially all ASEAN states except China allies Cambodia and Laos. Add in Japan and Australia. The opposition to China could take the form of minor economic sanctions, fostering unrest within China, or a raft of court actions and even limited physical confrontation. It is not unreasonable to expect that the passive resistance would erode to become a tense and occasionally violent push versus shove.

The difficulty is that the two big dog players, the US and Chna, speak entirely different negotiating languages and operate by different principles. It is hard . . . or impossible . . . to find a diplomatic solution. It is easy to find anger rising.

China will pursue her goals because she believes she is entitled to global prominence. To appear weak is to assure unrest from within the ranks of the aging iconclasts on the Central Committee who wear their egos on their military epaulets and get high on power.

As Josephivo made clear, there are motivations far more meaningful than rocks in the ocean that are driving China.

Assessment

The Philippines may be little more than a playing card – or a chip of some value – in the face-off between US and China. Yet, the risks to the Philippines are high.

  • Setting aside US protection to remain friendly with China would leave the nation vulnerable to Chinese adventurism.
  • Establishing a close relationship with China would relegate the Philippines to servant status, a place to be mined and farmed and put to work at low-end jobs.

Remaining truly free and independent will take some good thinking and decisions. Personally, I find law to be an excellent anchor, as it is written to try to define a common good. And it puts everyone on the same page. Commercial sharing under Philippine law would be perfectly fine, and I wonder why China objects to simply buying goods extracted from Philippine territory, at fair market. I wonder why it is so difficult for China to respect other nations.

I think geo-political pushback will occur as long as China is pushing her way into other nations’ sovereign rights. I don’t like the military option, but for sure believe the Philippines has a better chance of remaining independent under an American defense umbrella than it does by going it alone. The more the Philippines can do for herself, the better, so steady build-up of defense armaments makes sense to me.

But we ought not look at China as a friend, I think. Friends respect friends, and China has zero respect for the Philippines. It’s best not to go out alone into the raging night . . . or even day . . .

 

Comments
225 Responses to “Regarding China: “Okay, so now what?”
  1. Joe America says:

    It is relevant that the Duterte Administration is now issuing statements that are a lot firmer than the initial reaction to the arbitration finding. It appears the willingness to negotiate with China is within the context of the arbitration ruling being settled law, and the Philippines will not set it aside. This assurance was also given to a visiting US senator.

    http://www.manilatimes.net/ph-sea-rights-non-negotiable-palace/274999/

    • LG says:

      Yes, a welcomed switch on the Duterte adm. stance with China.

      I just learned two days ago that our rights n claim to the WPS/SCS is even LARGER , in square kilometer area, than the entire Philippine archipelago!!!!! OMG moment for me,

      It IS then worth it to protect and have the best stewards for it. No need to fight for it. That’s done. No need for negotiations. For what? No need for talks with anybody. NADA!!!!!

      Just proceed with development plans, as any prudent owner would do with his property…Mobilize our allies for protection, development, and stewardship. It’s in their best interest, too. Frankly, it does not look like we can do ALL alone.

      If vandalists and squatters ruin the place, take them to the courts described by Associate Justice Antonio Carpio in his published commentaries (Wall Street Journal, July 14 or 15, 2016; PDI, July 21, 2016), on the PCA ruling on the SCS.

    • LG says:

      As of today, China had not changed its stance on the PCA ruling, belligerently insists on nothing but BILATERAL talks only with the Philippines.

      Ha ha ha. China…have that talk with yourself. We ain’t backin up.

      Sadly…It does not YET look like ASEAN countries are united in backing up the Philippines. Looks like some are brown nosing the richer of the feuders. Countries are much like ordinary folks, are’nt they?

      I hope FVR stacks up well to whoever he meets back door.

  2. re Military engagement,

    the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Indian_War#World_opinion would be a good place to study Chinese military strategy.

    ==========================================================

    “Then Chinese leader Mao Zedong believed the battle with India was also a political combat, and the real target was not Nehru but the US and the Soviets that had been plotting behind the scenes against China.

    As to Nehru, Mao wanted to wake him up from the superpowers’ influence by giving him a heavy punch, so that he would come to his senses and end the war. War is an extreme means of communication between civilizations. The Sino-Indian Border War was not only a special interaction of two ancient civilizations, but also an unfortunate tragedy between two formerly colonized and oppressed states.

    Mao understood this from both a historical and philosophical perspective, and so gave India room to maneuver and think during the war. By calling for a unilateral ceasefire when in an advantageous position, pulling back troops and returning prisoners of war and well-maintained weapons to India, Mao wanted to send a message of peace to India, and to lay a good foundation for long-term friendship.

    Some in India argued that these peaceful gestures were made to humiliate the Indian army. Such an understanding is narrow-minded.

    China also carefully treated Indian prisoners of war. Injured Indian soldiers were given proper medical treatment and were sent back to their homeland. Chinese soldiers were even ordered by their commander to polish seized Indian weapons and return them back to the Indian army. This was unprecedented.

    The Chinese and Indian civilizations have generally been in a friendly relationship for 2,500 years. In ancient times, Chinese Buddhists believed that India was the paradisiacal home of Buddha, and this positive feeling about India has never faded.”

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/717710.shtml

    • karlgarcia says:

      Paging Irineo,the Sun Tzu expert.I guess they still use the Art of War handbook.

      • http://filipinogerman.blogsport.eu/sun-tzu-in-filipino-chapter-12/

        15. Malas ang kapalaran ng nagnanais manalo sa labanan at paglusob pero hindi nagtuturo ng katapangan; dahil nasasayang lang ang oras at walang nangyayari.

        16. Kaya may kasabihan: ang pinunong malawak ang kaisipan, nagpaplano ng pangmatagalan; ang heneral na sanay, inaalagaan ang kanyang mga resources.

        17. Huwag kang kumilos kung wala kang bentaha; huwag mong gamitin ang puwersa mo kung walang makukuha; huwag kang lumaban kung hindi mahalaga ang posisyon.

        18. Walang pinunong dapat maglabas ng puwersa sa labanan para magpasikat; walang heneral na dapat lumaban dahil lang sa pagkapikon.

        19. Kung makakalamang ka, umabante ka; kung hindi, huwag kang kumilos.

        20. Ang galit, maaring maging kasiyahan pagdating ng panahon; pagkaasar, maaring maging pagkakuntento ang kasunod.

        21. Pero hindi mababalik ulit ang isang bansang tuluyang nawasak; hindi rin maaring buhayin ulit ang mga patay.

        Maidadagdag ko rito ang lumang estratehiyang Malay (at katutubong Pilipino na rin) – lituin ang kalaban para hindi malaman kung saan ka papunta – ganyan si Duterte. Ang hindi natin alam, kung para ito sa grupo niya, para sa Mindanao o para sa Pilipinas.

      • andy ibay says:

        MEDIO out of topic ito, pero baka mag rechochet ….

        I was second year in a Manila public high school in 1953, there was talk of WWIII coming in may be in 1956-57. That did not happen. At the start of the cold war, there was prophecy (Nostradamus? But not Madame Auring) THAT THE FREE WORLD NEED NOT WORRY because USSR (Stalin and Kruscheve) and the USA (Gen. Ike and his successors) will JOIN FORCES to defeat RED CHINA (Mao and Deng). THAT ALSO DID NOT HAPPEN. WWIII the improbable second BIG BANG remains an incredible accident waiting to happen. Eh. These words admittedly are like hydrogen atoms HARMLESS in the atmosphere LONG before FISSION in the Manhattan Project put the Heroshima and Nagasaki HORROR in the WWII map.

        As I stood by an RR crossing watching the sign STOP, LOOK, LISTEN:

        THIS IS NOT WORLD VIEW. BUT MAYBE A BILATERAL WORLD POWER VIEW.

        Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate
        Paul Krugman JULY 22, 2016
        THE NEW YORK TIMES

        If elected, would Donald Trump be Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House? This should be a ludicrous, outrageous question. After all, he must be a patriot — he even wears hats promising to make America great again.

        But we’re talking about a ludicrous, outrageous candidate. And the Trump campaign’s recent behavior has quite a few foreign policy experts wondering just what kind of hold Mr. Putin has over the Republican nominee, and whether that influence will continue if he wins.
        I’m not talking about merely admiring Mr. Putin’s performance — being impressed by the de facto dictator’s “strength,” and wanting to emulate his actions. I am, instead, talking about indications that Mr. Trump would, in office, actually follow a pro-Putin foreign policy, at the expense of America’s allies and her own self-interest.

        That’s not to deny that Mr. Trump does, indeed, admire Mr. Putin. On the contrary, he has repeatedly praised the Russian strongman, often in extravagant terms. For example, when Mr. Putin published an article attacking American exceptionalism, Mr. Trump called it a “masterpiece.”

        But admiration for Putinism isn’t unusual in Mr. Trump’s party. Well before the Trump candidacy, Putin envy on the right was already widespread.
        For one thing, Mr. Putin is someone who doesn’t worry about little things like international law when he decides to invade a country. He’s “what you call a leader,” declared Rudy Giuliani after Russia invaded Ukraine.

        It’s also clear that the people who gleefully chanted “Lock her up” — not to mention the Trump adviser who called for Hillary Clinton’s execution — find much to admire in the way Mr. Putin deals with his political opponents and critics. By the way, while the Secret Service is investigating the comments about executing Mrs. Clinton, all the Trump campaign had to say was that it “does not agree with those statements.”

        And many on the right also seem to have a strange, rather creepy admiration for Mr. Putin’s personal style. Rush Limbaugh, for example, declared that while talking to President Obama, “Putin probably had his shirt off practicing tai chi.”

        All of this is, or should be, deeply disturbing; what would the news media be saying if major figures in the Democratic Party routinely praised leftist dictators? But what we’re now seeing from Mr. Trump and his associates goes beyond emulation, and is starting to look like subservience.

        First, there was the Ukraine issue — one on which Republican leaders have consistently taken a hard line and criticized Mr. Obama for insufficient action, with John McCain, for example, accusing the president of “weakness.” And the G.O.P. platform was going to include a statement reaffirming this line, but it was watered down to blandness on the insistence of Trump representatives.

        Then came Mr. Trump’s interview with The New York Times, in which, among other things, he declared that even if Russia attacked members of NATO he would come to their aid only if those allies — which we are bound by treaty to defend — have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

        Now, some of this is Mr. Trump’s deep ignorance of policy, his apparent inability to understand that you can’t run the U.S. government the way he has run his ramshackle business empire. We know from many reports about his stiffing of vendors, his history of profiting from enterprises even as they go bankrupt, that he sees contracts as suggestions, clear-cut financial obligations as starting points for negotiation. And we know that he sees fiscal policy as no different; he has already talked about renegotiating U.S. debt. So why should we be surprised that he sees diplomatic obligations the same way?
        But is there more to the story? Is there some specific channel of influence?
        We do know that Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, has worked as a consultant for various dictators, and was for years on the payroll of Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a Putin ally.

        And there are reasons to wonder about Mr. Trump’s own financial interests. Remember, we know nothing about the true state of his business empire, and he has refused to release his taxes, which might tell us more. We do know that he has substantial if murky involvement with wealthy Russians and Russian businesses. You might say that these are private actors, not the government — but in Mr. Putin’s crony-capitalist paradise, this is a meaningless distinction.

        At some level, Mr. Trump’s motives shouldn’t matter. We should be horrified at the spectacle of a major-party candidate casually suggesting that he might abandon American allies — just as we should be horrified when that same candidate suggests that he might welsh on American financial obligations. But there’s something very strange and disturbing going on here, and it should not be ignored.

        Read my blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, and follow me on Twitter, @PaulKrugman.
        ——————–

        If you’d come this far, I thank Joe Am for his blog space, hoping this re posting meets the society’s purpose –andy ibay

    • Micha says:

      Lance,

      In 1962 China is already nuclear armed via heavy technological assistance from the USSR while India only started to develop its atomic weapons capability in the 1970’s.

      Atomic deterrence to border aggression seems to work for India because in the subsequent 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish “both sides decided to take up talks with renewed urgency and the following year, Rajiv Gandhi visited Beijing, returning Zhou Enlai’s ’60s visit”.

      The Philippines should seriously consider the option.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Sino-Indian_skirmish

      • Micha,

        Although I’m a big fan of nukes playing a symbolic role like some sort of weird rites of passage of nations (welcome to the club), wherein when you have nukes you’re afforded a certain level of respect compared to nations w/out nukes—- ie., as soon as Libya was w/out nukes, Qaddafi wasn’t as sexy 😉 .

        In the Philippines nukes will have to be under the Americans (visiting nukes), otherwise, parts of it will only end up in the black market.

        So I do appreciate the value of having nukes, but my reading of nukes re India and China, is that although all countries concerned here that have nukes are expanding, at the end of the day they only have 250 for China, maybe 180 for India, then 160 for Pakistan (all numbers give or take).

        India’s nukes are trained on Pakistan, while Pakistan’s nukes to India.

        During the years in question, both Sino-Indian border wars, on both sides of the Himalayas, whether the first or the second, the most likely scenario in the 70s-80s would be that China’s nukes were trained on Russia (and the US).

        I don’t think both India and China have nukes or their attack plans include each other. But then again I’m less familiar with these nukes stuff, this is the purview of RAND now 😉 , a game I’m less familiar with.

        But what I was trying to hammer at is the way China uses its military power, which is to say that its a lot more holistic than how the US uses its military power, which is almost ad-hoc, case by case (the US goes to war w/out an end game in mind)— so study that. Also focus on how deep China looks at its history and uses that in context to solving its conflicts (or not solving it).

        So my point is study how China uses its military, and use it at the bargaining table— arming the Philippines with nukes is what Americans would do , the question here is what would China do ?

        Consistent with my premise in the ‘rage’ article is that the Philippines should be appealing to China’s better nature, that’s the big strategy here. I don’t think the Philippines has that enough of crazy to play the MAD game https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_assured_destruction — both in knowledge and discipline.

        • Micha says:

          Would China have been less aggressive in its border conflict with India if the latter did not developed its nuclear program? Nope, not likely.

          China de-escalated the conflict with India in 1987 because it recognized the latter’s nuclear capability. Where India trains its warhead is immaterial. They have the delivery system to make ground zero in either Karachi or Beijing.

          The suggestion for the Philippines to go on a nuclear option is borne by the unpredictability of Chinese ambitions. You never know they will only stop in Mischief Reef.

          • “They have the delivery system to make ground zero in either Karachi or Beijing.”

            Micha,

            I’m not read-up on ICBM technology. So I’m falling back on mortars and artillery, and though I know you can move around both mortars and artillery easily, once the shit hits the fan, between having to move ’em around and already knowing where/how each position is advantageous makes a world of difference.

            ie. training it on Pakistan, then having to re-adjust towards China, just seems counter productive.

            So I’d be curious if you had more on delivery system technology and how it plays here,

            But my point re MAD is that this is the only game-rules set, so aside from logistics (technology we’re debating here) , whether or not it is truly immaterial, when you game it out, which I’m sure India and China have, 200 vs. 2,000 doesn’t even meet the MAD criteria,

            so I’m sure both nations negotiated with nukes probably the furthest in their minds.

            “Would China have been less aggressive in its border conflict with India if the latter did not developed its nuclear program? Nope, not likely.”

            I’d say it has less to do with nukes, than with China acknowledging bigger priorities, aside from Indian borders.

            • josephivo says:

              All is GPS guided today, backed-up with less accurate inertia systems and/or visual (terrain or star based) guidance systems. To redirect, the only thing to do is readjust the coordinates I guess (and maybe readjust GPS transmission methods in function of the enemy jamming systems?) Military GPS accuracy is 30cm for the military, that should suffice to drop a nuclear weapon in a ventilation shaft of less than one meter.

              For yesterday’s solutions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_guidance#GOLIS_systems, all off the shelf commercially available.

              • Micha, josephivo,

                OK so it is pretty easy to divert to another target , but then there’s the question of MAD, how does that play into nukes playing a big role in negotiations? 😉 Is the logic here that so long as India can get a couple of nukes inside China, while knowing fully that waaaay more nukes will be inbound, a fair tit-for-tat? It just doesn’t make sense, sorry. 😉 Sun Tzu’s winning w/out fighting approach makes more sense here.

              • DAgimas says:

                does not matter if you are off by 5 meters or 5 kilometers. these are nukes. it will have the same devastating effect whether you hit the city center or not by 5 kilometers off target

              • I’d like to add that for folks that have nukes but w/ a limited amount, you don’t play the MAD game, you play the crazy game, ie. Iran & N. Korea (an extortion game) … both India and China don’t play the ‘act all crazy and worry other nations’ game 😉 (at least as far as nukes go) .

              • Micha says:

                @Lance

                MAD is the whole point of nuclear deterrence. You make the aggressor country think twice before, say, messing up with your border or your EEZ.

              • Exactly, Micha! That’s my point, if the Destruction is neither Mutual nor Assured, then there’s really no use considering nukes in each’s calculus. Essentially the bluff has to be real, that’s how MAD is played, hence the need for equity in both’s arsenal 😉 — this isn’t a David and Goliath scenario.

              • Micha says:

                Lance,

                North Korea’s nuclear stockpile is much less than that of its professed mortal enemy, the United States. Why has America not yet moved in to destroy/annihilate/pulverize that country by raining it with atom bombs?

              • karlgarcia says:

                NSA tried,but Stuxnet failed because North Korea has limited internet.

              • Micha says:

                NSA tried to bomb North Korea?

              • “Why has America not yet moved in to destroy/annihilate/pulverize that country by raining it with atom bombs?”

                Micha,

                it’s not MAD that the N. Koreans are playing, it’s simply extortion,

                ie. the N. Koreans are saying we’ll go bat shit crazy here if we don’t get what we want… Not the same as the Indian-China border situation, none of the parties are feigning use of nukes is what I’m saying… I’m sure both countries have it in the back of the minds, but bigger aspects are being considered, nukes being the less.

                Fear of N. Korean nukes isn’t what’s preventing the US from dropping bombs, IMHO, the biggest fear is that the last nukes dropped in populated areas was by us—- that’s the biggest preventive force right now post-Cold War, IMHO, conscience and/or remorse. 😦

              • “NSA tried to bomb North Korea?”

                Tried to make it bomb itself, is what I think karl is saying. 😉

              • Micha says:

                @Lance

                There you go. You don’t necessarily have to play MAD when acquiring nuclear weapons. You could just simply employ it for deterrence from outside aggression.

                If it so happens that the NK’s were able to extort something from the US in the process, well then, why, you should give North Koreans credit for being geniuses at negotiating.

              • Micha,

                The basis of the “deterrence” is that the bluff has to be real, either thru numbers (MAD) or through the crazy act (extortion). If the Philippines— like India—cannot match China’s nuke arsenal, there’s no need for nukes; if the Philippines— like N. Korea— cannot act crazy, there’s no need for nukes. The jig would be up from the git-go 😉 .

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yeah that is what I was trying to say Lance,and also to sabotage their nuke program.Could have been easier if Nokor was online.

              • Micha says:

                It’s a defensive arsenal to preserve your territorial integrity from outside aggressors because it gives you credible leverage.

                All this is moot and academic now in the case of the Philippines – a small poor country not immune from bullying and aggression from communist perverts which even the US has difficulty reigning in precisely because it’s a nuclear armed military powerhouse.

                As Teilhard de Chardin said, the advent of nuclear weapons makes war unnecessary.

                Name one country waging war of aggression against a nuclear armed independent sovereign state.

                None. Zero. Zilch.

                And that’s the point.

              • Joe America says:

                Downright persuasive argument.

              • “As Teilhard de Chardin said, the advent of nuclear weapons makes war unnecessary.”

                But there’s been more shooting wars during the Cold War, and rebellions even in & against countries that have nukes. 😉

                “It’s a defensive arsenal to preserve your territorial integrity from outside aggressors because it gives you credible leverage.”

                I get that. But if you’re not gonna use it per MAD , or for extortion, it’ll be simply there as a show piece.

                “Name one country waging war of aggression against a nuclear armed independent sovereign state.”

                Pakistan and India in the Kashmir, the Palestinians have no qualms constantly attacking Israel and they have nukes. South Koreans and North Koreans consistently and regularly exchanges volleys. Both the USA and Russia fought proxy wars and they were with nukes the whole time. Argentina waged war against the UK. France I guess would be the most responsible, though France is very active in the West Africa when it comes to counter-terrorism and stability ops… I guess you can count Algerian separatists in the mix re France.

              • karlgarcia says:

                How come Wikipedia says that Israel only allegedly possess nuclear weapons.

              • karl,

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

                “Israel has never officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, instead repeating over the years that it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East, leaving ambiguity as to whether it means it will not create, will not disclose, will not make first use of the weapons or possibly some other interpretation of the phrase.”

              • Micha says:

                1. Pakistan and India – nope, no active war of aggression going on in there. Detente ensues as both recognize the other’s nuclear capability.

                2. Israel and Palestine – Palestinians are on the defensive. It’s the Israelis who are grabbing their territory.

                3. South and North Korea – no active war of aggression going on in there either. Border integrity is intact. DMZ is secured.

                4. US and Russia – even during the height of the cold war, neither side hasn’t thought of grabbing a piece of land from the other. The conflict was settled on ideological grounds not in the war fields.

                5. UK and Argentina – the Falkland Island sits right next to Argentina. By geographical reckoning, it is obviously theirs, in much the same way that Scarborough Shoal is ours. Argentina did not make war of aggression in mainland Britain. End game : Argentina surrendered to militarily superior Brits.

              • Wait, wait, how are you defining wars of aggression here, Micha, are you qualifying it with size/duration, etc.?

                1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_conflict#1999_Conflict_in_Kargil

                2. (I guess we can argue who’s doing the aggressing ad infinitum, so let me exchange Palestine with Lebanon) Google ‘2006 Lebanon War’.

                3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_border_incidents_involving_North_Korea#2010s

                4. “The conflict was settled on ideological grounds not in the war fields.” I’m pretty sure the Afghan war bled the Soviets dry (but that’s another story), but I agree no incursions occurred during the Cold War, though NATO’s push east and Russia’s push to the Arctic merit a second look.

                5. Argentina knew that the Falklands was UK territory, they attacked knowing full well that the UK had nukes. “much the same way that Scarborough Shoal is ours.” are there Filipinos living in Scarborough Shoal? “The population (2,932 inhabitants in 2012) primarily consists of native-born Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.”

              • Micha says:

                From your own wiki supplied link :

                Fears of the Kargil War turning into a nuclear war provoked the then-United States President Bill Clinton to pressure Pakistan to retreat. The Pakistan Army withdrew their remaining troops from the area, ending the conflict. India regained control of the Kargil peaks, which they now patrol and monitor all year long.

              • Micha,

                Whatever Pres. Clinton’s fears were is immaterial,

                your premise was this: “Name one country waging war of aggression against a nuclear armed independent sovereign state.” Does that still hold?

              • Micha says:

                Absolutely.

                The Jammu Kashmir area is disputed by both China, India, and Pakistan but because all three are nuclear armed, detente ensue.

              • Micha,

                Maybe you meant full scale invasion wars of the ‘Red Dawn’ variety. But again not necessarily due to nukes, one can argue nations with nukes also have pretty modern military equipment, ie. you also don’t see invasions or proxy wars against Canada and Australia 😉 .

                But your basing your premise here that when nations have nukes, there is less wars… my point is that the opposite is true, more proxy wars ensue, though wars of aggression (albeit small ones) do occur, ie. Argentina vs. UK (with British citizens actually on the islands, that’s an invasion) then Lebanon vs. Israel (Hizbullah was is the party controlling , representing Lebanaon in 2006) , and Pakistan vs. India (cross border incursions to actually seize points is a war of aggression).

                With nukes there is still plenty of wars that occur… whether that’s a consequence of having nukes, I don’t know, but makes this statement dubious “the advent of nuclear weapons makes war unnecessary.”

              • Micha says:

                Contemplating the horrific scenario of a full scale nuclear war between nations makes it unnecessary to send in old fashioned battalion troops to invade/conquer another country.

                If Iraq was nuclear armed, George Junior would not have dared to take on Sadam.

                The US will not dare to take on North Korea’s psychopathic leader because he’s got his finger on a nuclear hot button.

                Cold war nemesis US and USSR did not dare to turn it into a hot war.

                China, India, and Pakistan de-escalated their border conflict because both are nuclear armed.

                France and Germany is trying very hard to live peacefully with each other by embarking on the EU project because they can’t imagine to repeat the horrors of a major war.

                Britain’s imperial days are over and has dutifully turned over its Hong Kong possession to its rightful nuclear armed mother country.

                Japan has altogether renounced war of aggression and only explicitly maintains an army for defensive purposes because it very well knows what it was like in Hiroshima in August of 1945.

                That is what Teilhard de Chardin meant.

    • karlgarcia says:

      India is mad at us for disqualifying them for the frigate aquisition despite bidding the lowest.

  3. comparing india and china being both colonized nations…india was colonized (raped) by england alone…china was gangraped by several european nations not to mention japan…so china has more contempt and hatred inside her towards (american, european and japanese) tacit meddling.
    I doubt if any true and honest relationship can ever come between the Phlippines and China, not then…surely not now….( China has a history of holding a grudge…We have a history of never forgetting our victories …lol) Without the active participation of other nations who believe not only in the legality of the U.N. PCA ruling, but of China’s design for expansionism, the chances of a military confrontation becomes higher…The U.S., Japan, India, Auttralia, France..etc…are a deterrent to China’s plans. China knows it is easier to control their citizens than gambling on an (military) encounter in the WPS (calculated or not)….But to save face…they have to maintain an appearance of being steadfast….until the conditions are right….but for sure…if our government fails to take positive action…the momentum we have gained, the goodwill we have earned will count for naught.

    • Joe America says:

      Very keen assessment, Elmer. I wonder, if the Philippines were powerful, would she be a nice nation? Or a thug?

      • about half a century ago, when we were probably the best armed nation in south east asia, none of our leaders ever thought of positioning our country as being a bully, we were actually the opposite…so in all honesty…I’d say we would be a friendly nation….being a thug actually goes against the grain of the Filipino psyche…back then, being a thug would probably be considered as an abberation…..

  4. uht says:

    The Chinese have classically have had a proud view of themselves, but that view has been broken over and over by foreign powers in the last few centuries. Now it has the power to rival those foreign powers, how will it act? Will it be an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth? Or something better?

    We should take note of what happens then too, as if and when we become a great country in our own right, we will come to this crossroads as well. Jose Rizal wrote in the last chapters of El Fili, “Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?” To quote a phrase that is popular among the Basque people of France and Spain, perhaps the answer to be neither slave nor tyrant.

    • chempo says:

      I have to interject a bit of perspective.

      China was a civilised nation long before the Europeans. They were the first to to have a great naval fleet. They almost circum-navigated the globe long before Magellan, Columbus, Francis Drake and others. But they visited places with respect and for trade. To cement relationships, they brought with them bountiful loads of princesses (the lesser ones) and married them off to local chieftains. How do you rate them their actions in comparision to the Europeans who came later and combed the new worlds, took away whatever gold or precious resources, convert by the sword.

      China’s nine-dash line action goes against the grain of Chinese historical respect for foreign countries. Apparently China is sort of a Johnny-come-lately,

  5. NHerrera says:

    Joe, I agree with many of your thoughts in the blog.

    The world as one big GO game board. That is part of the mentality involved. Go requires skill, patience sometimes and quick action at other times when the situation demands it. It requires to win: minding the local or regional play in the board but equally minding the far global wider part of the board. The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese are the world’s experts in the game.

    To be sure too, the Chinese are a creative, intelligent people (creativity being partly diminished by the authoritarian regime on certain matters, but not on those that are encouraged such as in cyber war and in commerce). A long history — from before Marco Polo through the periods of humiliation described above by Elmer to the present time of military, economic and geo-political power — from which to draw their model for action.

    I have a two-paragraph preamble to make this statement: that in the scheme of things, in this world GO game, there are only a few countries to watch out for in the Chinese view — the US, Japan, and a few other countries. Further:

    – The economy of the world including that of the countries mentioned above are so tied up with the Chinese economy that these countries, including the US and Japan themselves, will have to assess their situations vis-à-vis China and their own respective goals — meaning don’t make enemies unnecessarily because of the boomerang.

    – Sure, there are statements uttered after the PCA ruling but in diplomatish, something that may be couched in a lot stronger terms if such countries’ economies are weakly tied with China.

    – Our own regional association, ASEAN is demonstrably weak, if not silent in the main, in its statements after the ruling, with Cambodia and Laos there.

    – China has lifelines to South America, Africa and the Middle Eastern countries in this global game for influence and as sources of valuable materials.

    – It has an advantage over the democracies in the speed of adapting to changes because of their authoritarian government.

    – Losing face is a human trait, but strongest in the Asian character.

    I have oversold the Chinese side only to demonstrate that the Philippines together perhaps with Vietman and Indonesia are small local games in the Board. Becoming significant only on the extent to which the players such as US and Japan play the game.

    We have of course the fly in the Chinese ointment — it’s economic slowdown and its trajectory down the road dragged down, among others with it’s aging demographics, and the overall effect on the populace of the slowdown. Perhaps even the reality of this emboldens its leaders to continue with its warlike stance on those foreign barbarians, to divert the populace attention.

    The nationalistic side of me rebels against the tenor of my notes here, most of which are borrowed concepts. But sometimes the gamer in me — I play Go as an amateur — takes the better of me. Especially if I lose against myself in the game, hahaha.

    • “I play Go as an amateur”

      NHerrera,

      You’re actually the only person I’ve read who wrote using the game Go as metaphor, who also plays Go… 80% of articles I’ve read on China always uses this metaphor—- and the ones who wrote ’em don’t even play Go!

      I don’t play Go, I’ve watched several how-to videos on youtube 😉 . I don’t get it.

      So when I meet Chinese, whether from Taiwan (a lot of them here) or mainland China, I always ask them if they play Go.

      And time and again, the Chinese are always, nope it’s too hard, or too boring, or that’s for old people, I don’t play Go! Most though play Chinese checkers. But I’d say their game is Poker, that or Pai-Gao, but more and more of them play Poker.

      So in these Chinese experts’ article that I’ve read, the metaphor has always been Go vs. Chess, at least many in the military and diplomats do play chess. I think though these articles are simply using Go as metaphor, not so much for the actual game, but more to symbolize Go as this mystery game of sorts, more mystical than chess, that we just can’t play.

      I think it’s wrong, and only adds to the misunderstanding.

      To continue this metaphor game, I think instead of playing this ‘we don’t understand each other’ card, everyone on the table is better served with one game everyone plays, say Poker, then expand on said analogy.

      We all walk on two legs, use two arms, poop, pee and hump the same, eat the same, drink the same, breathe the same, love and hate the same, we may differ in language and culture, but I’d say 90% we understand each other more than not— so let’s work with that.

      ‘Go vs. Chess’ does more of a disservice, IMHO.

      But going back to you actually playing Go, NHerrera, how about a blog on how Go is actually played (like a how-to), and how it applies to how China is moving, this would be a step up from all other uses of the Go metaphor in past Chinese articles.

      What do you think of Poker? 😉

      • NHerrera says:

        LCpl_X,

        Sorry, I do not play poker.

        On Go, I may give it a try but there are lots of online resources that already do a very good job. Here are two links.

        http://www.usgo.org/learn-play

        http://www.learngo.co.uk/index.html

        The first link is the American Go Association (AGA) which has a video giving a nice introduction. The second is a more detailed text-and-diagram introduction to the game.

        I suggest you go over these if you have plenty of time on your hands, like being caught in the airport with raging storm outside promising to hold you there for some days — but with enough food, drink provisions; and Internet connection. But toilet facilities, if you have a not-too-young bladder? But knowing you, a tech geek, you may have a personal solution for that — so you can time your visit to the place and empty the up-to-capacity storage.

      • chempo says:

        Lance, it’s mahjong. You’re not Chinese if you can’t play mahjong.

        • NHerrera says:

          Aah, mahjong. My departed father was an addict on the game.

          • chemp, NHerrera… I’m not really interested in playing Go (I tried, I just don’t get it, I’m more of checkers and tic-tac-to guy 😉 LOL!),

            but I’m more interested in how the game Go applies geo-politically to how China’s moving its pieces, not just as metaphor here, but a move by move rending of China’s maneuvers here, according to how Go is actually played by an actual Go player. That I think would be an awesome article.

            As for Mah-Jong, let me google if this applies to China’s movements— I think Go does apply I just haven’t read an in-depth accounting of Go and China’s moves.

            • NHerrera says:

              LCpl_X,

              My use of the go game in my post commenting on Joe’s blog is really a metaphor. The association is suggested by my being conversant with the game at a beginner or amateur level, territorial ambitions of China, the player China having risen to the “high dan” level of go to view the world as its stage as in the go game and of course to win or try to win the game against the master player US who in its history — whether by design or initially by accident of events in its history — has also played the world stage as a go game board.

              I am still thinking about your suggestion, but unless I get a good enough set of data to connect the dots, and making such a blog article interesting and provocative enough, this post is my last post on the matter (of course, contingent also on Joe passing such an article). Meantime, I am viewing and playing a go game with myself on the digital equivalent of the go board and go stones (the wonder of the electronic age) in between viewing Joe’s website and items about the preparation or anticipation about PRD’s SONA. There is the build-up to that. Wilfredo’s Sunday article on this blog seems timed for that too.

    • Joe America says:

      A lot of good thinking here. I don’t think you’ve oversold the Chinese side at all. I find fascinating the notion that time is a strategic element. Most of us are just reacting, reading history, and going forward. We are too much in motion or impatient to USE time. I also see China’s push for resources as having a soft limit, that the farther away from home she goes, the harder it is to walk a mile. It may be that the best approach for the Philippines is to worry about other things, and just spend some TIME using law to defend her position, and holding firm to the BARRIER that imposes. The arbitration hearing was a very sharp stick in the eye to China.

      Meanwhile, let’s do a lot of other things, including really getting to know Benham Rise well.

      • NHerrera says:

        Why indeed not turn our eye to the pretty maiden to our East, though not as alluring as the contested one to our left. I know from the days of my youth that a contested one somehow seems more desirable.

  6. Francis says:

    I had this epiphany yesterday. Reflecting on China and the PH. That we are making a mistake like “House of Cards” as it were—to confuse politics as games of palace intrigue. Politics as that of a game played by only “great” men; an article I once skimmed though asked something along the lines of—as I liberally paraphrase: “Where is the public in all of this—in this intrigue of democracy?”

    Yes—morals are “fancy-shmancy” indeed. On the surface. Especially in the brutal world of competing nation-states—the UN less Leviathan and more pet goldfish. But why do people act the way that they do? Why do their “Hows” go so far? I contend this: that the powerful “Hows” are driven by powerful “Whys” in the end. I am ruthless because I want to uphold the good of my parent, sibling and relative—and the parent, sibling and relative that I see in my fellow citizens.

    There is a certain morality in defending what is yours and ours. Pure realpolitik fails in this regard like classical economics. Man is not homo economicus. Man is not homo rational. Man’s reason has heart—emotion—at the driver’s seat, ultimately. Reason only governs how well the heart’s wishes are implemented.

    So I think we are committing a grave mistake—treating China with scorn. Equaling government to the people. Equaling party to the citizenry. Making “China” the other we must despise. I say—the answer may lie in kumbaya! Kumbaya! Ah—what do I mean by this? I mean—let us appeal to the Chinese people. Reach out to them directly. For we know how constrained the hands of the leading diplomats at Beijing are—how the regime has to use patriotic anger to distract their citizens! But this anger isn’t pure fakery! And how that patriotic anger has taken a life of its own—a genie out of the bottle! There is basis! Basis! That we must understand with empathy!

    I can’t express this in mere rational explanation. I believe I can best express this in a heartfelt letter to all the Chinese propaganda workers (I refuse to call you trolls as a sign of respect, so that you may respect what I have to say) listening out there and reading, for the sake of job that, I know, feeds your families and is done out of patriotic duty for the motherland.

    To the Chinese People,

    Don’t you remember? How the British drugged your people with opium. How the Foreigners occupied your ports. How the Japanese promised your people with flattering words—Asia for Asians—and abused you. Don’t you remember? You remember. I know. You feel humiliated even up to now. Now—that China is strong—you want to prove those Japanese and Westerners wrong. This is China’s century.

    We will not be shamed again, you tell yourselves.

    We know how you feel. We are Filipinos. We’ve been conquered by the Spanish and British. The Americans—they helped us win against the Spanish—but betrayed us in the end. The Japanese abused our women just as they did with ours. We have been humiliated. We know your pain. We are your brothers and sisters. We know your shame.

    We want to be strong too. We want to show those Westerners and Japanese that we are strong too.

    So from the bottom of our hearts—we beg you, 大哥中国! Look into the mirror and see! See how your countrymen drug us with shabu! See how your navy occupies our seas—even as those seas are right next to our shores! See how you treat international agreements like nothing—like the Westerners that dared impose unequal treaties on you without care for your shame! See how you promise us Asian brotherhood—as you treat us like slaves and vassals! See how you are now British, American and Japanese to us! See how you hurt your 小哥菲律宾!

    Please. Prove to the world that the Chinese century shall surely be bright—by gaining honor not only for the Chinese people, but also for all peoples of the world.

    Sincerely,
    A Brother, The Filipino People

    • Micha says:

      Francis, thanks for your excellent take on the issue but as long as the politburo perverts holds court in imperial China, appeals to diplomatic rationality will most likely be ignored.

      Some self-proclaimed prophets have even warned that WW3 will be fought over events in South China Sea.

      Now we should of course hope that the prophets are wrong but it seems that the neocons in the west are also itching for war.

      • Francis says:

        Regardless of whether the one in charge is a politburo or an elected president—the government will always have the temptation of using the dispute to distract the public with patriotic anger. The sad thing about this is that this patriotic anger may take a life of its own. The people can no longer be reeled back. The leadership—for example: the military—might start becoming too attatched to their narrative for objective utilization of it.

        The Party—needing to stay in power always and thus more tempted—is actually more vulnerable to the whims of the people and more constrained in dealing with this dispute compared to democracies. They do not have the famous authoritarian “ignore the people, get efficient results” button for this sticky situation, unlike when they pursued radical economic reform.

        But note at the key factors. People. Anger.

        I can’t help but think of a common failing when many people try to resolve their disputes with each other—explicitly appealing solely (read: solely) to reason, and therefore implicitly saying that, “I have a more logical stance. I am more logical. I am more right. I am correct.” This is somewhat amusing.

        For it ignores that disputes—above being “logical” problems—are “human” problems. To me—appealing solely to logic in a dispute is somewhat akin to a “force makes right” argument. Actually—it is such an argument: “brain force makes right” argument, as it were. Disputes aren’t just “logical” problems to be solved—there are “emotional” problems to be solved there as well.

        In fact, I would contend that above being “logical” problems—disputes ARE “emotional” problems. The parties involved don’t just see they don’t get enough—they feel (emphasis: feel) that they don’t get enough. They are aggrieved.

        Hence, an appeal not to their reason via diplomatic rationality but to their heart via sentimentality.

        • A better understanding of how the Communist party actually works would be helpful here, we can kinda see its inner workings at the national level, but not so, in the local level… but I suspect the local level in China isn’t so different from the local level in the Philippines, so at the very least, you guys have that in common.

          What you guys also have in common is the environment (this one we all share in this… 😉 )… remember Chairman Mao swimming across the Yangtze at Wuhan? He’ll be taking a big risk if he did it today. 😦

          That’s the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge behind the Chairman, google Wuhan river pollution:

          “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

          ― Heraclitus

    • “Where is the public in all of this—in this intrigue of democracy?”

      Exactamondo, Francis!!! 😉

      Our Chinese brethren are dying, how can we help. How can we help each other? How can we move forward with a win-win scenario?

      And to me, it’s climate change that’ll connect everyone.

    • Joe America says:

      I do like the message, for it puts all of history into a nice, reasonable and heartfelt portrait. I just don’t know how to get that message out to enough people of authority to change the national mindset. The internet workers are an army pushing the State message. They don’t have the latitude to have a heart. The masses are being brainwashed through captured media, and believe Filipinos are thieving troublemakers. The Committee members, as near as I can tell, are so racially above Filipinos and red haired devils that they can’t relate to words of “same” or “equality”. I think about the Philippines, and what a normal, predictable, safe, respectful, capable guy Roxas is, but the “world” people operate in is so warped by self-interest, ignorance and emotion that even the best of messages can’t get through.

      I rather think the solution is to club each other to the edge of death until the stupid leadership people grasp that it is better to work together than club. Pragmatics work where ideals do not.

      • Francis says:

        “I rather think the solution is to club each other to the edge of death until the stupid leadership people grasp that it is better to work together than club.”

        I wish this wasn’t the case. We are so small. And they have such a huge club.

        “…Pragmatics work where ideals do not.”

        Me thinks ideals are present here—just that ideals aren’t always good and happy things. I can’t help but feel that the Chinese are driven by pragmatism, yes, to secure WPH/SCH sea—but the sheer bluntness of their methods is telling; might that bluntness originate from a warped pursuit of an ideal: to achieve rightful place for the motherland?

        Where passion is—ideals and idealism aren’t far behind, me thinks. Hence—an appeal to ideals, to the heart. Because as I’ve said above: disputes ARE “emotional” problems. The parties involved don’t just see they don’t get enough—they feel (emphasis: feel) that they don’t get enough. They are aggrieved.

        And even leaders (well, at least the non-sociopathic ones) are human.

        ————-++++++++++++++—————-

        But yes, I acknowledge the validity of your points. They make this situation seem to be as difficult a dispute as that between sibling and sibling or parent and child. Hopefully—dealing with global issues (like climate change) might soften the hearts of everyone.

  7. Chivas says:

    Joe, I suggest you use Cloudflare(Content Delivery Network) for increased security, it’s free. Also, WordPress security plugins:Wordfence, Sucuri and Shield.

  8. DAgimas says:

    i submit the best strategy is to develop the economy and not to depend on one country for trade and investments, especially if this country is hostile to us. just look at Vietnam. for all their martial posturing, the Chinese really hold them by their neck because they depend on them for trade and investments. this is hard to achieve but it is working right now for the Philippines

    I read somewhere else that a Chinese company approached a german parts manufacturer for a sizeable order. but the german declined the business offer because if they accept the order, it will result on one company cornering more than 20% of their business. and they don’t want that to happen. the reason is it wreak havoc on their business when this company decided not to continue buying from them. I know you are thinking about that 70:30 rule but it really makes sense.

    • There’s a similar story re First Solar, http://www.firstsolar.com/About-Us/History , which ironically also went to Germany. Germany in this case though rolled out the red carpet for First Solar, and First Solar essentially because a German success story.

      First Solar first attempted to expand in the US in the mid-1990s, since this is a US firm, but was side-lined by the fossil fuel industry/lobby.

      With every politician and unions grumbling about lost of American manufacturing, First Solar could’ve totally expanded manufacturing in the US since the 1990s, but instead of First Solar being an American company, it instead expanded outward— which in and of itself, isn’t bad, but the American blue-collar worker missed out big time.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Solar#Production_history

      I know Obama’s failed Solyndra backing was a big deal re the solar industry in the US, it was Obama’s way of fixing what happened with First Solar. The Solyndra fiasco notwithstanding, really all that’s needed is for the US gov’t to say, we are moving from fossil fuel to renewables and this is the numbers… a vision and a plan of action, instead we’re dragging our feet with fracking.

  9. caliphman says:

    The US claims no sovereign interest over the waters surrounding these rocks which are in dispute between the Philippines and China. To think it will choose sides between the Philippines and China as to who rightfully owns the reef is hard to imagine much less engage the Chinese in military hostilities due to the latter seizing or fortifying it as an armed artificial island. The US and China are no longer engaged in a gigantic ideological struggle of opposing political economic systems. The US is primarily involved because it as well as other powerful nations have the military might to enforce the UNCLOS provisions which guarantee unobstructed passage over international shipping and aerial routes. Will it risk engaging in combat with a China who asserts that a vast expanse of the China Sea itself is its territory and subject to its control inspite of the fact that China itself signed and ratified the UNCLOS agreement defining control and use of the seas? It has and will continue to do so as it has done in the Atlantic, Persian Gulf, and even in the Black Sea. It does so because it still sees itself as the world’s policeman and a flourishing international trade is in its national self-interest.

    How the Philippines deals with China in restoring the status quo where its fishermen had access to traditional and very rich fishing areas around Scarborough reefs is a separate issue which can only involve the US if it affects its obligations under existing mutual defense treaties.

    • “The US and China are no longer engaged in a gigantic ideological struggle of opposing political economic systems. “

      Exactly, caliphman… border issues are borders issues, there’s a way bigger picture that needs to be considered 😉 .

      the US is sending fracking experts as a way to alleviate Chinese concerns over South China sea and its existential pollution problems, watch these videos:


      • I think the last video here gives us a glimpse into how the local communist gov’t operates,

        and since the Philippines has a more evolved local grassroots environmental repertoire when compared to Chinese citizens , ie. NGOs, foreign liaison, collaboration, etc. and a lawyering infrastructure (from school to practice especially along side human and environmental rights) …

        the Philippines can totally provide that for China, just go thru the national Party (prevent misunderstandings of sabotage, etc.) since they too would love to rein-in local corruption vis-a-vis environmental protection.

        Get Sec. Gina Lopez to tap Mr. Tony Oposa as Special Envoy to develop Chinese legal foundations, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-jfRop1mjI

        Empower local Chinese citizens, that’ll be the best place the Philippines can help out in! 😉

    • Joe America says:

      Right, good assessments of US and Philippine interests. Now if China would only cooperate and not push either nation so hard against their self-interests.

      • caliphman says:

        It is as Micha and I as well have posted at CPM previously, Chinese behavior is guided primarily by internal politburo politics. President Xi with the support of the PLA and hardliner faction have been solidifying their power and position in the party by their military and naval buildup and aggressive policy South China Sea policy.Hopefully Xi is sophisticated enough to understand that this confrontational policy comes with risks and image costs that makes it less desirable once his hold on power is quite secure.

        • Joe America says:

          It would be fascinating to understand the principal players in the politburo, and figure out who, really, is driving this nonsensical forced entry into what could be a harmonious and enriching world. So China figures that by raping the world, the world will come to love her?

          So I’d like to know who within that inner circle thinks in such crude terms.

          • Joe, in the game of chicken I don’t think there necessarily needs to be an antagonist… kinda like nukes & MAD. Though it helps people get riled up ala 1984, I think finding commonalities should be the focus here (you’ll always have hawks in China, in the Philippines, in the US, can’t help it).

            Focus on where we can do something. 😉

            Red China, wants to be green China, more so I think than the US, hence the further empowerment of its Ministry of Environmental Protection, http://english.mep.gov.cn/ and its focus on green/renewable energy generation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-year_plans_of_China#Focus_areas

            Focus areas
            Innovation: Move up in the value chain by abandoning old heavy industry and building up bases of modern information-intensive infrastructure
            Balancing: Bridge the welfare gaps between countryside and cities by distributing and managing resources more efficiently
            Greening: Develop environmental technology industry, as well as ecological living and ecological culture
            Opening up: Deeper participation in supranational power structures, more international co-operation
            Sharing: Encourage people of China to share the fruits of economic growth, so to bridge the existing welfare gaps

            China wants to be Green… let’s all work with that. 😉

            (Joe, I wrote a comment to jolly cruz on the other thread, but I think I had 2 links too many, can you okay it? thanks! 🙂 )

            • Joe America says:

              China is dying on smog, more than China wants to be green. Green is the path to the Middle Kingdom that is right before China’s nose, but also along the way are the resources China needs to get green and continue to rumble down the path. I think working on green and neglecting the beast’s appetite is perhaps a mistake. I do agree that China does not see herself as a villain, and the US is no icon of virtue in this squeezing of the planet for space among two creatures of ample appetite. Until the two great powers get the enlightenment of you and Josephivo and recognize there are needs just as important as commerce that are moving to the forefront, and fighting over the carcasses of a few large companies is not so important anymore, one risks giving up pushing at the expense of getting shoved into servitude.

              • “I think working on green and neglecting the beast’s appetite is perhaps a mistake. “

                The two things are related, you focus on the first, you’ll fix the last. And I would change ‘appetite’ to addiction.

                DU30’s justification for not signing the treaty on climate change is no doubt based on the notion that these post-industrialized countries have sucked on the teets of progress, and that the 3rd world too must also suck on the same teets, to get ahead; but they don’t fully understand that the stuff coming out of said cow progress’ teets is soured, has always been soured.

                Both the US and China realize this, but like turning a huge ship on a dime, they know it’s near impossible. How to make old school minds realize that soured milk will make you sick is the question.

                So make fossil fuels akin to shabu, maybe this will cause a light atop DU30’s head to go off,

              • Joe America says:

                But the addition is to wealth, not oil or electricity.

              • Joe,

                The question is can wealth be generated by other means, outside of fossil fuels?

                Remember Ford worked for Edison before branching out to make cars, they were close, if those two had their way I think we’d all be driving electric cars. That possibility was interrupted (some minor spats plus patent stuff…),

                let’s pull that string and see where it leads us, because wealth is possible w/out fossil fuels (we have no choice!) , this is where China can lead (w/ Philippine nudging 😉 ).


                http://www.wired.com/2010/06/henry-ford-thomas-edison-ev/

  10. josephivo says:

    I have a difficulty in understanding what makes a pledge binding, what creates exceptions and when shutting up and looking in the other direction is ok too.

    Ted Cruz pledges to support the winning candidate and doesn’t, because … . NOK
    America as NATO member pledges to help Baltic states, but might not if … . OK
    China pledges to UNCLOS but doesn’t honor 200 miles close, because…. NOK
    Philippines pledges to CO2 reduction but will not, because… OK

    When is a pledge absolute, when conditional? And when is it OK just shutting up as Kasich does, most NATO countries, most UNCLOS signatories, other Paris treaty signatories…?

    • Joe America says:

      Rules for political positioning? Ha, the book has not yet been written that creates a level playing field of intellect and compassion and information. There is no common context, there is only the weighing of all the expressed self-interests and do-gooding in whatever arena exists or can be made to exist. You seek the impossible. Best to just jump into the mosh pit and dance.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Joseph,

      We are in the same boat… a sinking boat.

      There is hardly any honor. Principles are cast aside at the first hint of “It’s not in our interest to do so.”

      The definition of “interest,” of course, is short-sighted.

      With regard to the Paris Treaty, no country seems to be serious about the commitments they have made. As at the end of June, 19 have ratified the Treaty out of 177 states. Most of these are small island nations who have zero or 0.01% ratification of greenhouse gases. Norway at 0.14% has the highest ratification percentage.

      The main argument of President Duterte and Dean Tony La Vina seems to be one of fairness. We are a nation with a small carbon emission footprint.

      The argument is the equity, the fairness of proportionality. I believe this is the counterpart of the argument of penal proportionality used in the dispensation of justice.

      I say counterpart because the argument has been upended and construed to mean proportionality of responsibility.

      Is a country that emits CO2 emissions of 500 metric tons less responsible than one that emits 5000 metric tons?

      If the answer is yes, then the next question to raise is: Is a man who steals P100 less guilty than a man who steals P100 million?

      If the answer is still yes, then do you believe your grandchildren and their children will suffer less when the seas rise, the temperatures reach suffocation point, and the next succession of supertyphoons is bearing down upon them?

      And if the answer is still yes, then tell that to your progenies down the line of the ages we have left… and see if they will believe you.

      ***

      Rawls theory of justice speaks of liberty and equality (or fairness).

      Interpretations of fairness will vary.

      If we say big countries that emit more CO2 should contribute more dollars to the resolution of the problem… then I would agree.

      If we say we should do nothing unless these big countries help us… then I will NOT agree. Do you only do what is right because of incentives?

      And if we say that since all countries will do nothing we can sit idly by… then I will NOT agree. Do you only do what is right when others do so?

      ***

      Another instalment of high falutin’ moralization.

      *****

  11. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: Prez tells troops not to hesitate on killing drug traders, criminals… and gets no applause.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/798027/duterte-to-troops-be-not-afraid-to-kill-drug-traders-criminals

    The military who are meant to defend the country, but there’s something else besides the supposed pay raise.

    • madlanglupa says:

      BTW, ominous news.

      • Joe America says:

        The link reports that Donald Trump has accepted the Republican nomination. I wish he would define “American people” for us, so we know what he means. I think I would not agree with him from the getgo, the definitions. So hard to give any support to the programs.

        • madlanglupa says:

          Regardless, asides from antagonizing allies, it would give “pariah states” and fringe groups more excuses to attack America if he grabs the Oval Office. It would be exceptionalism at its worst.

          • Joe America says:

            One of the speakers at the convention a couple of days ago was touting American “exceptionalism” and it made me ill. I switched channels. To me, the word “exeptionalism” tries to paint a prideful picture, but instead comes across as discriminatory, it its worst sense.

            • Grace Lim Reyes says:

              I listened to Trump’s speech today for a bit and found myself saying deja vu! He sounded like someone we know so well when we had our elections and it’s frightening if he will win. Imagine Du30 and Trump as cohorts…I wonder what will the future be for everyone?

              • Grace</b.,

                I sat thru the whole speech last nite. And if you've been listening to Trump since last summer, nothing really changed… same type of rambling, stream of consciousness style of talk (ie. he listens with his tongue) that people weirdly have come to love.

                The weird part of the speech for me, although he's been interviewed before and/or tweeted his support for the LGBTQ (what's Q?), that was I'm sure the first time he's mentioned LGBTQ during a speech in front of real Republicans. But it was in the context of ISIS, ie. ISIS are so barbarous they harm our LGBTQs, we will protect them!!!

                This got an overwhelming standing ovation, which means a bunch of Evangelicals stood up and clapped for LGBTQs. Even Trump, you could see from his reaction was surprise, and made a comment about how happy he was as a Republican that people were clapping for LGBTQ—- though it seemed like they were clapping more for his tough stance on ISIS.

                As for American "exceptionalism", Joe, I think FOX News made this word fashionable again since back in the late 90s.

                The guy you saw was Gen. Flynn.

                And he was having a hard time giving his speech, I think because he was either given a speech or made to talk about American “exceptionalism”, this American “exceptionalism” concept is more associated with the Bible belt, those type of conservatives, and Flynn’s from RI (he’s a Democrat): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_T._Flynn#Early_life_and_education

                He was one of the first guys to advice first streak against ISIS pre-Arab Spring. But because of Obama’s ‘Ron Paul’ ME policy (I shall never return) and Hillary’s own neo-lib anti- dictatorships stance on the Arab Spring… Flynn’s and bunch of other DoD staffers’ advice on ISIS went largely ignored.

                But more important is the significance of the word American “exceptionalism” as used by Republicans, popularized by FOX News.

                As you may have known Roger Ailes is no more, he’s basically the Steve Jobs of FOX News. One can argue that the conditions for Trump’s eventual popularity was prepared by Roger Ailes (like John the Baptist to Jesus, or Frankenstein to his monster),

                so it’s very ironic that as Ailes steps down Trump rises, and in Trump’s speech there was no mention of American “exceptionalism” ; like Obama, Trump is also not a missionary of American “exceptionalism”, hence his recent quote which has been consistent from the git-go, “We can’t lecture Turkey on the Rule of Law”.

                Back to Gen. Flynn’s speech, I think it was simply a word they wanted to check-off, but from the looks of it, from Roger Ailes stepping down, from Trump’s ‘Ron Paul’ foreign affairs posture , the only American “exceptionalism” is strength , the ethical high ground that once defined this word is no more—-

                this, at the very least both Obama (diplomacy) and Trump (strength) share (no ethical high ground), but Hillary thinks otherwise, her American “exceptionalism” is of the bleeding heart kind, which got us a worst off M.E. , a lot worst than when Bush II left.

                That’s the main choice for me. 😉

            • LG says:

              I can not stand to look at the faces of the speakers, especially that of Trump’s. He looks like this 👹to me. Suffers from verbal diarrhea. Ted Cruz never looked better than at the time he spoke with his heart.

              • Joe America says:

                I cannot watch either. What craziness is it that cheers this kind of behavior, these blustering ideals that Americans are better than everyone else? In the US, Donald Trump is unraveling all the work done by my generation to get people to be respectful of other races and peoples. He is tearing down the principles Martin Luther King and Kent State students died for. I don’t care for Hillary Clinton that much, either. She is a political dogfighter of questionable judgment now and then. But Donald Trump? Hahaha, if Americans elect him as president then we will know for sure that Americans are NOT exceptional. That he is even running proves the point.

              • LG says:

                My decision to retire in my homeland is affirmed.

                With ISIS taking each major city in Europe one after another….NY, Chicago, DC… can be next, just to bring Donald to his knees to them. His antiterrorism rhetoric can fuel the very fire he wants to preempt.

                God save the USA from UnAmerican Donald Trump. Scary that supposedly, after the RNC convention, the polls have him even with Hilary!?

              • Joe America says:

                People seeing bravado as solution when it is the opposite. The amazing thing is that the citizens of the richest, strongest nation in the land somehow feel “oppressed” and need a “strong” leader to right the ship.

                Crazy.

              • LG says:

                Emailed my reply with a forward about Trump.

    • Joe America says:

      I wonder how many of the troops are from the areas where drugs are dealt and used. I wonder if they feel a little awkward being ordered to shoot the neighbor’s son. I wonder if this whole escapade of salaries doubled (haha on you) and no more jets and be thy brother’s killer is going to come home to roost.

      It seems to me the Duterte Admin looks at troops as loyal subjects to order about, as men on the chess board.

      Well, they are . . . when they buy into the game . . .

        • Joe America says:

          Too bad. There are laws to write and so they play attack dog to get the attack dogs. Intimidation tactics . . .

        • NHerrera says:

          I believe the strategy is to hound Sen De Lima, so her own move to investigate will be blunted. Besides, will the newly-minted House supermajority act as sheep to do as told in all things such as in this particular case. I will have to see how that develops.

          The news of not a single applause to PRD’s speech urging the 500 or so policemen to kill drug criminals if ordered with a promise that he will be there for them if they face charges ( In the fulfillment of duty or in performance of your mandate, you will have my support 100 percent. I will not allow you to go to jail. I will be jailed first. ) seems to suggest that the exhortations of General “Bato” and Cong. Alvarez will not be welcomed with open arms.

          • LG says:

            I read that, too, and was delighted to know, Cops did not applaud, in opposition (?) or conscience stricken already. Or began to doubt the 50k salary increase.

        • LG says:

          I thought congressmeb are elected to write laws not probe one another. What a waste of voters’ time n tax payers’ money. Alvarez do your mandate.

          • karlgarcia says:

            LG,
            I am in favor of DeLima investigating the extra judicial killings,and she can think of what law can be legislated after the investigations, I can say she can push for the new penal code which she worked on as DOj sec.
            Congress has also the power of oversight,now if Alvarez also wants to investigate her,Abaya and Roxas then I say allow him,if that may mean better articulation of laws for accountability of cabinet secretaries then that would be a good law as far as I am concerned. The other scenario is just to recommend to the ombudsman or others to file cases or investigate further.

            • LG says:

              Karl,

              I see your points. I am for efficiency, accountability and results.

              Presently, too many probing bodies ((congress, senate, DOJ, NBI, PNP, SB, ombudsman, countless RTCs) when the only one that counts is the SC.

              So I no longer support probing anyone by any of the legislative bodies. The existing judicial bodies are more than enough. If the legislative bodies want any past official to be probed for dereliction of duty, well then, see if any of the judicial bodies would take recommendations.

              What house and senate laws were supposedly guided by their probe’s findings?
              Presence to a probe invitation by either congress or senate is not even mandatory under present laws.Absence unpenalized unless running for national office. Binay learned that too late.

              If new senator or congressman can’t think of new laws to have, review old laws that should be amended to increase convictions.

              • karlgarcia says:

                lots of laws to refile and recycle,because there is no law for absenteeism of congressmen.The FOI keeps on not moving past third base because most of them do not attend when it is time to vote in plenary.
                Now as pa consuelo de bobo the FOI became an EO.

              • LG says:

                Yes, Karl, absenteeism, is a top rate need, among tardism, inattention n loitering during sessions, limits on technical staff, turncoatism, and the list goes on.

  12. manuelbuencamino says:

    Joe,

    AJ Carpio pointed out that we could sue for damages etc.

    The other thing he said was in 95% of cases involving international disputes, the losing party eventually complies after a period of about 5 -7 years on average. Because it takes time for the losing government to get their public to accept the loss.

    I’ve argued that we don’t have to do anything right away because the decision is there and it won’t go away. It hangs over the head of China not ours. That’s why talking to China right now might result in watering down the decision.

    Most important of all, why should we be the one to extend a hand to China? We are the aggrieved party. If China wants to come here to talk then we should be magnanimous and welcome them but without forgetting who the aggrieved party is.

    Us going to China is all wrong, it sends the wrong message.

    • Joe America says:

      That makes sense to me, for sure.

      • I seriously doubt you guys can “sue for damages etc.”! Who will enforce this ruling? There’s gotta be some sort of acquiescence first on China’s part!

        As for “95% of cases involving international disputes” , can you cite these countries that lost which comprise this “95%”, and did it involve border disputes w/ China? I see no China here, so if not China then a similar case involving a 1st world nation vs. a 3rd world nation as example, manuelbuencamino. Here’s the list i looked thru, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_International_Court_of_Justice_cases

        I agree regarding South China sea , better to leave the decision on ice , but I disagree against inaction for inaction’s sake. Why is China so interested in the South China sea? Answer, to safeguard its oil imports and the promise that theres fossil fuels (oil & natural gas) deep beneath.

        Safeguarding oil imports only the US can alleviate that particular concern, fossil fuels in the South China sea (US is introducing fracking to China), the Philippines can totally play a role, ones I’ve listed above and in previous threads.

        Remember leadership is the issue here, China simply wants to follow the US, the US is now instructing China how to frack, its the blind leading the blind.

        The Philippines could either play coy, like Maria Clara (Ireneo’s favorite character in Rizal’s novels) or it can grow a pair and actually lead both America and China— I’ve offered one vision based on the Costa Rican model;

        josephivo has offered another based on technology— to which sonny stated that there were a bunch of Filipino scientists & engineers (sorry, I keep on forgetting to respond to that comment, sonny! but it’s here, https://joeam.com/2016/07/17/acceleration-and-china/#comment-191636 )

        there’s also the legal field, since China’s court system is virtually non-existent, the question is who has a surplus of lawyers (granted many Filipino lawyers are either ineffective or dirty) , but it’s the Western foundation that’s important here, so export Mr. Tony Oposa (I’m sure he has apprentices).

        There’s so many places where the Philippines can reach out to China and either play a leadership role or collaborative… But my point is, now is not the time to play coy!!! 😉 NOT the time—- simply because there’s no more time!

    • Maybe Duterte will not have to “invade” China and solve most of the drug problem in one fell swoop if PH files a case for damages in Canada and as part of the settlement, China will repatriate Chinese drug kingpins that are now hiding in plain view in PH?

      http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/798343/duterte-i-will-have-to-invade-a-country-to-kill-big-fish-in-drugs

    • LG says:

      On point MB. For their reason, whatever it is, China to ask to come here, pay the trip’s expenses, not vice versa. We have absolutely NO reason to talk to them n waste resources.

  13. Juana Pilipinas says:

    OFF TOPIC:

    I wonder if there is veracity to the report that the number of surrenderees in the Oplan Tokhang were inflated because of the rumors that the rehab will entail up to PHP50,000 in livelihood handouts? :

    http://www.philstar.com/nation/2016/07/22/1605274/some-surrenderees-fake-drug-addiction

  14. junie garcia says:

    What the Philippines needs are leaders who truly love the country and not sell it out for a few pieces of silver. From genuine love of country will flow options that put the nation’s interest as its guiding light. And, from there they can never go wrong. It puzzles me no end as to why leaders need to openly state that “war is not an option” and that modernization of the armed forces will not be pursued as it is just a waste of funds. Freedom is priceless and has to be defended by all means even by shedding our bloods to keep it.

  15. Bill in Oz says:

    We have been a week off line with an infected laptop and with travel back to Oz.

    So I have missed a lot that has happened in the discussions here. So I wonder if anyone else has mulled over an article by Rowan Callick called “Coming Soon the Great fall of China” …

    Put simply the current regime’s economic policies are very likely to lead to a major economic collapse in the next 2-3 years.

    In that perspective there will be very little that China can actually offer to help with the growth of the Philippines..And there maybe little political will to continue with the current policy via a vis the Wet Philippines sea.

  16. karlgarcia says:

    For every world war there is an axis of evil.

    http://stormcloudsgathering.com/world-war-3-new-axis

  17. karlgarcia says:

    The US-Led Militarization of Southeast Asia. China, Russia, North Korea and Iran Are Targets in Pentagon World War III Scenarios

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-led-militarization-of-southeast-asia-china-russia-north-korea-and-iran-are-targets-in-pentagon-world-war-iii-scenarios/5535932

    • Joe America says:

      A strange assessment that seems to be saying that the Chinese acquisition and militarization of the South China and West Philippine Seas is not relevant, but US engagement to ensure open seas and skies is militarization.

    • Joe America says:

      This article paints the grim and conflicted picture in the Middle East centered in the Syrian conflict and a tug of influence between Russia and the US. It also cites a waning West, and the US trying to hold influence, as a main factor. Never mind the practical matter of how to keep terrorists from killing everyone, 9 to 3,000 at a time (edited to factor in the 9/11 attack).

      • karlgarcia says:

        Trump’s practical matter of how to keep terrorists is to ban migrants.Trumps recent pronouncements on China is to retrieve lost jobs and rechannel it back to the US.Maybe a return of made in USA. I do not know what his plans are for TPP and the South China sea conflict

    • NHerrera says:

      We may not agree with the conclusion or trend of the thoughts in that article, but goodness here are the elements of the game:

      1. Russia, Iran, Iraq + possibly China (no commitment yet) on the Syrian side with Iran, Iraq and Syria being Shias.

      2. For regime change in Syria: The United States, France, England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and Israel. With Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan being Sunnis. And lo and behold ISIS has the Sunni strain.

      3. And there is the oil business and pipelines. Energy, the lifeblood of a modern country. Meantime we have Climate Change on a rampage.

      4. One can add in the Christian Bible Armageddon and we nearly have the “complete” mix for the end battle of good and evil.

      Seems one can spin the elements around to make any which way scenario.

      Also, the paper makes it look like the Philippine story is just a children story populated only by bad druggies; the rest the good guys.

      • NHerrera,

        1. I honestly can’t see China diving into this mess. They just have no interest over there, nor should they, and once they get going with fracking, like the US they can turn around and leave (or not be as dependent on the M.E.)

        2. This whole anti-Assad response is all thanks to Hillary. Syria is mostly made-up of Sunnis, then followed by Shias, then Sufis, Druze, Kurds and Alawis, etc. and various Christian sects (the Assads are Alawis, related to Shias but they don’t consider themselves such, Osama bin Laden’s mom is Alawi and hails from the same area as the Assads—- Alawi women prefer micro-minis 😉 they’re more secular and cosmopolitan in view).

        So Syria isn’t a Shia state per se, just as Lebanon wasn’t, but since most non-Shia Lebanese are either in EU or Australia, Hizbullah rules over Lebanon.

        Bashar was widely popular not only in the West before the Arab Spring (Syria banned full ninja style masks worn by women in gov’t school and offices), but also among Syrians. The protest that started the Arab Spring in Syria, wasn’t a protest against the regime, unlike other Arab Spring protests (he was well liked, mostly because he was seen as less tyrannical as his father, and potentially his old bro, who many say was killed by his dad for being a bit to crazy).

        That protest which ignited the Syrian Arab Spring, was more about the 5 year drought (more on that below) in Syria— it’s still going on now, I don’t think most Syrians are leaving because of war, they are leaving because whether or not this war concludes, reality is there’s just no future). So then comes Hillary’s blanket response to the Arab Spring.

        What that article fails to cover is the Libyan weapons to Syrian rebels program (Google Libyan weapons to Syria). The US could’ve sided with Assad from the git-go, or they should’ve left it, instead because of the US recent “success” (East Libya is pretty ISIS now) they attempted to double down on a very wrong hand in Syria, hence most weapons that got ISIS going were Libyan.

        And that’s where Gen. Michael Flynn comes in, but instead he yammered on about American “exceptionalism” at the RNC. Hopefully in the next coming months he won’t feel he has to pander to Republican sensibilities (he’s a Democrat) and just focus on how all this stuff going on now, stems from Hillary’s mistake.

        3. They are billing the Syrian debacle as the first human catastrophe associated directly to Global Warming. Whats going on there, is very similar to what’s going on in California, the only difference I think is the Sierra Nevada range. So ironically, those pipelines and river, passing opposite ways in the middle of the Syrian desert, offers us a sobering reminder that oil dries up rivers.

        4. But I disagree with the article, the Philippine story is the main story here, what happens in the Middle East has already happened will already happen there’s very little to do, the fate of humanity lies less in the Middle East than it does in Asia—- remember at this point, only China can make that U-turn, they are the only ones that can scale-up. They are the only country right now whose decision to divest from fossil fuels, can re-design the whole world as we know it.

        So, no the Middle East does not represent the future. If you want to fix the Middle East the road is thru China— by making oil irrelevant. The future is with China, so every policy decision should ask… will this help red China become green China? That’s it. 😉

        • p.s.~ I’m not being anti-American here… time and again we’ve decided to go with fossil fuels, but the most poignant moment was this, there was a time when we knew what to do, and we didn’t do it, I’ve just become a fan of this speech via youtube, having been too young to appreciate it then… but the truth it, we’ve missed our chance to lead,

          • Joe America says:

            How can a person be anti-American if he is American? That would make you anti-yourself. Or, from your perspective, “I’m against myself! Down with me!!”

            • slapping yourself looks quite ridiculous.

              • I’m essentially calling for China to lead here, hence American “exceptionalism” out the window. I’m for American primacy in all other fields, but since the US can’t , won’t lead the way re Global Warming… we must look to Asia. Short of a miracle over here, looks like full steam ahead to the point of no return, as I type this ashes from old oak trees and pines are falling on the street.

              • karlgarcia says:

                China is making moves by not accepting trash that are hard to recycle like too much contamination,si they say.But on record they still import a lot of ewaste so much for their green fence.

                Besides the holy smokes there is still the holy sh_t,China is the top polluter of the ocean.
                Its methane contribution to the ocean speeds up global warming,plus it is the top plastic polluter to the ocean as well.

                Your dream of movingaway from fossil fuels will be after our lifetime, when power generation is no longer generated by fossil fuels run power plants, and cars would all be elecrtric.
                For the mean time cheap oil is still with us, and that peak oil prophet is a sham.

  18. caliphman says:

    It is quite uncanny how strongly the Trump campaign and the aspects of his personality that appeal to his supporters mirror that of Duterte. At his nomination, Trump declared himself as the law and order candidate and that this was a crucial issue in November. Trump supporters see him as the agent of change and his willingness to spurn political correctness and constitutional principles and processes to sove problems and make America great again as primary reasons for electing him
    Sounds familiar?
    L

    • I really hope team Donald gets Gen. Flynn going with his prosecution of Hillary’s Arab Spring response. From BREXIT to the Syrian refugee problem to ISIS, all this can totally be blamed on Hillary’s policies. Scrap the emails already!!! 😉

      • Joe America says:

        I find fascinating the criminal prosecution of leaders who make decisions with good intent, but they end up badly, and so the arm-chair prosecutors claim they should have had better pre-knowledge, and therefore should be prosecuted. We have the same thing going on in the Philippines with President Aquino being sued by several different parties for this or that. One is Mamasapano, where he is being charged with negligence in “causing” the deaths. I wish I’da known about that tactic after ‘Nam. I could have sued Dick Nixon for the injury to my head, both externally and internally, where the psyche roams.

        The upshot of the “armchair lawsuits” is that they will remove boldness from any decision and we will all become like the Japanese, eliminating risk from decisions with data overkill and holding the underlings responsible for everything. It’s a system, I suppose, but very different from the calculated risk-taking that now drives a lot of American decisions.

        • ” so the arm-chair prosecutors claim they should have had better pre-knowledge, and therefore should be prosecuted. “

          The biggest lesson learned re the Middle East, is when you topple a dictator worst things tend to happened… Bush II learned that the hard way, but it takes a very special kind of stupid, to do exactly the same thing 3 times over right after.

          She had pre-knowledge, only she refused to learn that lesson from Bush II, which was paid in blood. I think Gen. Flynn has a great case against Hillary, in Libya, in Egypt and in Syria, which all connects to ISIS and the Syrian refugee problem now.

          Hillary had pre-knowledge, Joe.

          • Joe America says:

            The Senate committee that grilled her did not make that case, but I can admit that it is not a case I have studied, and I will await the legal determination rather than accept yours, which I consider founded on a different framework of judgment than the one she was operating under.

            • Joe,

              I’m not using prosecution here as an actual prosecution in a court of law,

              but in the court of public opinion. the Senate committee investigated Benghazi, to which no Green Berets who were doing Commanders In-extremis Force in Croatia, Marines (FAST) in Spain, and pilots (and their ground crew) from Aviano Air Base in Italy, were ever summoned…

              Basically all the Senate and House committees got was a generic “we couldn’t have done anything”—- which is bs, since there should be movement on the ground towards what was going on, the fact that there was no momentum described is the string to be pulled. From that investigation stemmed the emails… I’m panning out further here, Joe, not Benghazi (although that needs to be combed with a finer comb also) and not emails.

              I’m talking about prosecuting her on her policies re the Arab Spring.

              After two regime changes under Bush, what made her so confident that her version of regime change would work? That’s the essence of the issue here. And why duplicate that mistake 3 times over?

              Topple Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood takes its place (you don’t have to be a student of the ME to have predicted that one, Joe); topple Qaddafi and you get jihadis (at the height of the Iraq war, aside from Saudis, Egyptians and Yemenis, who made up the bulk of the foreign jihadis there, it was Libyans, east Libyans to be exact who made up a big chunk);

              Syria was the most tragic since most Syrians actually liked Bashar al-Assad (at least Mubarak & Qaddafi you can argue were hated by their people, stayed too long, while Bashar was fresh).

              That’s Hillary’s regime change policies. Also Hillary allowed captured Libyan weapons to go to unvetted Syrian rebels… again that was a lesson already learned in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

              So you have one recent lesson learned, regime change in the ME which Hillary decides to relive 3 times; and one old lesson (actually arming wrong groups is an American staple), which Hillary decides to relive yet again. These are the pre-knowledge that Hillary failed to heed.

              Regime change (x3) and funding enemies (x1) = a way bigger mess in the Middle East, Joe!

              This is what she said in 2012 a month after Benghazi, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mideast-idUSBRE89B19Z20121012

              “We recognize that these transitions are not America’s to manage, and certainly not ours to win or lose,” Clinton said in a speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

              “But we have to stand with those who are working every day to strengthen democratic institutions, defend universal rights, and drive inclusive economic growth. That will produce more capable partners and more durable security over the long term.”

              Hillary never knew who the “those” were; but she could’ve seek the counsel of Americans who work in the Middle East, who would’ve told her that “those” she’s talking about, were in no position to make a dent, that these same “those” only stand to be over powered, by fanatical Muslims (since the only places to gather under these police states were in mosques). A simple reading of the realities of the ME would’ve told her that these “those” were very few…

              Not knowing is one thing , but projecting that ignorance into a military decision is the stuff of disasters, Joe. 😉

              • Joe America says:

                Again, as I said, I will await the judicial process, not your read-out of matters before the judicial (people’s) finding. That would be akin to agreeing to the prosecution’s case without listening to the defense. Nope. I’ll listen to the defense.

              • Joe America says:

                In the context of popular opinion, yours is so harsh that I find it hard to accept. That’s why I tend to believe there is another side to this intricate story, worth listening to.

              • What judicial process are you talking about, Joe?

                Both investigations have concluded.

                The FBI Director already stated there was no crime, here https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system

                “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

                this is was what they were looking for,

                “Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”

                Same with Benghazi, here— https://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

              • Joe America says:

                See note which crossed with yours.

              • That’s why I posted Hillary’s reasoning above re “those”, Joe. That’s essentially her side.

              • Joe America says:

                As I said, I have not studied this, and would not accept an excerpt from a critic as evidence. I’d do a work-up of the incident, the context, the hearings and a lot of information. You are busy trying to sell me on it and it is a buyer’s market.

              • Joe America says:

                Haha, a visitor to one of my Facebook posts called Hillary Clinton a “lying hag”. I’m sure he’s studied the situation and that is his well-considered opinion, too. I’m not buying his, either, so don’t feel put off.

              • Joe, I’m simply reacting to your “arm-chair lawsuit”… it’s a very nuanced opinion on the matter, not some meme or catchy name you’re probably used to— hence you’re inability to rebut 😉 I’m not trying to convince you, I’m merely defending my position re Hillary.

              • Joe America says:

                My choice not to rebut is not an inability, or lack of capacity, but a choice. I choose not to accept the conclusions you have placed before me because they are only one side of a very intricate story. That you have articulated support for Donald Trump does little to give me confidence that I am getting the straight or entire picture from you. You are, of course, entitled to your view of Hilary Clinton.

          • LG says:

            Lance, apply for a position in Pentagon, where all your ‘expert’ opinions on US military matters should be heard, not in a blog about the Philippines. Thank you.

            • Joe America says:

              It’s okay, LG. It started out as a Philippine issue and drifted. Just skip the conversation, as it is being engaged by others. I checked out a while back when it went too far astray.

    • Joe America says:

      And he’ll also replace a lot of SC justices if he is elected.

      • NHerrera says:

        A lot meaning 10 or thereabouts if he lasts to June 2016 or if the current constitution remains intact on the SC.

      • caliphman says:

        Joe, the Philippine Supreme Court is pretty pathetic already without Duterte replacing court justices with hanging judges and others sharing his disregard of the constitution.

  19. josephivo says:

    Of topic.

    Today’s world, terrorism, fight against drugs (?) in the Philippines, blue and black lives in the US, crazy teen in Munich…

    The ease we, as society, talk about violence is scary. See the violence in movies and video games, hate sites on internet. More and more violent stimuli in the streetscape as aggressive cars, images and sounds, even guns. Violence in the news becoming routine, the pictures more revealing, the emotions of the victims just commonplace.

    I do not have the scientific data, but the difference between the violent way the police expresses itself in the US and the subdued way of the UK may explain the huge difference in statistics on violence relates crimes. And not all will be affected equally, but for the less balances, the more insecure and immature it must lower the threshold to use violence.

    President Du30, please think twice in choosing your words in public speeches.

  20. madlanglupa says:

    Not good. Not good. Replacing the protocol officers is not a good sign — these people help the President place the right foot in the door, and make him or her diplomatically presentable for the world to see.

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/palace-plan-replace-protocol-officers-000000200.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw

  21. karlgarcia says:

    US sec of state is here, lots of questions will be answered hopefully.Looking forward to the evening news.

    http://www.rappler.com/nation/141027-us-kerry-philippines-visit-duterte

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