“Know thine enemy!”, whoever in the world he may be

Abu Sayyaf [From philippineslifestyle.com]

By Joe America

It is 2017 and do you know where your enemy is?

Friends and enemies are changing positions faster than Donald Trump can hire and fire people.

It is getting confusing. The US Executive branch is curled up with the country that has thousands of nukes aimed at American cities and the US is angering her neighbors and European nations who are stuck with all the immigrants the US is slamming her doors on. Foreign policy seems to hinge on where Donald Trump has his personal money invested. The good guys are now bad if they do not properly march to the Trump beat (for example, the press, which just a few weeks ago was the cherished Fourth Estate, but is now a pack of liars). Critics and democrats are unpatriotic whilst Russian President Putin is an American loyalist.

In the Philippines, the economic plan is to anger all the decent investors in the US and Europe and then stop the ensuing economic free fall by inviting China into the parlor. And giving Chinese leaders the checkbook and a bunch of steam shovels for digging up Philippine mountains. The NPA, which stands by its vow to overthrow the government and install the ghost of Mao in the Palace, or maybe Karl Marx, I dunno, is allowed to march the streets and parade its deadly agenda whilst the AFP officers, whose soldiers are top targets of the NPA, are asked to look the other way, and ignore China’s incursions, and buy Russian arms because the US is suddenly on the PH blacklist . . . because President Obama asked President Duterte to be nice.

As I said, it is confusing.

Who decides on our enemies, anyway? Is it the President, the Pope, or the People?

I’m confused on that point. The President runs foreign affairs, no doubt about that. The Constitution says so. But the Constitution belongs to the People, and it even has a provision in it to toss a President out if he loses the People’s trust.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust China, and I think most Filipinos don’t. But these same People seem to trust their “killer” President, even if the Pope believes each person’s life is precious. So the People’s values or ability to put their faith where their shoes walk or mouths talk or knees kneel are for sure suspect.

Heads are scratching vigorously across the nation.

Did I say it was confusing?

Well, look, I’m just me, but here are my enemies based on my location looking out to sea where, at some time in my thinning lifetime, I expect to see Chinese warships sweeping in:

(1) People who do not understand and subscribe to international Human Rights values, you know, the values that say we each deserve respect, and that protect us all from those who believe they have the right to abuse kids or kill people without trial or diminish women or jail people who criticize them.

(2) The nation sitting in Philippine economic seas threatening to steal the riches that will allow Filipinos to feed their young, all so that the thief’s young can grow up strong, intelligent, and healthy in order to dominate the rest of us.

(3) Anyone who believes using guns, extortion, and threats is a better way to work than civility, respect, and following the laws.

(4) Ignorant people are not my enemies, but people who manipulate their condition are. Trolls who intentionally take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge are horrid people. Disgusting. They should teach intelligence not prey on ignorance.

That’s about it. I’d put some names to the list, but people keep saying I am a guest here and I figure you can pretty well do that yourself.

As for friends, I like nice people, frankly. Earnest people. People who are courageous enough to sacrifice their self-interest so others might have a better chance to grow happy and healthy. Intelligent, principled people.

I don’t like preening people who have to work overly hard to prove they are somebody. Humility is a virtue in my book.

Anyway, I’m clear on who my enemies are. I know a lot of Filipinos have different ideas about that, but both me and my bookie have bets that they are making some huge mistakes.

And, I’m sorry to report, but based on my criteria, it sure seems that a lot of Filipinos in government are enemies of the Philippine State. These enemies have infiltrated the seats of power over years with the generous assistance of collaborators and thieves, and I suppose some kind of anticipated forgiveness from the Pope.

It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.


130 Responses to ““Know thine enemy!”, whoever in the world he may be”
  1. NHerrera says:

    Know your enemies, agreed. But know your friends better because some of those so-called friends are worse than your enemies. Those within your gates are more dangerous than those outside. That is why the Greek’s Trojan Horse was so effective against an otherwise impregnable Troy. (This last line refers of course to the US.)

    Now the NDF, the cohort of developing friend CPP, not to speak of its uncontrollable NPA, wants to act the government and have former President Aquino jailed.

    • Yes, two important points you underscore. (1) The government is packed with people who do not care about democracy, and (2) the Duterte revolutionary government is already seated. I look about and wonder where to find friends I can trust.

    • Ancient Mariner says:

      NHerrera. On the subject of the Trojan Horse and the enemy within. In today’s Manila Bulletin classifieds, of 71 listed applications for Alien Employment Permits 51 of the 71 listed are from Chinese nationals. This is a higher percentage than the norm which hovers around 50% of around 60 to 80 listings per issue. I dont know the frequency of the listings or the number of broadsheets which publsh listings. To me, an alarming satistic.

  2. madlanglupa says:

    This autocratic President seems more interested in power than money, but still acting as a broker of sorts, he intends to make his cronies richer by having them corner lucrative Chinese contracts.

    The local communists — regarding themselves as pure Maoists than what fading shadow of socialism that Beijing is practicing right now, as well as their traditional (and boring) anniversary communique still rigidly adhering to the idea that America is the enemy of world socialism — will surely face a dilemma where this President loves Beijing but also the same President who gives them more leeway to perform lightning rallies and burn trucks at leisure.

    As much as he tries to satisfy the military, the President will have a difficult time placating because of his terribly impossible idea of “heavenly peace”.

  3. A. A. Derilo says:

    I think that Filipinos are generally learya and uncomfortable with their government servants both elected and appointed. They are generally preoccupied with their private lives in the same manners that their servants are also preoccupied
    enriching themselves with the taxes
    collected from them. In this relationship that spawn a provider and recipient would it not be reasonable to assume that one of the party becomes the enemy of a moral status quo?

  4. The President is basically a Mindanaoan warlord trying to manage shifting alliances.

    Much like the first rajas the Spaniards faced did, typically Malay politics.

    Trouble is, they probably do not scale nationally, much less internationally.

  5. NHerrera says:

    One of my favorite opinion writers, Manuel L. Quezon III, writes today in Inquirer about “Congressional cat fight” masking a possible deeper meaning.

    Although supported (still?) by PRD, I believe the article suggests that Alvarez does not know the fundamentals of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” But that Gloria Arroyo seems to have the skill. We must remember too that Mike Arroyo has good Chinese blood running through his veins.


  6. Yvonne says:

    A truism In both political and economic arenas is that there are no permanent friends or enemies – only permanent interest; hence identifying one’s enemies is like fixing your scope on a fast-moving target. But in Dutertes’ case, he is making great stride in making himself his worse enemy. And he probably doesn’t know it.

    • NHerrera says:

      Absent when the subject of friends and enemies were taught? Making fun of us all?? A death wish??? Or a strategy????

    • karlgarcia says:

      From Lord Palmerston to Henry Kissinger….

      Not withdtsnding tgst truism Kissinger still question Trumps tirades against Europe.

      Who would be our Kissinger?

  7. karlgarcia says:

    “My father taught me many things here — he taught me in this room. He taught me — keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

    Michael Corleone

    • karl,

      Remember this exchange by Jon & Stanis?

      very apt to Joe’s…

      “And, I’m sorry to report, but based on my criteria, it sure seems that a lot of Filipinos in government are enemies of the Philippine State. These enemies have infiltrated the seats of power over years with the generous assistance of collaborators and thieves”

      It’s the 3rd world,

      the concept of “the Philippine State” needs to be reality first, otherwise they’re all enemies (in one another’s eyes), traitors all (or spoken with Filipino accent try-tor na’ , as working girls like to call each other, especially when one spends time with another’s regular, is how entertaining girl-on-girl fights ensue in bars over there—– an apt analogy IMHO for geo-political these days)

      But going back to “the Philippine State” , as much as we’d like to level Machiavelli’s case study of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agathocles_of_Syracuse (the Prince Chapter VIII ) upon DU30 ; fact is DU30 is the Prince of Chapter IX: these “civic principalities” do not require real virtue, only “fortunate astuteness” —– a point myself and Bill have been hammering here.

      The larger point though re the Prince is that we are not talking about Republics here (also covered by Machiavelli but in his Discourses ) , and to Ireneo’s credit (he’s also hammered this point since before DU30’s election), we have to understand DU30 in terms of princedoms (the point of the Prince ) ,

      IMHO opinion, Machiavelli’s bigger point is —- aside from knowing thine enemy , keeping them close, or simply getting rid of them as per Stanis’ way—- the point is that all are enemies until proven otherwise, and even then be suspicious still.

      I agree 100% with Ireneo above,

      you can’t have “the Philippine State” until you get someone resembling the Prince of Chapter VI: “Machiavelli writes that reforming an existing order is one of the most dangerous and difficult things a prince can do. Part of the reason is that people are naturally resistant to change and reform. Those who benefited from the old order will resist change very fiercely. By contrast, those who can benefit from the new order will be less fierce in their support, because the new order is unfamiliar and they are not certain it will live up to its promises.” (all quotes from Wiki)

      So if there’s no Philippine State, the philosophical question then is , how can there be “enemies of the Philippine State”?

      • Aha! That question is a beaut!

      • karlgarcia says:


        • Oh, it’s a show! Hahahaha…

          as per chemp’s description, very Akira Kurosawa (is it based on his movies?)—- i’ve read that Akira Kurosawa was fan of Western books , and translated that to Samurai themed movies (he was descended from Samurais), then Kurosawa movies were Westernized, creating

          a full circle, back to the Wild West.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I do not know if Have Gun will Travel was inspired by Kurusawa’s movies, maybe.

            btw: Is Stannis dead in the novels?

            I do not think that there is no Philippine state, I don’t want to be stateless like Yasay.

            Everytime you write Third World, I feel inferior, but that is my problem, not yours.

            • 3rd World is just an old Cold War classification, 1st world is West EU, North America (except Mexico) and English speaking countries; 2nd was Communist countries with USSR as head; 3rd are non-aligned countries, like India, but mostly mean undeveloped nations subject to the whims of 1st and 2nd world.

              It’s now post Cold War but still holds water hence I use it as oppose to developing or emerging nations—- subject to the whims of 1st and 2nd worlds carries more weight, more realist than idealist classification IMHO (of course not meant as disrespect, karl).

            • I’ve not read the novels, I heard though from those who have that HBO and novels, parted ways like in the 2nd season. So two totally different, more focus on zombies in TV series.

          • chemrock says:

            Akiro Kurosawa was a great fan of Shakespeare. It was a time when his Japanese intellectual peers were great admirers of the barb and other European literary geniuses. Kurosawa took on several of Shakespeare’s plays. But I like his 47 Ronins most. His directorial techniques in turn inspired some Hollywood greats. Only his film 7 Samurais was replicated by Hollywood aka Magnificient 7 (none of whom are in Congress just to be clear). Magnificient 7 turned out to be a western classic. All 7 stars in turn went on to achieve tremendous success — Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Yul Brynner, Steve Mcqueen, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz and Brad Dexter.

            • sonny says:

              The warrior class is always a good and fertile study: the American cowboy, the British knight, the warrior caste of India, et al … 🙂 Mandirigma, anyone?

              • sonny says:

                Chempo, according to IMDB John Sturges and Yul Brynner barely pulled Mag 7 through. High Noon was my choice but I luv’d both.

              • sonny,

                Within that warrior class study, I’m especially interested in warrior monks, ie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%8Dhei (Knights Templars, Spartans because of their celibacy at a certain age, etc.) You’ll notice US military officers and enlisted, who live similar lives, McChrystal one of them, nicknamed the Pope. I believe the Jesuits were mostly ex-soldiers turned priests, they still live on the road (making the road central to their philosophy). Hence my interest in St. Origen and his cutting his nuts.

                Walt Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBt_niVG4sM


                I didn’t know about the Shakespeare connection, Roshomon makes more sense now, very Hamlet-y.

              • sonny says:

                -there is no St. Origen;

                -the founder of the Jesuit Order was St Ignatius of Loyola, a soldier before his conversion to live the religious life;

                -a hallmark of the Catholic priesthood is the vow or promise of Obedience.

              • “there is no St. Origen”

                How is he understood in Catholic cannon then, sonny? I figured all those early figures were saints by default.

              • sonny says:

                LC, Origen belongs to the age of the Fathers of the (Christian) Church: 2 generations after the death of Jesus Christ up to 700 A.D.

                “The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church are ancient and generally influential Christian theologians, some of whom were eminent teachers and great bishops. The term is used of writers or teachers of the Church not necessarily ordained[1] and not necessarily “saints”—Origen Adamantius and Tertullian are often considered Church Fathers but are not saints owing to their views later being deemed heretical[2]—although most are honored as saints in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, Anglicanism and Lutheranism, as well as other churches and groups. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by 700 AD.”


                The study of the Church Fathers come under the heading of “Patristics”

    • You see Assad represents the minority in Syria; Syria until the Arab Spring (where Hillary/Obama sided with the “rebels” whoever they were) was minority ruled.

      While minority ruled (ie. Alawis, Shia’s, Christians, Druze, rich Sunnis and seculars) the majority Sunnis enjoyed stability; now with the potential for majority rule (by Sunnis, most now are Salafis) the minority disappears.

      So Assad is playing for keeps, it’s an existential fight…

      like all Arab militaries, cowardice is the norm, so he (like many Arab rulers) will tend to resort to weapons of mass destruction when caught between a rock and a hard place— but the original sin was Obama’s backing of the Arab Spring against traditional power bases in the region (yeah they stink, but we knew the alternative was gonna stink worst, so why play favorites?)

      DU30 too is similarly playing favorites, though unlike Assad’s war, his fight isn’t existential but simply political survival. These maneuverings way well prove existential, ie. his gambit with China, but not clear & present as Assad is facing.

      • madlanglupa says:

        It’s no longer relevant on who’s in the White House now and who’s to blame. What matters much is that smug bastard needs to be dealt with, and at the same time save lives.

        By the time Assad is done cleaning up without being bothered, democracy becomes an oxymoron in the Middle East.

        • “What matters much is that smug bastard needs to be dealt with, and at the same time save lives.”

          What do you mean by “dealt with”?

          I think you’re missing the point here, Assad is the devil we know; do you really wish for the devil we don’t know? Look at Libya now, a lot worst off than with Qaddafi; Egypt was lucky they had a strong influential military, they were able to thwart the Muslim Brothers rise.

          There’s no democracy in the ME there won’t be anytime soon, the US learned that lesson under W. Bush (with his nation building and democracy for all mantra).

          • madlanglupa says:

            Right. With your smug, snark observation, we’ll watch the slaughter go on, as people will be asking why we stood there and did nothing.

            • Follow the logical end of what you’re suggesting here. You get rid of Assad, what happens next? Who comes in power? Syria has a very strong Christian population, the only one in the Arab world, they’ve been gone in Iraq, fled Lebanon, there are Copts still in Egypt but they are like Indian dalits (untouchables).

              The Syrian military is composed of Alawis, Shia’s, Christians, Druze and secular Sunnis , whoever comes to power after will set their sights on them for sure, that’s been the pattern in the Arab world, the destruction of non-Sunni non-Muslim communities, older than Islam.

              Ask yourself will the bloodshed stop, upon ousting of Assad, or will it continue? That’s the calculus here, no doubt your heart is in the right place, but follow the end of your argument, because this is where Hillary failed (W. Bush too, both were coming from very different perspectives yet ended up in the same predicament, neo-lib & neo-con).

              Sometimes stability is the best its ever gonna get.

              Assad will go, I think even non-Sunni Syrians know that he’s blundered this war, but not now, pro-Assad Syrians will consolidate until there’s stability then they’ll take down Assad. But the takfiris and salafis must be held at bay, that’s their calculus… hence the support for Assad now.

              • madlanglupa says:

                Ok, and what’s your solution?

              • There’s no solutions. Bloodshed is part and parcel of human reality.

                As for US interests, I agree with Ron Paul and Obama (without Hillary’s neo-lib “dictators bad” approach), Trump without Obama’s high horse is the most practical, ie. the US is not the world’s policeman—– me personally the early 2000s was a steep learning curve for me re America’s place in the world, I’ve since rejected W. Bush’s neo-con (democracy good and universally applicable everywhere view of things); and Hillary’s (dictators are all bad, and human rights trumps stability approach)… Trump’s hands-off policy, let Arabs sort out the mess, is most practical, fight in terms of counter-terrorism, but no more nation building, quiet and small wars.

                I’m not offering solutions, just the sentiment that when you call for this and that to be dealt with, that usually entails the US doing much of the heavy lifting for you, so in your assessment of things, I just ask for you to leave out the US in your calculus and proceed from there (your thought experiment). That’s all.

                You can apply my N. Korean suggestion to your Assad solution if you wish, then proceed from there, what does a Syria without Assad look like, better or worst? Think in terms of what happens after, don’t be short sighted like W. Bush and Hillary.

                By the way, before the war, there were lots of Filipinos in Syria as servants, but they enjoyed being Catholics there especially praying in the church where St. Paul continued on after he “talked” to Jesus on the proverbial Road to Damascus. Maybe Filipinos decided to stay (and still there now, i dunno), like they did in Libya, but my point is nowhere else in the Arab world, can Catholics be so Catholics than in Syria.

                What happens to Catholicism in Syria without Assad? Also Chaldeans, Armenian, Greek churches that are older in tradition than the (Latin) Roman Church , Zoroastrians too older than Christians.

                How do you balance this reality (the likely destruction of said communities) with your ousting of Assad? Try a realist approach, then mesh it with your idealist approach. Again, your heart is in the right place—– will more people die and suffer is the rub here (that’s what Hillary, Samantha Power and Susan Rice never understood, and their PhD staffers who’ve never lived in the ME, just read books about it, all bleeding hearts but ended up causing more destruction than necessary, that’s the irony).

              • The canary in the coal mine here is Christendom in the Arab world. Since WWII the US has cobbled its Arab policy around the Jews— i guess when they were underdogs, that made sense, we essentially equated Jews and Arab Christians the same (Israelis are their own force now); then we tailored our policies according to oil, which means Wahhabi Sunnism, from bad to worst.

                What we haven’t done is follow Arab Christians (older than Muslim Arabs by 700 years) and more importantly, their interests—- ie. we side with who they side. So if there’s any solution I’m proposing here, it’s to listen to Arab Christians (and they’re only in Syria now , use to be a lot in Iraq too, hell many worked for Saddam), Lebanese & Palestinian Christians have also fled, so their potential is economic.

                So ask what would a Syrian Christian do? p.s. by Christian I don’t mean profession of faith, Christianity in the Arab world is identity first, ie. you get tattooed crosses and other symbols making it impossible to fake the funk. I know they’d side with Assad (regardless of what he’s done, at least for now).

  8. RHiro says:

    We truly are living in strange times. The U.S. under Trump may become the destabilizing force in the world while China becomes the stabilizing force.

    Either a peace deal is reached with N.Korea finally or Trump may well sacrifice S. Korea to prove he is a serious nutter.

    • If my reading of Trump as Ron Paul when it comes to foreign affairs, he’ll most likely have China lead the re-unification of North and South, engineer either a deal with the Kims to leave N. Korea or assassinate them all (the blood line). But it’s to China’s advantage to have S. Koreans run N. Korea (then pit the now reunified Korean peninsula against Japan as buffer).

      Trump gets to save money, but pulling US troops off of Korea finally.

      • Micha says:

        Not gonna happen. Any more display of nuttiness on foreign policy and the pentagon bosses will do him in. Flynn is already sending a message to the white house.

        Like the health care debacle that blew up on his face (“nobody knew health care can be so complicated”), don Donald is also a clueless idiot on foreign relations.

        • @Micha,

          On the subject of economics and China, one of my designated enemies, I read the below-referenced article in the South China Morning Post about China’s pursuit of Friedman’s ‘impossible trinity’, the idea being that China seems to be transactionally managing the three points of the triangle based on need, and it promises to create economic disaster. If you have the time to read the short article, I’d be very much interested in your view on the matter.


          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks for the link. I have learned something today.

            In an effort to explain to myself I note and share the following.

            I = Interest rate
            B = Border trade or capital flows
            C = Currency exchange rate

            US Model — sensible
            – Control I
            – Open B
            – Market-determined C

            HK Model — sensible
            – Open B
            – Control C
            – Market-determined I

            NK Model — sensible
            – Control I
            – Control C
            Close B

            Yes, eet ees obvious that to have NK Model, but with Open B — that is, the impossible trinity — will lead to disaster, my barber tells me.

            Thus, for China to claim that the impossible trinity works,

            – Control I
            – Control C
            Open B

            is stupidity.

            (From a non-economist)

          • chemrock says:

            Don’t mind if I barge in Joe.
            It’s like I said in an old comment on the unholy trinity.


            Micha’s contribution here would be interesting.

          • Micha says:


            The SCMP article is right on target. Communist China’s monetary policy had been shifting several times from fixed to floating since 1970’s. Today, the renminbi is just partially pegged to a basket of other major currencies (Australia, Canada, Japan, UK, Euro, US).

            This shifting and oftentimes opaque policy indicates either less confidence in their own currency or they are just playing segurista which leaves money traders around the globe scratching their heads and strongly justifies the charge, not least of which coming from the don himself, that China is indeed a currency manipulator. It is also not true that it doesn’t engage in some form of capital controls.

            That means China, unlike the US, can never be trusted as a dominant global economic leader. Most of its economic and financial data are unreliable.

            Will its boast of having dodged the trilemma led to economic disaster? Yes and no.

            Yes, if it is indeed true that it pursued all three policies at once.

            No, because its claim on a stable yuan and free capital flow is just, for the most part, undiluted communist propaganda.

        • Fellas, the only Holy Trinity I know of is coffee, guns and beer , so I’ll just comment on the Korean peninsula re-unification vis-a-vis China interests—- Joe that article is interesting, China torn between two lovers, HK and NK economic models (I’ll leave that for Micha to comment on).

          My point with Korea reunification is chemp’s “Commercial penetration and strategic leverage “ ,

          South Korean police and military intel services, focus on two targets, that’s North Koreans and Americans , I’m not sure if the focus on Chinese at all, though I know Koreans have issues with Japanese folks (culturally speaking); so if I have to guess I’d say Koreans both North and South Koreans prefer the company of Chinese more than Americans and especially the Japanese (cultural and historical biases operating here).

          So the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to Korean reunification is China— the crazier the Kims get, or if that nutty dynasty dissolves, refugee problems will affect China more than any actors. It would only take China to recognize that a reunified Korean peninsula is good for them——— all the US has to do is 1) recognize that 30 years of dealing with North Korea is like Cuba (until Obama) ie. not going nowhere any time soon; 2) having recognized this, simply bow to China and retract fully from the Korean peninsula… probably offer help in case

          North Korea fights (ie. de-conflict and cooperate) or refugees get out of hand, but if done right , China can totally clean house in North Korea, it just takes the US to back off , and that’s exactly what China has in the White House right now, an administration that can look the other way (no more riding high horses).

          Micha it’s totally doable, will China be interested in doing it is the question (a question related to Joe’s article shared above, since HK & SK are similar economically no? so doing away with NK makes sense),

          they’ve got the right partner in Trump i’m sure (though I’m curious if Sec. Mattis at DoD will object, because Marines have this love hate with Korea, our institutional cherries were popped in the Korean campaign, “Chesty” Puller is a god in SOI/TBS , Sec. Tillerson at State would love such an arrangement). Will China?

          Just guarantee China that there won’t be another Yalu River stunt, that the Korean peninsula is hands-off Americans, they’ll be on board.

          • Micha says:

            Trump maybe a fool but it’s unthinkable the senior folks at the NSC will just allow him to give up a strategic ally. They’ve already de-fanged Bannon because it is clearly beyond his pay grade to get involve and de-construct the national security state.

            • Japan is a strategic ally, but S. Korea is more like Turkey in NATO, especially under https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_and_Development_Party_(Turkey) not a lot in common.

              It’s a win-win also for S. Korea to expand northward, get those people working, resources , etc.

              Does it benefit the US more or less if it stays in Korea, just guarding an arbitrary border. That’s the question.

              We’ve also over stayed our welcome too in Japan, hence the draw down of troops there, most are moving to Guam and Hawaii (back where they started), especially with encouragement of Japan to grow their military power again. So a US military draw down is likely too in Korea, ‘cept Un wants the US to stay via his tantrums.

              Chinese and Korean interests aside, the US has very minimal interest in the Korean peninsula, aside from manning the border, there’s really nothing more, so better to let S. Korean capitalism infect China up north, the way HK did for it down south, no?

    • NHerrera says:

      I have a different view. China “feeding and growing” that Pit Bull to be more toxic — while saying that it cannot control North Korea; and saying further that the region can be stabilized if the US-SoKor-Japan naval drills in the area are stopped — shows only that Xi Jinping has more oily finesse in acting the stabilizer than Trump. (I am not a military hardware expert but the THAAD being installed in South Korea is supposed to serve a purpose at the least in the immediate term.) I must admit that time is doing tick-tock-tick-tock for the US and its allies to do something against that Pit Bull and China whatever that is.

      • NH,

        that’s related to what I say above, China has a vested interest to keep that Pit Bull contained.

        if war happens, N Korean refugees will flood China, and China will face another Yalu River encroachment deja vu all over again—– so it behooves China to clean house themselves, they just have to request that America don’t interfere whilst it cleans house (it can be done quietly without war, China can do this).

        Trump (of any president since) is the right guy to pull out of the Korean peninsula (it’s a one way relationship, with S. Korea benefiting more… not transactionally beneficial 😉 ). Most importantly, then after China will be sandwiched between two similar lovers, HK and SK , making a less schizo China in the end——

        it’s a win-win.

  9. fedelynn says:

    Hi, All. I have this theory about what’s happening. I have no idea if this has been presented on this blog site before.

    Ultimate Goal: Have the Philippines under the leadership of Duterte-NDF; later on, just the NDF.

    Path: Put Duterte in power

    [1] Use the money of Duterte friends like the Marcoses and other biggies. Once the goal is reached, will the NDF tolerate the Marcoses as a TY for their help with Duterte or will it be off with their heads? I have no idea.

    [2] Use good PR plans, which I think started way back in 2012 when reports started to circulate of this mayor driving around in a taxi to see how his people is doing.

    [3] Blow up the political opponents’ failures and foolishness/insensitivity (esp. of their relatives). Blow up the good things being done by Duterte and friends. Compare these two, then blow-up again the difference. I remember reading a Rappler article that one of the top PR people of Duterte crowed that they did this using social media and continue to do this. Maybe add use of ‘social media bots’(?) c/o China. (Why do I keep thinking that the PR methods of Duterte and Trump are the same? Maybe they’re using the same company.)

    [4] Put efficient card-carrying members of the NDF-CPP or their supporters in high public positions to help endear the Duts Admi to the people. Evasco is one. As to Sec. Taguiwalo, I have no idea if she is a card-carrying member. Some say she is. For me, she is doing good as a DSWD head. However, I need to know whom she serves as Duterte, the NDF, and the Filipinos are 3 distinct entities.

    [5] Once in power, isolate people and groups who do not ‘behave’: VP Robredo, Drilon, Hontiveros, Santos, GMA, etc. Does the AFP belong to this group? So it would seem if we are to believe the tweets of @Alt Team AFP. (The latter has an interesting explanation for the Kadamay mess: the houses of the soldiers are to be given to the Kadamay as punishment for the Army’s refusal to agree to a unilateral ceasefire with the NDF. The @Alt Team AFP twitted that the Kadamay are not the ‘true’ poor, but the poor sector already infiltrated by the Reds. )

    Proofs: The recent muscle-flexing of the NPA in the streets; the Kadamay mess; the vows to arrest PNoy and others personalities involved in the Kidapawan massacre; the Palit-Bise shit of Uson and camp. I think these are also test cases as to the popularity of Duts Admi.

    Unknown factors: The future behavior of the ‘Misbehaving’ group and the Filipinos, Marcoses and other cronies, Xi and Putin and Trump, the rest of Asia and the West. The Great Creator and the ETs (if we watch “Ancient Aliens”)

    Ok, excitement over. Thank you.

    • Who are the NDF masterminds? Have they pulled something similar in the past? Who has in the Philippines? What I know about 3rd World politics and power-plays it’s that you have to have the police/military back you, if you get one and not the other, or if one is more powrful than the other by design, you’re in trouble, ie. Egypt and Turkey.

      Can you factor in PNP and AFP in your theory?

      • fedelynn says:

        The PHL has never had one like Duterte– I mean someone who is a friend to the Left… As to NDF muscle-flexing, I remember that the CPP-NPA did a show of force in Bataan during the early months of Cory’s presidency. It was disapproved of by both AFP and Cory — well, unsurprisingly, since the NDF-CPP-NPA became “outside the kulambo (mosquito net)” after EDSA 1986 because the group put its lot with some of Marcos’ political decisions during and after elections. (May I add that I have the feeling that it is about to become outside the kulambo again. One thing about being rigid in one’s beliefs is that it puts you out of touch with how other people see reality.) …. As to what you wrote about 3rd world politics, I agree. We are in trouble. Please visit the @Alt Team AFP Twitter account. I have no idea if it is legit or if we are just being skilfully played here–you are a soldier, perhaps you can pick up odd things? Anyway, by its replies to questions, it doesn’t seem to approve some of what the PNP is doing under the current leadership–the clowning, the beauty pageants don’t help with the country’s problems. Nor does it agree with the PNP’s assessment that there is good news because the crime is down, because the killings are up, etc.

        • Very interesting, fed!

          I’ll look thru more, but that is similar sentiments expressed by say Egyptian and Turkish military, great sentiment nonetheless, but you have to look into individual officers, they’ll be hedging their bets, when you get a tip in the balance, then it can go either way, Egypt’s recent coup against the Muslim Brothers was no-match; Turkish military though was not completely thought out.

          Both militaries Egypt and Turkey are good case study for your theory, since both have strong ties with the US military, thru back channels and training in the US.

    • Fascinating assessment that makes a lot of sense. His acts make more sense in that light than in a ‘constitutional’ light.

    • NHerrera says:

      I am glad that from known facts/events we are able to analyze or divine the possible direction of things to come. But these facts are only from the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

      I am wondering what the likes of Sen Lacson, DND Lorenzana who we cannot say are NDF admirers — and who may know more facts below the waterline — are planning to do about it not necessarily immediately.

      • fedelynn says:

        None revealed from the tweets (as expected), just that the ‘rebel’ group admires Lorenzana for doing right by the country, esp. when it comes to China and Benham Rise… Sorry, Imgur is blocked in our campus.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for the feedback.

          Re imgur picture from the link nothing to miss — just a simple line diagram of the waterline and an iceberg.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Good theories.
      Just a few points.(own theories?)
      The housing compounds raided by kadamay is also for the PNP, and aside from pushups and being assigned to no man’s land and a few arrests, they are still in good graces with Digong.

      His appointed AFP CoS is a known rebel hunter, so the AFP being punished seems semi near fetched(not far fetched).

      And the transferees do not like the finished product and they called it pigeon homes and sub standard.
      That is why they were promised new homes.
      I don’t know how, but they were promised.

      But cpp infiltration is very plausible, they (CPP)also made a deal with the professional squatter syndicates.
      The syndicates, they would not allow lost of monthly income. CPP must sustain them some how.
      They (kadamay)also have to dea with their loan sharks, they can run, but they can’t hide.
      How will they sustain them selves in unknown territory without five-six.

  10. RHiro says:

    As for things back at the Palace with our resident nutter in place, he continues to rail at the international community but his counterpart in the U.S. is going one better. He and his bunch of crazies do not have any faith in multilateralism built up over the Post war years by the U.S. and its allies.

    The new U.S. policy will be “Have Gun will Travel.” Purely transactional.

    China became one of the principal countries victimized by the first Age of Imperialism. Now she is in a position to be a part of the Second Age. She has already extended her “trip wire” defensive line in the SCS.

    She is settling in for what may well be the major start for a new age of cooperation or confrontation with the U.S.

    Xi and Trump will be breaking bread or slurping noodles together in the next few days.


    • I agree with “Purely transactional” , though “Have Gun will Travel” IMHO is not synonymous , maybe “What’s in it for US” policy ? ie. if we’re gonna lose blood for this… at least make it worthwhile, that’s Trump calculus and has been since, making it a pattern. If there’s any predictions , start there—- “no upside and tremendous downside” that’s your “purely transactional”, RHiro.

      • RHiro says:

        Obama had already declared that the U.S. is not the world’s policeman.

        Trump has said that the U.S. will use force when it is directly in their interest. Like going back to Irag and destroying IS and grab the oil to pay for the expenses and controlling the oil.

        His people let it be known to the Germans that they owe the U.S. money for the protection of Europe during the height of the Cold War.

        That phrase about Have Gun Will Travel was the business card of a sleek Western gunslinger on TV.

        The Cold War, the New World Order after the Cold War and now Trumps turning his back on the multilateral institutions to go it alone.

        Campaign bluster and bluster while one is in the Oval Office is what the world is waiting to see.

        North korea is going to be his first test of global reality. Seoul a city of 10 million people lies justy 30+ miles from the North Korean boundary.

        Naturally the crisis of global capitalism requires some form of destruction. This is made to order.

        • chemrock says:

          Nicely worded.
          BTW older timers will remember “Have Gun Will Travel”. But the irony is the hired gun Palladin is a bleeding heart. He always end up helping the weak and collects no fees for his services.

          • Gadzooks, next you’ll tell us that Hoss Cartwright was an economist. Man, that’s OLD!

            Zorro in black and white was my hero.

            • “Obama had already declared that the U.S. is not the world’s policeman.”

              Totally agree, this is where both Obama and Trump appealed to me— but , Obama let Hillary loose in the Mid-East, and that’s all her doing. But yeah, Obama was totally Ron Paul when it came to the Mid-East.

            • sonny says:

              Zorro (Tyrone Power) is like pizza, I have to have it at certain times of the year. I repeat the sword fight between Zorro and Basil Rathbone over and over: weapon of choice, epee; en garde, parry, parry, feint, thrust, thrust. Yesss! 🙂 Bonanza and Palladin are on reruns and I’m in TV heaven!

              • Etched indelibly on my brain is Zorro stuck in a mine shaft with the elevator car crashing down toward him. We have to await next week’s episode to see how he survives. It’s a little like the Philippines today. 🙂

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thank heavens for re-runs, got the chance to watch Bonanza, and many great shows.

          • sonny says:

            The geo-political landscape as I see it:

            Putin: anything that thwarts the US is good.

            NoKor: wants in as nuclear power, ready and willing like yesterday; Constantly adjusting 7-day plan to overrun SoKor & US troops.

            Japan: main American surrogate.

            Philippines: expendable due to internal weakness and pusillanimity

            China: world-spread economically

  11. NHerrera says:

    On the latest trust rating survey of PRD — undertaken March 15-20 by Pulse Asia among 1200 adults and reported today — I will not be my usual number-crunching self except to say that it is directionally down as well as the previous one, and would have been quite surprised if it stayed at the same level or gone up considering the background events — in which case one can say we as a people have lost all sense of self-esteem or are irredeemably stupid. A confirmatory SWS survey is useful to have.


    • chemrock says:

      The impact on the economy has’nt been felt yet. I had previously predicted the pains will hit in 2018. I’m sticking to the timeframe. When this occurs, it’s below 50% time.

      • madlanglupa says:

        Already there have been some reports of plans, to raise prices of certain commodities due to the weakening of the peso.

        • NHerrera says:

          On the other hand there is a play on the PSEi with a definite breakout upwards from the band it had the previous 2.5 months.

          PSEi rallies past 7,500


          • Caliphman says:

            I do not know that the Philippine economic engine and the country’s investment and financial health will collapse in the next couple of years because of Duterte’s bizarre policies and stewardship. Barring he does not steer the economic ship of state into the shoals or into an iceberg, we may yet avoid a failed and bankrupt economy like the horror that is now Venezuela.

      • NHerrera says:

        chemrock, you may care to read the link. Habito, former NEDA chief, posts today an article that directionally supports your comment.


        • “But if we ourselves insist on doing the wrong things and cause our own problems, then indeed we must worry.”

          He mentions that the restrictions on imports go against market forces, and are contributing to rising food prices/inflation, as an example.

          • NHerrera says:

            I am glad that we here at TSH are able to discern the signal from the noise, through your stewardship, Joe. Of course, we ourselves sometimes contribute to the “noise” but knowingly (?) and perhaps for humor to relieve the frustration in seeing the “signal.”

  12. NHerrera says:

    This is interesting. Pimentel has nice words to say of sacked DILG Chief Sueno.

    Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday defended dismissed Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno as a “good, low-key, and religious” person, saying the public should not be quick to judge the former Cabinet official as corrupt.

    Pimentel, who is in Bangladesh attending the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said he wants to see the evidence against Sueno first.

    “Ako ay nalulungkot dahil ang pagkakakilala ko kay Secretary Mike ay siya ay mabait, low-key at relihiyosong tao,” Pimentel said.

    “Nasa abroad lang ako ngayon pero pagbalik ko ako ay magtatanong kung ano ay nangyari at ano ang ebidensya laban sa kanya, kung meron man,” he added.


  13. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: Fired. What a coincidence.

    • Hahahaha… I’ve said it before, Trump fires people (that’s his pattern). Ivanka and Jared are the folks to watch.

      • They’ve not featured this news on CNN yet, right now Trump’s doing a press con with King A (of Jordan).

        I’ve said before on here, that guy should be featured more, King A (of Jordan) is our guy in the Middle East. Could be the Philippines hope also, the Philippine DFA has a great “guy” right now, in Jordan, get something going with Philippine leaders and Jordan.

      • Micha says:

        Trump didn’t fire Bannon. He was merely taken out of his principals role in the National Security Council because according to McMaster, a political adviser such as Bannon shouldn’t have a role in decisions involving war and peace.

        It was McMaster who orchestrated the nudge out, not Trump.

        • The oddity of Trump’s governance is that it is unifying the normally fractured security establishment around the integrity of information. Trump has the same misunderstanding as Duterte that they are the highest authority in the nation. The Constitution and the imperatives that go along with the laws and ethics and ideals stated there are higher, and they are who pushed Bannon out . . . thanks to McMaster. 🙂

          • I agree with Joe here, that and the fact that Trump is the most closely watched president of all time, Republican senators especially are shining; also Federal judges.

            States and surprisingly “sanctuary” cities are pulling their weight too. Maybe during Joe’s time , but for me I’ve never seen such interest in gov’t than now.

            As for whether Trump fired or simply side-lined Bannon, my point has always been that Trump is only loyal to himself, and by extension his kids—– so this narrative that Bannon is the Wizard behind Trump is far from true from the git-go, like many others they’re expendable.

            his constant is that he’ll throw unneeded folks under the bus , when it suits him. Hence focus on Ivanka & Jared—- they are the only ones i can’t see him tossing …both them and Omarosa (if there’s a Wizard in Trump’s admin, it’d be her… I still don’t know what she does in the WH, but you see her in the sidelines pretty much every media event)

            • Micha says:

              What is unfolding here is that the Tweeterer-In-Chief who ran as anti establishment candidate is being co-opted and tamed by the establishment.

              “Nobody knew Washington better than I do, so only me can fix Washington”, he once thundered during his campaign rally.

              Turns out he is the one who needed fixing (and is being fixed).

              We’ll see how he will handle the meeting later today with Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

              • I hope they watch Assassin’s Creed.

              • “What is unfolding here is that the Tweeterer-In-Chief who ran as anti establishment candidate is being co-opted and tamed by the establishment.”

                I see as more Trump just going back to his Democrat roots,

                He’s neither Democrat nor Republican, though closer to Democrat in the scale IMHO— especially socially as a liberal. He’s been wanting to be President since the 80s, he just found his home in the Alt Right milieu and ran on that, hence the switch to the Republican party.

                If he’s being co-opted and tamed it’s by Ivanka & Jared (now those two are Democrats for sure), not by Republicans. Remember Trump is not conservative, he’s no evangelical, there’s no reason for him to kow-tow to conservatives and evangelicals. it’s the blue collar white middle class

                he’s always been associated with, ever since he expressed interest in public office back in the 80s.

  14. Yvonne says:

    If I may beg the host’s indulgence, I like to invite you to read my essay on Raissa’s blog site:


    JoeAm can likely relate to Alex Esclamado in many ways – they’re both American citizens, both like to write, both from the Visayas region, and both in the forefront of the fight for good governance.

    • Thank you for linking to your post at Raissa’s, Yvonne. It is a very sobering read and shows the power of a state intent on controlling what people think. That’s one of the enemies I cite, so the article is definitely relevant.

  15. Sup says:

    There are happy people in the Philippines…..

  16. andrewlim8 says:


    If Duterte uses the “smell test” in firing corrupt officials he appointed, where just a “whiff” is enough to be removed, then why can’t he smell the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses?

    Does he need to see a nose specialist?

  17. I think Duterte deals with everybody by the same principles as he deals with Misuari..

  18. Sup says:

    Hmmmmmmmmmm… i want to see him in swim trunk on a jetski. 🙂

  19. edgar lores says:

    1. Surprisingly, I had a hard time with this question: Know thine enemies?

    2. I had to look up the definition. An enemy is a person who is actively opposed or hostile to me… or a person who I actively oppose or am hostile to.

    3. My first thought was: I am my best enemy. Why? Because I am most actively opposed to my best self.

    3.1. When my best self says, “You have to sleep early, exercise, eat your greens, and meditate,” my other selves say, “Nah ah, it’s too early” or “I’m not fat” or “But it’s not yummy” or “I’m too busy.”

    4. Then I asked: “Apart from me, who is actively opposed to me?” Do I have enemies? I suppose there are:

    o. The unknown neighbor who dumps dried palm fronds in my front yard, hoping that I will mistake them for fronds from my palm tree.
    o The commenters in news media who think my opinions are bunkum.

    4.1. But do they deserve to be called enemies? I don’t think so.

    5. Then I asked: “Apart from me, who or what do I actively oppose?” And here the answers came easier and faster. I oppose:

    o Leaders who do not know how to lead
    o Columnists who are not sufficiently insightful
    o Commenters who are illogical or vituperative
    o People who have no consideration for others
    o People who have poor judgment
    o People who are willfully ignorant and do not try to improve themselves
    o People with no or low standards in morality or aesthetics
    o People who commit crimes
    o People who are arrogant or spiteful or vindictive

    5.1. I suppose I could go on and on and make a list of hundreds more. And this is just the Who. I have not started with the What. Like dirty bathrooms, unwashed dishes, and cockroaches.

    5.2 But just looking at the above list, I can see that the common denominator is ignorance and the lack of spirit. But the lack of spirit is also ignorance.

    5.3. Now JoeAm says “ignorant people are not my enemies.” I can understand what he is saying. Because if ignorant people are your enemies, then everyone is your enemy. And you are surrounded.

    5.4. You are, in fact, internally surrounded and externally surrounded. Gadzooks!

    5.4. And consider this: ignorant people are really and truly your best friends because… they make you aware of your best self. They bring out the best in you.

    6. But in the same manner that I criticize my inner selves who, like envious crabs, keep me from being my best self, I give myself permission to criticize my best friends. And even permission to abhor them a little. After all, what’s a little loathing between friends?

    • Enjoyed this read. It left me speechless. 🙂

    • Bill In Oz says:

      Ahhh Edgar, such wonderful “uncommon ” sense. Thank you.

    • Awesome, edgar!

      Reminded me of this Mark Twain quote:

      • edgar lores says:

        This deadly combination seems to describe a lot of people at the top. In the Philippines, it also helps if your forebears were “successful.”

      • karlgarcia says:

        Then all I need is confidence then I am all set.

    • cha says:

      Beautiful, Edgar. Thanks.

      As for me, I oppose : (in no particular order)

      o Racism
      o Misogyny
      o Homophobia
      o Bigotry
      o Abuse of power

      The common denominator for the first four being hatred of the “other” and for all five a lack of empathy (to say the least) or at worst the loss of one’s humanity.

      My “enemies” are probably the descendants of your ones. Or are they the ancestors? Either way, they are related.

      What does that make us?

      Friends. Duh.


      • edgar lores says:


      • chemrock says:

        As for me my #1 hate is injustice #2 is ingratitude, the rest everything of yours and edgar’s and maybe some more.

        • cha says:

          Ooh I like your enemies too! I mean I like to hate them as well. However, as our lists gets longer, we then realise we are actually outnumbered. Gadzooks!!!

          • edgar lores says:

            Speaking of rights and injustice, the Philippines scores a mediocre .51 and ranks 70 out of 113. Here is a comparison of the scores of Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, and China:

            4.1 Equal treatment/no discrimination .87 .84 .54 .45
            4.2 Right to life and security .85 .81 .34 .48
            4.3 Due process of law .77 .80 .35 .51
            4.4 Freedom of expression .51 .50 .63 .14
            4.5 Freedom of religion .65 .72 .64 .30
            4.6 Right to privacy .60 .68 .41 .22
            4.7 Freedom of association .54 .52 .65 .18
            4.8 Labor rights .72 .74 .43 .30

            The country’s score in “4.2 Due process of law” is abysmal.

            Source: The WJP Rule of Law Index 2016 by Mahar Mangahas


        • edgar lores says:


    • Sup says:

      Hard to ignore your post… 🙂

    • NHerrera says:

      On enemies — the lists above by edgar, cha, and by others in an implied way cover the important ones in the context of the Philippines at the present period. Thanks all.

      I like edgar’s note that the enemy is ourselves too. But if we are still rational, use that to better ourselves.

  20. Lil says:

    So funny. All of a sudden Breibarters and Trumpers are pissed and the lib/dems especially the media outlets are praising Trump’s action.

    • Trump went with the military. The hardheads want Trump to jam the military into has pocket. Given his tenuous circumstance on Russian connections, that could be a fast pace to impeachment. The hardheads don’t face impeachment, so they can pop off. And make problems worse.

      Edgar has the popcorn.

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