Asian Century by Herman Tiu Laurel
The Pelosi misadventure to Taipei for a photo-op with the bag lady Tsai-Ingwen was done in the stealth of the night on the pretext of showing “iron clad and unwavering American commitment” to defend Taiwan from “aggression.” Knowing what we know about the history of U.S. commitments – from Vietnam to Afghanistan and now to Ukraine including the E.U. involvement in the U.S.-imposed “sanctions war”- we recognize that U.S. commitments to its allies and friends are never worth the paper they are written on.
In the midst of the Pelosi visit to her friend and supposed pal of the U.S., Taiwan has begun to suffer the consequences of this U.S. “commitment”: China has already imposed it’s a ban on 100 Taiwan companies that export regularly to China. Hundreds of commodities- varieties of citrus and apples, species of seafood, even cookie products- are not spared. It remains to be seen how much more economic pain China will inflict on the small island’s economy that currently depends on China for up to 40% of its exports.
Taiwanese residents are suffering further tensions and disruptions from Pelosi’s stealth visit as China, in a show of force, has imposed restrictions on civilian air and sea transportation around Taiwan for the duration of military “live fire” exercises. Taiwan has had to negotiate with the Philippines and Japan for alternative route to alleviate the short term “blockade” by China as a sample of what it can do in the long term if push comes to shove.
Some American analysts expect that further anguish on Taiwan from Pelosi whose trip was hoped to win the votes of her California constituencies of Chinese descent, such as immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong. In his August 2 report, Leland Holt Vittert of the U.S. NewsNation network said that “Pelosi is only winner in trip to Taiwan.” Once again, the inane American political system is allowing an individual to hold he State hostage to her political ambition.
The U.S. State, that abstract notion that is meant to keep a nation united, has neither the power nor the substance to present a government with integrity to face the world and to stand by its commitments, in this case the ”One China” policy. Instead, its “strategic ambiguity” is useful in plotting treachery. Actually, the U.S. is staging a creeping “Asian Ukraine proxy war” by escalating visits of higher-and- higher level visits of U.S. officials to Taipei to embolden pro-independence elements in Taiwan.
The continuing U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” notwithstanding, the international community continues to stand with China. Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and others have frowned upon, if not condemned the Pelosi visit to Taiwan. While the Philippines has been quiet on the matter, some media have reported that it may also have given the U.S. a cold shoulder by preventing itself as a stopover point from Singapore to Taiwan.. Instead, Pelosi is visiting South Korea but neither its President nor its foreign minister will be meeting her, another telling signal.
At the minimum, the Philippines should keep quiet about the Pelosi gimmick, which it is already doing. From an ethical point-of-view, however, the Philippines may be more vocal for peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the world by discouraging such adventurism as the Pelosi stunt that benefits only herself and not even the U.S. Even the U.S. will not fault the Philippines for being more vocal as criticism of Pelosi’s trip is also mounting in the U.S.
Advising against such adventurism would also earn points for the Philippines with China as the latter may transfer its purchases of citrus and other fruits imports from Taiwan to the Philippines. , As it did In past years, China may allow imports for Philippine bananas which allowed our country to become the number 1 exporter of the commodity to China. Our Department of Foreign Affairs is already considering this, and coordinating with the Dept. of Trade which I know is very keen on the China market.
In closing, let me digress to the often-heard Philippine posture vis-à-vis its US and China relations. The official government line is that the Philippines is “Friends to all, enemy to none.” This reminds me of Aristotle who said, “A friend to all is a friend to none.” One interpretation of Aristotle is that ”while it is possible to be a friend to many by simply being a good person, one cannot have the same relationship that is based in virtue and character with many people.”
Isn’t it time for the Philippines to become truly virtuous in its foreign policy and foreign relations instead of simply being opportunistic? We have seen how cavalier U.S. foreign policy takes its commitment to world peace and stability by destabilizing the world at every opportunity. Alternatively, China continues to show its reliability in adhering to international fairness and justice, and the pursuit of global growth and prosperity for peace and harmony.