THE IDSI CORNER
MANY experts agree that for China, the South China Sea dispute is negotiable, given that there are multiple claimants including Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, of which China already has ongoing negotiations. China has also offered 60-percent profit sharing in favor of the Philippines in disputed areas, far better than what the Philippines received from US and UK partners in the Malampaya deal. While there are occasional incidents, our own fishermen and official government statistics have reported increased fish stocks in the West Philippine Sea since 2016 due to its being protected now during spawning seasons. China has also resolved border issues with 12 of her 14 neighbors, although negotiations took decades and not without minor incidents, but China even gave concessions in pursuit of peace.
However, Taiwan, being a core national interest for China, is non-negotiable. Allowing the US bases in the Philippines, located in sites that clearly encircle Taiwan, will put the Philippines squarely in the war calculations of the People’s Liberation Army.
Orchestrating the prophecy to provoke war? US bombers fly out of North Luzon en route to Taiwan, announces White-House-linked think tank CNAS in mid-2022 in an NBC “Meet the Press” broadcast, presenting plans of a future war scenario with China. Rappler, Inquirer, Philippines Star and ABS-CBN did not report the news, which geopolitical analyst Dr. Dan Steinbock warns “would make the Philippines the only Asean country to suffer the potentially devastating repercussions of the possible war.” Why did the Department of National Defense (DND) or the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) not issue any complaint against the US? Is it afraid of being ignored again like when former Foreign secretary Teddyboy Locsin demanded the US Embassy to correct its tweet of “Sabah, Malaysia.”
During US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit, the DFA and DND proceeded to approve four additional sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or EDCA, reportedly needed to protect the Philippine interest amid the escalating tensions in the South China Sea and Taiwan. Why was there no mention of our claims in Sabah that has more Filipinos, actual territory and economically extracted natural resources than the West Philippine Sea, or Southwest Cay that Vietnam actually stole from the Philippines?
The US pledged a measly $82 million in “infrastructure investments” in these sites when the Philippines received $900 million from the US as compensation for extending for five years the use of Naval Base Subic Bay and Clark Air Base and for three smaller communications stations in 1983. When the anti-bases forces were gaining ground in the 1990s, the US was even willing to extend $2 billion in aid.
As a quick comparison of facts to answer the ongoing naysayers who continue to echo false information: China donated $150 million for Manila’s two newest bridges, with no conditions attached; waived another $100 million for a loan; and donated several hundred millions in vaccines and medical supplies that helped our economy stem the worst of the pandemic and open months earlier, saving us trillions! This is not including the hundreds of millions of dollars in investments and expenditures of Chinese citizens doing business and traveling in the Philippines (pre-pandemic), and the billions of dollars our Filipino producers gained as China became the top buyer of several Filipino agricultural products.
Objective analysts are now questioning whether the DFA and DND are moving to undermine the gains of Rodrigo Duterte’s independent foreign policy and blindly turning into reality what President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reminded the Davos audience of the precarious situation of the Philippines, “when elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.”
Countries destroyed under US military occupation/interference. Ukraine is a live example of a beautiful country destroyed, and over a hundred thousand dead, because it allowed itself to be the battleground of two giants. The US military-industrial complex has default control of the country through Ukraine’s military, populated with neo-Nazis forces whose loyalty is to the US and not the people of Ukraine. Most Western narrative of the conflict fail to account that a country was dragged into an unwanted war with her giant neighbor by US and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) military alliance deliberately provoking Russia and the mass genocide of at least 14,000 Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass from 2014 up to now.
The US occupation of Afghanistan, Syria and Libya led to over 250,000 dead, with millions of refugees and nations left destroyed, while US “defense” weapons contractors profits are in the hundreds of billions. The US “liberation” of Iraq based on fake news of WMDs (weapon of mass destructions) also led to another 1 million civilians dead, and a nation refractured into ancient old tribal and religious divisions.
US interference in Venezuela also created a humanitarian crisis, with millions unable to access basic health care and adequate nutrition (HRW, 2020), when America kidnapped President Nicolás Maduro and installed as president the opposition leader Juan Guaidó, and sanctioned hundreds of millions of dollars of public funds under Maduro’s government. A few years later, the US had to come humbly begging for oil from Maduro, whom the Western media had demonized for years, amid the sanctions US-imposed on Russia.
The long and solid democratic tradition of Chile was destroyed overnight when it saw a ruthlessly executed coup by the Chilean military led by General Pinochet in 1973 upon orders of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), leading the country in “17 years of one of the most cruel dictatorships in the memory of Latin America brutally replaced Chile’s long history of civilian rule.”
The CIA only admitted its role in the 1953 Iran coup against democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh who nationalized Iran’s oil wealth and was well-loved by the people, in favor of strengthening the absolute monarchical rule of the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The CIA rule book? Kermit Roosevelt Jr., the grandson of US President Theodore Roosevelt and a CIA official, seized control of the Iranian press and clergy by buying them off with bribes and circulating anti-Mossadegh propaganda (All the Shah’s Men, Kinzer).
Almost all unconstitutional, anti-democratic and chaos-resultant regime-changes all over the world have been orchestrated by the US and/or its allies through their obedient local military in those countries. American political pundit Jimmy Dore, in Fox News with Tucker Carlson, which mainstream US media refuses to interview, reminds the world “US is the world’s terrorists, having set the Middle East on fire in the last 20 years, made a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, and now predicting a war with China… with the US having 800 military bases in the world, we’re the ones provoking for war!”
The Filipinos lost around a million people in World War 2 when the US and Japan bombed each other in the Philippines, and another million in the Spanish-American War, that was when our population was less than 10 million. Do our DFA and DND really believe the US will protect Filipinos in a war?
We must learn from the lessons of Vietnam and Ukraine in which countrymen (Northerners and Southerners and Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking) were pitted against each other by the traitorous elements from within, in cahoots with the US military-industrial complex. Filipinos will be used by the US in a proxy war against China, up to the last Filipino pawn in its “Geo-Resource Stealing Chess!”
Dr. Mario Ferdinand Pasion is director of Phil-BRICS Strategic Studies and the chairman of Nationalist Filipinos Against Foreign Intervention.
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