Taiwan A Red Herring for A Weak Link to US War in Asia

Secretary of National Defense Carlito Galvez, and US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall make a light gesture during the recent groundbreaking ceremony for an airstrip reconstruction project at Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga.
 

By Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

 

Part One : “Takusa” is born in social media

Now it is becoming clearer. The American claim that it must support Taiwan due to an impending invasion by China is a dead herring.

From the beginning that it would be awkward for the US to do so first because it has adopted the One-China Policy, which regards Taiwan as part of China. Despite often disambiguous, the Americans cannot flex this time without emitting such obnoxious smell of fish among members of the United Nations.

The parade of American politicians to Taiwan led by outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reinforced by Vice President Kamala Harris to Japan also provoked China to demonstrate how it intends to enforce a blockade of the island, in a demonstration of superior military might to stop any foreign intrusions.

China launched vast military maneuvers around the island, even at the risk of partially exposing its plans to the United States and its Asian allies. According to Xinhua, Beijing mobilized more than 100 planes and more than 10 frigates and destroyers — including the J-20 stealth fighter and a Type 055 destroyer, the crown jewels of China’s air and naval forces.

The Chinese military fired a dozen ballistic missiles that hit six focused areas around Taiwan less than 20 kilometers from the island’s coast — with some flying over the island. The opportunity also enabled China to test its hypersonic missile and drone capability.

Consequently, this Chinese military exercise drove the US to retreat all of its military assets up to 3,000 kilometers radius out of range of the anti-ship Dong Feng 21 known as “Carrier-killers” but still reachable by Dong Feng 26 “Guam- killer” missiles.

In the area of domestic politics, we see support behind Taiwan president Tsai Eng Wen of the Democratic Progressive Party crumbling, as most Taiwanese regard her dalliance with Washington DC as putting the island at harms way.

As we speak, she is in New York attempting to draw optics to shore up her lost hold on her constituency. US President Joe Biden has however sought to underscore nature of the stops as “personal”, in an attempt to avoid escalating tensions with China.

She is also slated to visit Guatemala and Belize, in the wake of a signal from Honduras that it is likely breaking its diplomatic ties with Taiwan to forge a relationship with China.

As this is happening former Taiwan president Ma Ying Jeou’s is visiting China next week in a historic tour with stops in Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing and Shanghai.

This is the first of a Taiwanese leader since the defeated nationalist Chinese government of Chiang Kai‐shek fled to the island at the end of the civil war in 1949, an indication of a thawing of relations between the China Communist Party and the Koumintang opposition, foreboding the defeat of Tsai’s DPP in nearby elections.

So with the prospects of the blockade and Taiwan’s changing political environment, what other business the US has in our neck of woods, besides ongoing marketing efforts of the American deep state to sell more arms to Taipei and Tokyo?

Need for urgent pivot

The Americans are in desperate quest to retreat from its present war in Ukraine to spark another, in order to camouflage its failures engaging in a war with NATO against Russia, and saving its beleaguered economy at home. 

Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor, analyzing for Information Clearing House, wrote “American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance.

“The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

“Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources… (while fielding) a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.

“Contemporary Russia has (also) skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the U.S. and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

 “In sum, Washington’s military strategy to weaken, isolate, or even destroy Russia is a colossal failure and the failure puts Washington’s proxy war with Russia on a truly dangerous path.

“To press on, undeterred in the face of Ukraine’s descent into oblivion, ignores three metastasizing threats:

“1. Persistently high inflation and rising interest rates that signal economic weakness. (The first American bank failure since 2020 is a reminder of U.S. financial fragility.)

“2. The threat to stability and prosperity inside European societies already reeling from several waves of unwanted refugees/migrants.

“3. The threat of a wider European war.”

Macgregor is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books.

Pivot to the Philippines

I have since September of last year, called the attention of the Filipino public about the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that Noynoy Aquino signed in 2014, re-allowing American boots and war equipment on the Philippine bases after they were booted out in 1991 by the Philippine Senate.

On August 12, 2022, I said those EDCA bases will be targets of external attacks. https://asiancenturyph.com/2022/08/12/edca-not-a-deterrent-but-a-magnet-to-chinas-dong-feng-missiles/

On September 5,2022, I followed this up with calling attention to opening the option to abrogating the agreement. https://asiancenturyph.com/2022/09/05/deadline-to-abrogate-edca-is-april-27-2023/

Reading the mind of the Americans, the desperation of the US to introduce a new war theatre post-Ukraine in the Asia-Pacific using Taiwan was really a pie-in-the-sky because they could not position themselves using the Philippines during the six years of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte was even in the brink of abrogating our  1999 Visiting Forces Agreement, and at least a review of the 2014 EDCA and 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

Somehow however, it has found the Achilles heel of the present dispensation under Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. whom as early as the 2022 elections President Duterte has hinted as a weak leader.

By leaving seven out of agreed 21 projects included in the 2014 signing of EDCA, Marcos Junior found himself wedged in the middle of the United States completing the seven projects and his own Armed Forces of the Philippines salivating for more.

Added to this were rumors that the Americans leveraged Marcos Junior about the hidden wealth of the Marcos Senior that are either stashed within US territories or within the clutches of its financial systems.

A recent rumor was possibly exposing Marcos Junior to himself benefitting from Smartmatic in bloating his big majority in the recent presidential elections.

Marcos Junior weak link

Least of all is the threat of another regime change removing Marcos Junior and his wife from the presidency. At the end of the day, they got him by his balls.

You can speculate any which way you want but the fact now sits that Marcos Junior has approved four more bases (I refuse to call them sites) under EDCA.

Despite Secretary of Defense Charlie Galvez’s yarn that decision of where the additional four sites will be located, our canaries have intercepted a letter from his Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessments requesting his counterpart in the Office of American Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to include the Cagayan North International Airport as additional EDCA location and the repair Basa Airbase Runway, located in Floridablanca, Pampanga, as additional project.

The US has allocated $24 million for the Basa Project and construction is now underway.

Galvez is now engaged in disinformation that Governor Manuel Mamba has also approved the inclusion of Cagayan as additional EDCA base.

What Mamba said is documented in his public statements,  that while the final decision rests with the President, “I maintain my stand against any foreign forces stationed in my province.”

The President himself is engaged in fake news.

Speaking before the troops of the 9th Infantry Division at Camp Elias Angeles, San Jose in Pili, Camarines Sur, last March 16, he lamented how the previous administrations had failed to develop the military’s capabilities.

Under the term of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the Armed Forces of the Philippines broke the record of previous presidents by implementing a total of 54 projects under RA 7898 (AFP Modernization Act) and RA 10349 (Revised AFP Modernization Act) and delivering 70 other projects.

Find the details at  https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1147525

To start a war with China, the US has found a weak link in the Asia-Pacific.

A neophyte in geopolitics, Marcos Junior has inconveniently ended up as the American pawn because he allowed himself to be sandwiched between China and US with the Philippine military hand at work. 

Social media has started making fun of his persona as “Takusa”, a vernacular concoction for “Takot sa Asawa” (henpecked husband). Today this is being equated as “Takot sa USA” (in fear of the Americans).

But Marcos Junior can still find a way out of this conundrum.

(To be continued)

 
<strong>Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan</strong>
Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

is the anchor of Ang Maestro – the Unfinished Revolution at Radyo Pilipinas1, co-host of Opinyon Ngayon at Golden Nation Network Television, a political analyst, and author of books.

His third book, The Poverty of Power will soon be off-the-press. It is a historiography of controversial issues of spanning 36 years leading to the Demise of the Edsa Revolution and the Rise of the Philippine Phoenix. Paglinawan’s past best sellers have been A Problem for Every Solution (2015), a characterization of factors affecting Philippine-China relations, and No Vaccine for a Virus called Racism (2020) a survey of international news attempting to tracing its origins. These important achievements earned for him to be named one of the 2021 international laureates for the Awards for the Promotion of Philippine-China Understanding. Ado, as he called for short, was a former press attaché and spokesman of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Facebook
 

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