Wednesday, June 21, 2017

War Between US and China, Soon a Reality by Erick San Juan



“On the current trajectory,” Allison contends, “war between the U.S. and China in the decades ahead is not just possible, but much more likely than currently recognized.” The reason, he says, can be traced to the problem described in the fifth century B.C.E. in Thucydides’ account of the Peloponnesian War. Sparta, as the established power, felt threatened by the rising might of Athens. In such conditions, Allison writes, “not just extraordinary, unexpected events, but even ordinary flashpoints of foreign affairs, can trigger large-scale conflict.”

Graham Allison’s book “Destined for War” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is just one of the many writers, pundits, professors and journalists who wrote books and articles all pertaining to the possible US and China war. Even yours truly had written articles some few decades ago that the US-China war is inevitable. And what it takes is an ordinary flashpoint of foreign affairs that will trigger a regional conflict or a global war in the process.

As I always say, history repeats itself or people repeats history as what great wars in the past showed which is very much true today, when an existing superpower like Sparta (US today) threatened by a rising power Athens (China today), the possibility of a war is not farfetched and with the alliances in place by both countries, it could be very bloody and a lot of lives will be wasted.

Another analysis by Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign-affairs commentator, considers China’s increasing clout in the broader context of what he calls, in a remarkably ugly phrase, “Easternization,” which is also the title of his well-written new survey (just published by Other Press). The gravity of economic and military power, he argues, is moving from West to East. He is thinking of more than the new class of Chinese billionaires; he includes India, a country that might one day surpass even China as an economic powerhouse, and reminds us that Japan has been one of the world’s largest economies for some time now. Tiny South Korea ranks fourteenth in the world in purchasing-power parity. And the Asian mega-cities are looking glitzier by the day. Anyone who flies into J.F.K. from any of the metropolitan areas in China, let alone from Singapore or Tokyo, can readily see what Rachman has in mind. There is a great deal going on in Asia. The question is what this will mean, and whether “Easternization” is an illuminating concept for understanding it.

One difficulty is that East and West are slippery categories. The concept of European civilization has at least some measure of coherence. The same can be said for Chinese civilization, extending to Vietnam in the south and Korea in the north. But what unifies “the East”? Korea has almost nothing in common with India, apart from a tenuous connection through ancient Buddhist history. Japan is a staunch U.S. ally and its contemporary culture is, in many respects, closer to the West than to anything particularly Eastern. Previous attempts to create a sense of Pan-Asian solidarity, such as the Japanese imperialist mission in the nineteen-thirties and forties, have been either futile or disastrous.

Since nationalism is now the main ideology propping up the legitimacy of China’s regime, no Chinese leader can possibly back down from such challenges as Taiwan’s desire for independence or Tibetan resistance to Han Chinese rule or anything else that might make China look weak in the eyes of its citizens. This is why Donald Trump’s loose talk about revising the One China policy inflamed a mood that is already dangerously combustible. It’s worth bearing in mind that “The China Dream” is actually the title of a best-selling book by Colonel Liu Mingfu, whose arguments for China’s supremacy in an Asian renaissance sound remarkably like Japanese propaganda in the nineteen-thirties. Rachman quotes him saying that “when China becomes the world’s leading nation, it will put an end to Western notions of racial superiority.” The only Western power that might stand in the way of this project of Chinese hegemony is the United States.

Since 1945, the United States, with its many bases in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, has effectively played the role of regional policeman. Partly out of institutional habit, partly out of amour propre, and partly out of fear of seeing its power slip, the United States has had its own issues with nationalism, even before Trump came blundering onto the scene. Joseph Nye, the scholar and former U.S. government official, once argued that accepting China’s dominance over the Western Pacific would be unthinkable, because “such a response to China’s rise would destroy America’s credibility.” In a conversation with Rachman in 2015, another American official put this in saltier terms: “I know the U.S. navy and it’s addicted to pre-eminence. If the Chinese try to control the South China Sea, our guys will fucking challenge that. They will sail through those waters.”

American swagger will always have its enthusiasts. Gordon G. Chang, the author of a 2001 book titled “The Coming Collapse of China,” recently wrote a piece in The National Interest that praised Trump effusively for cutting “the ambitious autocrat down to size” during Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago. Trump, Chang recounts, arrived late to greet his guest. He announced a missile strike against Syria over the chocolate cake. He made Xi “look like a supplicant.” Trump may have revelled in this behavior, but Chang’s acclaim is idiotic. Deliberately making the Chinese leader lose face, if that’s what happened, can only worsen a fraught situation. American bluster—the reflex of the current U.S. President in the absence of any coherent policy—is a poor response to Chinese edginess. Now that China has developed missiles that can easily sink aircraft carriers, and the United States is responding with tactical plans that would aim to take out such weapons on the Chinese mainland, a minor conflict could result in a major showdown.

China’s own attitude toward the status quo is far from straightforward. China may dream of sweeping its seas clean of the U.S. Navy. But, if the alternative is the military resurgence of Japan, the Chinese would probably opt for maintaining the Pax Americana. At the moment, though, the United States itself appears to be drifting. Trump has accused Japan of playing the U.S. for a sucker. He has even suggested that Japan and South Korea might build their own nuclear bombs. But the ex-generals and corporate executives who run his foreign policy seem to favor sticking to the world we know. Both of these policies are flawed. There is no ideal solution to the late-imperial dilemma. But the surest way to court disaster is to have no coherent plan at all. (Source: Are China and the United States Headed for War? By Ian Buruma)

 That is the saddest part when leaders are supposed to lead the way for its citizenry’s well-being and the country’s development but when the leader has no plan at all and be blinded by sheer power and arrogance, hell will break loose and deaths of innocent lives will go to waste.

The pattern of world war is in the offing. The pretext is already there to see. With so many flashpoints, economic crunch, talking about peace but terrorism proliferate unabated, cyber-attacks which could lead to possible banking and stock market collapse, all signs of chaos are now in the offing. Lets all be vigilant..

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Threat of War is Real by Erick San Juan

Threat of War is Real by Erick San Juan

China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply.

Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough.

Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas.

Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.

The element, a kind of natural gas hydrate, was discovered in the area in 2007, but this is the first time the country is able to successfully extract combustible ice from the seabed, in a single, continuous operation on a floating production platform in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, about 300km southeast of Hong Kong, state-run Xinhua news agency reports.”

Methane hydrate global sources are estimated to exceed the combined energy content of all other fossil fuels.”

Estimates of the South China Sea’s methane hydrate potential now range as high as 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas equivalent, sufficient to satisfy China’s entire equivalent oil consumption for 50 years.

The commercial production of methane hydrate would reduce China’s dependence on energy imports, which accounts for nearly 60% of its crude oil needs, making it the world’s No. 2 importer by volume, after the U.S.

Methane hydrate will also aid China’s efforts to shift to natural gas from coal, which accounts for nearly 70% of its primary-energy consumption, which has caused harmful pollution to China’s cities.

China’s discovery of methane hydrates off the coasts of Vietnam and the Philippines is what has prompted China to aggressively pursue the occupation of Philippine and Vietnamese shoals and their conversion to artificial islands in order to safely conduct its exploration and production of methane hydrate.

This explains China’s placement of an oil rig platform off the coast of Vietnam which triggered international showdowns with Vietnam.

The Recto Bank (Reed Bank) area located only 50 miles west of the Philippine island of Palawan is considered a methane hydrate honey pot. The Philippines estimates that the Sampaguita Field within Recto Bank may also hold large deposits of natural gas equivalents in the form of methane hydrates. (Source: Rodel Rodis, Why China will declare war if PH drills for oil)

Now that the question was answered on the real intention of China in the disputed area in the South China Sea especially on our territories, there is no doubt that what China’s soft power approach now with our President is part and parcel of China’s ‘looting’ of our mineral resources.

The threat of war is real because China has already succeeded in extracting methane hydrates (flammable ice) in the SCS and if we will conduct our own oil exploration and extraction, we will disrupt their flammable ice operation in the process.

With our domestic problems on terrorism and the war on drugs, China easily extended help with these two problems. We all know that President Duterte has somewhat gave up on our claim in the disputed areas in the SCS by saying that there is no point of going to war if we are establishing friendship with China. In effect we are allowing the extraction of this mineral by China without doing anything. And not even a joint project? Where is the so called bilateral talks towards bilateral agreement to peaceful resolution of the territorial dispute? Are we taken for a ride here with our full consent? Just asking?

Pres. Rody Duterte should be very careful with his discreet plan of action because so many international think tanks are watching and studying his 'chess game'. One example is the perception that a China inspired revolutionary government was sabotaged by international terrorist organuzation, ISIS.

According to Solgen Jose Calida, Pres. Duterte knew about the plan of the Maute group to attack Marawi. It jibes with my info of a bigger plan of terrorism which could affect the nation.

Even before Pres. Duterte left for his China trip, I alerted him through Sec. Bong Go, NSA Sec. Jun Esperon and other cabinet secretary friends to make sure that my assessment will reach him. I told all of them to reactivate the 'Situation Room' so PRD can preempt any possible threat and mischief.

This plan had been successful during the time of former Pres. Fidel Ramos because of former NSA Joe Almonte's appreciation of strategic intelligence. Any one who knows me and internet information about me will prove me right. Maybe they thought all the while that I was just scare mongering.

Before Duterte left for Russia, he only secured Davao city by putting additional military contingent there. He even brought his top level officials to Moscow and let Budget Sec. Ben Diokno as his caretaker head.

When the Maute siege started, Pres. Duterte knew that the Maute's plan is real and immediately returned to Davao. Despite his statement of giving timetable to finish the Maute's it all failed due to the support of the ISIS to the Maute group.

Good thing that DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana seeked the assistance of the US forces in fighting the real enemy, the ISIS. Despite the noise of the pro-Beijing left, now is the ripe time that the US can prove them wrong by finishing the ISIS terror group before a spill over can reach Metro Manila which could fully destroy Duterte's administration.

There are so many Filipino experts who can be of help. We have to swallow our pride once and for all and tap them for our nation's sake.

This is a matter of sovereignty, we are in a dire strait and we need an immediate solution to this problem. Many soldiers and people died. We have to remind the president that his nationalism is now being tested. We don't even have to give up our mineral resources to anyone, its for our country’s future generations. There are other ways than going to war to assert our rights to our resources, there is still time to find solutions to such predicaments.

As Filipinos, this is the right time to do action and unite. Let us help our President, our nation. God bless our country.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

Rumored ISIS In Ph Now a Reality by Erick San Juan

The recent attack at the Resorts World casino-hotel has created another atmosphere of fear now in the metro and we can’t blame the public to speculate on the possibility that the ISIS terror group is now in Metro Manila. The timing is suspect because the ongoing war on terror against the ISIS-linked Maute group et al in Marawi could somehow created the fear that it will reach Metro Manila. So every time that a so-called attack for whatever reason and nature could be linked to the terror group.

Thanks to the NCRPO headed by PNP Gen. Oscar Albayalde, despite the rumored conspiracy theory including ISIS claiming the Resort World tragedy Albayalde's team closed the case by confirming that the mischief was done by a known gambler named Jesse Carlos.

In the February 2016 article of Joseph Chinyong Liow - ISIS reaches Indonesia: The terrorist group’s prospects in Southeast Asia he writes – “On January 14, militants killed four civilians and wounded at least 20 in a terrorist attack in Jakarta, in the first successful operation that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has launched in Southeast Asia. For several months, security officials from several Southeast Asian governments had been warning that ISIS supporters might mount an attack in the region. The signs were ominous: increased chatter on Malay and Indonesian language sites expressing support for ISIS, a steady stream of Southeast Asians departing for conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, and the arrest of ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Indonesian counter-terrorism authorities had already received intelligence that militants were planning to mount attacks over the holiday period a couple of weeks earlier, which prompted the arrest of several militants and foiled a potential earlier attack.

The fact that Southeast Asia is not yet on the radar of the core ISIS leadership, however, or that the number of Southeast Asians fighting under the ISIS standard pales in comparison with the number of Europeans or Australians, should not be grounds for complacency. ISIS will always struggle to gain considerable popularity in Southeast Asia. The social, political, economic, and cultural conditions in Indonesia and Malaysia are such that the appeal of the ISIS brand of extremism will always remain limited. Even in Thailand and the Philippines, where Muslim minorities suffer more persecution, the conditions they face are nowhere near those confronted by alienated Muslims in Europe.

Even if extremists do eventually create an ISIS in Southeast Asia, its origins will lie not in Raqqa but in the fringes of Indonesian society, in the climate of extremism that reemerged amid the political activism that followed the fall of Suharto, Indonesia’s long-ruling dictator, in 1998. In that sense, the threat remains at heart a local phenomenon, even as it may find some form of transnational expression. So although ISIS’ ideology will always receive an airing, it will have to compete with radical and extremist groups of various ideological, political, and operational stripes.

Some analysts have warned that competition among presumptive leaders of ISIS in Indonesia will trigger more violence, and there is every likelihood of that happening. Others worry that ISIS may offer opportunities for existing groups to make common cause. This has not happened yet. The fallout between Jemaah Islamiyah and Indonesian ISIS supporters is well documented. But it would be foolhardy to dismiss the possibility of alliances for tactical, if not doctrinal, reasons. There are indications that the rivalry between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, which Jemaah Islamiyah supports, has started to taper off. There is also evidence that the Indonesian jihadist ideologue, Aman Abdurrahman, has tried to unite disparate pro-ISIS groups. Counter-terrorism establishments in the region should tune in closely to any chatter among Indonesian groups that points in this direction.

The world is transfixed on the possibility, however unlikely it may be, that a transnational, violent network might someday span Europe, the Middle East, and all the way to Southeast Asia. Such concerns are not new: recall the Comintern during the Cold War, and al Qaeda just a few years ago. But the real danger is not that the black banner of ISIS will be raised the world over but that the appearance of ISIS would trigger dynamics among existing jihadist groups and personal networks within Indonesia, possibly joined by groups from the Philippines and Malaysia, that may well escalate into further violence.”

And it did happen... the ISIS in Southeast Asia, and now in the Philippines as what Indonesian defense minister told at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security forum last Sunday.

Speaking in Singapore amid a bloody standoff between Philippine troops and militants fighting under the IS flag in Marawi city, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu called the militants "killing machines" and urged full-scale regional cooperation against them.

"I was advised last night, 1,200 ISIS in the Philippines, around 40 from Indonesia," Ryacudu told the Shangri-La Dialogue, using another name for the IS group.

The threat of heightened terrorism, including the impending return of hundreds of Southeast Asian fighters who fought with IS in Syria and Iraq, has been a hot-button issue at the three-day Singapore summit also attended by US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through Marawi, a largely Muslim city of 200,000 in the south of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon.

Up to 50 gunmen are still controlling the city center nearly two weeks  after the start of fighting that has killed 177 people including 120 militants.

"How can we tackle these foreign fighters? We have to be comprehensive," said Ryacudu, a retired general.
"We have to find... complete ways but we must exercise caution, they are killing machines. Their aim is to kill other people so that's why it's our responsibility that we have common understanding, consensus and common proceedings on how to fight these foreign fighters."

Philippine Defense Undersecretary Ricardo David, speaking at the same forum, said the 1,200 figure for total IS fighters in the Philippines mentioned by Indonesia was new to him.

"I really don't know, my figure is about 250-400, a lot less," he told reporters.

But David said there were 40 foreign IS fighters among those who seized parts of Marawi, eight of whom have been killed by government forces.

Earlier, Philippine officials said the slain foreign fighters were from Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya.

"Our intelligence estimates that there are about 40 foreigners that fought in the Marawi incident," David said.
The Philippine official added that the foreign fighters used "back channels" in the Sulu and Celebes Seas near the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia to enter the southern island of Mindanao and link up with local terror groups.

"That's why they were able to muster the operations in the area of Marawi," David said. (Source:Agence France-Presse)

But for whatever its worth, when the Intel Center, an organization of international security analysts leaked to the press that the Philippines is now the 7th failed state, it alarmed me. What a coincidence that another international security group PROTECT had a security forum at MOA and Rohan Gunaratna, a terror expert lecturer confirmed that the ISIS is now in our country. i immediately alerted the president and his key people to activate immediately his SITUATION ROOM as contingency to avert any terror attack while he's in Cambodia,Hong Kong and China. Good thing that he made DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre as caretaker head. Aguirre has good contact with the intelligence community that averted any mischief while Pres. Duterte was abroad. The rest is an ongoing pocket wars that could escalate like what's happening in Syria and other parts of the world. What happened in Marawi can now be considered another Aleppo.

 We all have to be vigilant and help the Duterte administration to stop this stupidity and put an end to terrorism and violence. If not we could be part of the so called collateral damage.
 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Terrorism Blame Game by Erick San Juan

Terrorism Blame Game by Erick San Juan

Once again, our country is in the limelight due to the unfortunate Marawi City siege orchestrated by the local terrorist Maute clan/group  and supported by the international terror network of ISIS. And it happened while President Rody Duterte is out of the country – in Russia.

While the region is distracted by the missile launching of North Korea, there is far greater problem happening right here in our home, a symbolic move by ISIS from the Middle East to East Asia. But it has been for a while now that President Duterte has been warning that the ISIS terror group is already in Mindanao and the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police should be ready for any eventualities.

Was the government caught unaware that such group will attack sooner than they expected? Some believe that timing is suspect and that the country is ripe for a regime change. Why is this so?

Remember that Pres. Duterte is very vocal (and can be read also) through his actions that he is gradually pulling away from the claws of Uncle Sam. He also gained several international critics on his war on drugs that his men in uniform (allegedly) are engaged in extra judicial killings (EJK).

Some pundits believe that there are several financiers that is backing the operation in Marawi siege, both local and international. May be some narco politicians and drug lords and those hurt by the president’s harsh words and comments.

In the article by Tony Cartalucci, 'ISIS Touches Down in the Philippines', he writes – “Both the Maute group and Abu Sayaff are extensions of Al Qaeda’s global terror network, propped up by state sponsorship from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and fed recruits via a global network of likewise Saudi and Qatari funded “madrasas.” In turn, Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s state sponsorship of global terrorism for decades has been actively enabled by material and political support provided by the United States."

This arrangement Carlucci added, provides Washington both a global mercenary force with which to wage proxy war when conventional and direct military force cannot be used, and a pretext for direct US military intervention when proxy warfare fails to achieve Washington’s objectives.

This formula has been used in Afghanistan in the 1980s to successfully expel the Soviet Union, in 2011 to overthrow the Libyan government, and is currently being used in Syria where both proxy war and direct US military intervention is being applied.

Maute and Abu Sayaff activity fits into this global pattern perfectly.

The Philippines is one of many Southeast Asian states that has incrementally shifted from traditional alliances and dependency on the United States to regional neighbors including China, as well as Eurasian states including Russia.

"The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, cancelling his meeting with Russia is a microcosm of the very sort of results Maute and Abu Sayaff are tasked with achieving in the Philippines. Attempts by the US to justify the presence of its troops in the Philippines as part of a wider strategy of encircling China with US military installations across Asia would also greatly benefit from the Islamic State “suddenly spreading” across the island nation."

"Likewise, violence in Malaysia and Thailand are directly linked to this wider US-Saudi alliance, with violence erupting at each and every crucial juncture as the US is incrementally pushed out of the region. Indonesia has likewise suffered violence at the hands of the Islamic State, and even Myanmar is being threatened by Saudi-funded terrorism seeking to leverage and expand the ongoing Rohingya humanitarian crisis."

That reported US-Saudi sponsorship drives this terrorism, not the meager revenue streams of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, goes far in explaining why the terrorist organization is capable of such bold attacks in Southeast Asia even as Russia and Iranian backed Syrian troops extinguish it in the Middle East.

"With US President Donald Trump announcing a US-Saudi alliance against terrorism – the US has managed to strategically misdirect public attention away from global terrorism’s very epicenter and protect America’s premier intermediaries in fueling that terrorism around the world."

The Philippines would be unwise to turn to this “alliance” for help in fighting terrorism both the US and Saudi Arabia are directly and intentionally fueling., said Carlucci.

Instead – for Southeast Asia – joint counter-terrorism efforts together would ensure a coordinated and effective means of confronting this threat on multiple levels.

By exposing the deep military industrial complex role in regional terrorism – each and every act of terrorism and militancy would be linked directly to and subsequently taint the 'plotters' in the hearts and minds of Southeast Asia’s population.

This paves the way for a process of exposing and dismantling 'state sponsored' funded fronts – including Saudi-sponsored madrasas and some international funded NGOs – both  of which feed into regional extremism and political subversion. As this unfolds, each respective nation would be required to invest in genuine local institutions to fill sociopolitical and economic space previously occupied by these foreign funded fronts.

Until then, Asia should expect the plotters to continue leveraging terrorism against the region. If unchecked, Asia should likewise expect the same progress-arresting instability that has mired the Middle East and North Africa for decades.

When the Intel Center, a global organization of top intelligence and geo strategic experts leaked to the international media that our country is now the 7th FAILED STATE, i know that the globalist program is ON.

This is the best time to give our support to our president because no matter what and he needs more prayers and moral support than ever to get through this crisis.

Who wants to be part of collateral damage. Lets get our act together. God bless our country.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

China's Double Talk by Erick San Juan

China's Double Talk by Erick San Juan

We are living in very exciting times of war threats and countries being dragged on the brink of actual shooting war. There is the ever threatening North Korea with its stubborn leader and the bully in the region that is making the neighborhood nervous.

In the midst of ‘warm friendly talks’, President Rodrigo Duterte said that China’s Xi Jinping threatened the country of a war if we insist of oil drilling in our territories in the South China Sea. Below is our leader's version of what transpired between Him and President Xi :

“I said, Mr. Xi Jinping, I will insist that it is ours and we will drill oil,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City.

“Sinabi ko talaga harap-harapan, that is ours and we intend to drill oil there. My view is I can drill the oil. Ang sagot sa akin, ‘Well we are friends. We don’t want to quarrel with you. We want to maintain warm relationship, but if you force the issue we will go to war.’ Ano pa bang sabihin ko?”

The mere fact that this incident came from the President himself, still some people ‘clarified’ the incident as not true or it is not what it was meant to be.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying sought to make light of Duterte's comments, noting he and Xi had agreed to "strengthen communication" on important bilateral issues.

"During the meeting, leaders of the two countries exchanged views in depth on future development of China-Philippines relations and relevant issues. Both sides agree to strengthen communication on important issues related to the development of bilateral relations, and to proceed in a healthy, stable and correct path of good neighborly relations and cooperation," Hua said.

"In the future, China is willing to make joint efforts with the Philippines to implement important consensus reached by both heads of state, to properly handle disputes between the two countries through peaceful, friendly and cooperative (methods), to continuously deepen and expand pragmatic cooperation in various fields and to push forward a healthy and stable development of China-Philippines relations," Hua added.

According to some reports, even our very own Ambassador to China denied Beijing’s bullying. Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana, who joined the first Bilateral Consultation Mechanism (BCM) between Manila and Beijing last week, said there was no threat from the Chinese side during the talks.

But pundits believe that as our Philippine ambassador to China, Chito should have waited for China's ambassador to speak to clarify the incident. "Parang sya ang mouthpiece of China"
 
"But by own experience in the bilateral talks, [there were] no threats, no bullying, everything was frank but friendly, candid but productive," he told ANC.
 
"The whole idea...therefore that China was bullying us and threatening us just doesn’t pass," Sta. Romana added.

Although the above-mentioned statements clarified that there was no threat, still we have to be wary in dealing with China because Beijing said time and again that they will not honor the ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration and that they will settle any disputes only through bilateral talks.
 
Again, the politicians and the ordinary Filipinos are divided on how to deal with this development in the Manila-Beijing relations. Actually, if we will going to base on the Filipino culture’s view on friendship, it is a big no-no that friends treat each other wrongly like giving threats when they feel that their interest is at stake.
 
On the other hand, it's not only PRRD but some nationalists have already doubts that the US will come to our rescue if China will attack us.
 
Some pundits believe that China’s war threat is baseless due to the fact that China just launched its Belt and Road Initiative and going to war or just merely a war threat is not in their immediate agenda. Peace for development is their top priority for now.
 
But war or no war threat, the reality is China with its soft power using the One Belt One Road op is actually building an empire to export its surplus, giving soft loans and in the process creating the debt trap. And for those who cannot pay in cash will pay in kind like some land and rich mineral resources. Translation- possibly making the indebted Philippines a province of China without firing a single shot. Be vigilant!
 
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Who Do We Believe? By Erick San Juan

Tightening the Belt on a Bumpy Road? Who do we believe?

The recently concluded Belt and Road Forum as initiated by and held in Beijing, China promised a lot to boost economies of countries included in the modern silk road. But many economic and political analysts believe that in the long run it is China that will benefit the most in such a huge endeavor.

Billions of dollars in infrastructure will reportedly be given as soft loans under the guise of soft power op to gain confidence among leaders from Europe to Africa and Asia. The much needed materials for infrastructure are already in excess capacity of construction materials from China. Projects outside China are very much needed for these materials and investing on the Belt and Road initiative will favor China’s goods to reach the countries in the silk road.

Although reality check, problems may arise in the modern silk road. Unlike before, everything was smooth sailing so to speak. But now several factors have to be considered like terrorism plus the age-old piracy and of course geopolitical aspect as what is happening in the East and South China Sea.

Some other points have to be considered as what was pointed out by Bloomberg’s editorial – “The risk, for China no less than participating countries, is that vaulting ambitions could doom the project’s chances of success. What’s held back infrastructure development in Asia isn’t so much a lack of funding but a dearth of viable projects. Inevitably, as it has within China, politically motivated lending will produce more white elephants, burdening host countries with unsustainable debt burdens."

"Strategists might rationalize these losses as the price for support and stability along China’s periphery. But the costs may not be so easy to sustain. Fitch Ratings has already warned of the risk to banks’ balance sheets as loans sour. Exporting China’s investment-heavy development model will also ease pressure on inefficient state-owned enterprises to reform and slash overcapacity. And with China blocking capital outflows and holding onto reserves in order to bolster the yuan, there’s simply less money to waste on bad projects.

Nor is there any reason to think that building more roads and pipelines will in itself achieve China’s larger stated goals: to promote economic growth and hence political stability. Pouring money into development projects could just as easily encourage graft in countries along the route, fuel anti-Chinese fervor and encourage sabotage attacks. China’s historic preference for dealing with authoritarian governments—and raising few questions about their governance—can breed resentment among ordinary citizens, risking future problems.

China’s experience with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, one of the main Belt-and-Road funders, is instructive. The institution’s flashy launch in 2014 inspired fears that Chinese leaders were seeking to overturn the global financial order. These fears were misplaced. Run by a cadre of international professionals and adhering to high standards, the AIIB is, according to one estimate, unlikely to lend much more than $2 billion annually for its first five years. That will limit its influence, but also its losses.

China needs to apply the same rigor to Belt-and-Road projects, which should be scrutinized not only for their headline numbers but their long-term viability. Lenders need to be transparent about financing terms and considerate of borrowers’ ability to repay. Project officers should consult with local farmers, merchants and NGOs, not just bureaucrats, or worse, corrupt leaders; environmental concerns should be aired and addressed. And along with infrastructure, China should be promoting greater openness in economies along the route."

"Most of all, China needs to treat the Belt and Road with care and a clear-eyed appreciation of risk. That will likely result in fewer, less high-profile projects. But they—and China—will be the stronger for it.”

Some pundits also fear the debt trap that developing countries may fall into in order to go with the flow of building huge projects in the process. Like in our case there is so much to loose if we will find out one day that our debt to China is so big that we will be compelled under China’s conditions especially in our sovereign territories.

Even DLSU Professor Richard Heydarian warned of getting loans from China. Forbes.com also warned that the projected Philippine debt of $167 billion to help finance ambitious programs under Dutertenomics could baloon to $452 billion in 10 years and could lead to debt bondage to China.

Remember the China's Northrail project during PGMA's watch, it balooned to P1 billion despite the project was scrapped.

When China’s political clout and 'soft touch op' will be used as leverage, are we really ready to thread the bumpy silk road when China will tighten the belt for us to pay our debts?

Just asking.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Philippines Will Soon be a Province of China? By Erick San Juan

Philippines Will Soon be a Province of China? By Erick San Juan

The Duterte administration has gone a long way in its nine months in office traveling and has already visited 16 countries and garnered around $34 billion in ‘pledges’ which are combined aid and investments from China and Japan alone. These travels had cost us $5.5 million or about PhP270 million  according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III. That is supposedly a small investment with big return value. (Source: PCIJ)

The bulk of the pledged investment loans came from China which is in line with China’s President Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road Initiative that will take place in May 14 and 15 in Beijing. Pres. Rody Duterte will attend the meeting after his visit in Cambodia and Hongkong. What is this initiative all about?

"Previously known as “One Belt, One Road”, the initiative is being spearheaded by the Chinese government to improve trade and economic integration across Asia, Europe, and Africa. The strategy uses free-trade agreements and infrastructure projects – including roads, ports and railways – to create a modern Silk Road spanning some 65 countries, which have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$21 trillion. It includes both an economic land “belt” through Eurasia, and a maritime “road” to connect coastal Chinese cities to Africa and the Mediterranean."

Through China’s ‘initiative’ countries from different continents can be linked via massive infrastructure projects like high speed trains by land or sea. But according to former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez, it is not as simple as it may seem for those countries that will join the Belt Road Initiative.

“Methinks PRRD will make the Philippines a part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ plan, make the Philippines its Southeast terminus. This would make the Philippines potentially a part of China's economic orbit which would generate immense economic benefits to the Philippines but would have serious geopolitical and security implications for the country. The overall effect on the country's well being must be carefully studied by the country's economic, security, defense, political, geopolitical and geostrategic braintrust and not decided by only a limited group."

"Should such membership in China's economic orbit come to pass, it would have deep geopolitical and security implications as well as impact on our Exclusive Economic Zone claims especially our one million square kilometer West Philippine Sea, 90% of which China claims, and even extend China's influence on the development and protection of our huge 13 million hectare Benham Rise."

"Such economic engagement would have serious implications on China's achieving its Strategic Triangle Goal and China's geo-strategic move to break out of the First Island Chain towards the Second Island Chain and consequently control of the Western Pacific. This would prejudice the security and geopolitical position of our treaty ally United States and its allies Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and of course Taiwan."

"Considering the Belt and Road Plan's impact on the Indo Pacific and global balance of power, especially on the status of the US as the hegemon,  I do not expect the US to simply sit out and watch the economic and geopolitical consequences to unfold without talking counteraction.” (Golez)

Blinded by the economic gains that one country can get from joining the B&RI, that they overlooked the geopolitical implications in the long run. This is what I have been saying all along as a warning that we are the planned future province of China.

Another analysis taken from the article of Malou Mangahas of PCIJ - "Trojan-horse trap?" These days, the Duterte administration is willing to bet that China can turn around its dismal record of projects in the Philippines. But some Filipino scholars on China say the Philippines should be more cautious when dealing with its giant neighbor.

“These are people, companies that felt that just because they have political connections, they can bribe, they can bring all their hanky-panky in our country,” commented U.P. political science assistant professor Jaime Naval. “Huwag naman tayo pagisa sa sarili nating bansa (We shouldn’t let ourselves be taken advantage of in our own country).”

China is “also very astute like the West and we have to be as astute as them,” said Naval, a China and ASEAN specialist. “They’re not giving because they love us, they’re giving because they take something back.”

He recalled reading a study that asserted that “for every one renminbi that China gives as ODA, it gets back six renminbi.” Said Naval: “It’s a political tool. It’s a given. I accept that. But we should not be naive that China is benevolent, that it hasn’t wrung us dry.”

“There’s a big difference between ODA coming from China and ODA coming from Europe, and U.S., and Japan,” Naval continued. He said that while “ODA from these developed countries are normally on health and education and certain advocacies that have something to do with the politics of the land and democracy…when it’s an ODA from China, it is extractive. There will be digging for minerals, they will get lumber, they will be harvesting natural resources.”

Dr. Renato de Castro, who holds the Charles Lui Chi Keung Professorial Chair in China Studies at De la Salle University, for his part observed, “With Chinese deals,‘yung binigay ng mga Greeks, sabi nga…’beware of the Greeks giving gifts, it’s a trap.’ You become dependent on Chinese aid. You become dependent on Chinese market. That’s why we become strategically and politically vulnerable to Chinese agenda.”

In de Castro’s view, “you don’t allow someone whom you have a territorial dispute (with) to dominate… this is very dangerous kasi we still have territorial disputes with China so that will give China a leverage in resolving those disputes. That would favor China (and) solve those disputes on Chinese terms, because China has economic leverage.”  (With research and reporting by Karol Ilagan, PCIJ, May 2017)

That’s what make it too complicated in our case (and with the other claimants in the disputed area in the SCS) because we have something that might be taken away from us because we became ‘too friendly’ with China. In giving too much attention with our economic gains, we overlooked the shortfalls like giving up our territories.

Wake up guys!