Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ominous by Erick San Juan


The presidency of Rodrigo Roa Duterte has its many firsts and for some it’s too good to be true especially that the country’s experiences from the past leaders, the recent ones were all tainted with so much irregularities and anomalies. Filipinos thought that the ‘new normal’ nowadays are the things that were passed on from previous administrations or could it be that the majority are just too tired and let things be as they are – the status quo.

Although netizens who are aware of the current issues are the ones who are very active in posting their views and comments of the things they strongly disagree or agree via the internet. It is a fact that the last election maximized the use of the internet in reaching out to the electorate.
 
Now that the ‘majority’ has voted a strong and brave leader, the rest has to bear with him for the rest of his six-year term or less? If one will notice that in several speeches of President Duterte,  he kept on mentioning that “if he can finish his term” or “if he is still alive” to fulfill his promises. The several “ifs” that seem to make him accomplish things in a hurry and in the long run, some empty promises being made.

What is also ominous according to a psychic friend, is his use of DU30. I was reminded that most journalists writes 30 which means death or end.
 
Desperately wanting to finish such a huge problem like the war on drugs in a short span of time, President Duterte also visited as many military camps as possible when he has the time. Seeking the help of the military arm to fulfill his goal of a drug-free country, he promised a lot of benefits to the men in uniform and their families including a doubled monthly salary, as soon as possible. But he forgot that the government is still tied to the last administration’s budget and that the huge problem of rehabilitation of hundreds of drug users/pushers is impossible to achieve and so he is perceived making commitments beyond in the process.
 
Our president has done this due to his heightened emotion against the drug problems but Mr. President, you have to be very careful in handling your emotions being exposed through your words, no matter how sincere you are, it will only be used against you if you fail. Sadly, most of these words were directed to officials of foreign countries and organizations. Economists and those who are not so fond with President Duterte are now blaming him for the poor performance of our ‘economic fundamentals’.
 
With the hearings in both houses of Congress (in aid of legislation), several matters of great importance were exposed.

In his article at the Manila Times, Atty. Al Vitangcol 3rd wrote his observations – “The recent justice committee hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives revealed and made public a lot of things that were only heard from the grapevine before. Now, these things are officially out and part of the public records, by way of the Minutes of the committee hearings.
 
One of these disclosures is the alleged Plan B, which is to destabilize the Duterte Administration and create a scenario to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. If this will not work, then impeach President Duterte. If all else fails, then assassinate the President. Once Duterte is gone, install Vice President Leni Robredo as the new President of the Republic.
 
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano revived talks, this time officially during the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights hearing, of the Liberal Party’s alleged Plan B to unseat President Duterte.
 
My insight says otherwise. The supposed Plan B will not prosper and will not muster the support of the people and the military. However, even before Plan B could take off, the groundwork for “Plan D” has already been laid.”
 
And what is this Plan D all about?
 
Plan D is the full military takeover of the government in the event of President Duterte’s sudden departure before 2022. His sudden departure could be the result of any of these things – impeachment, forced ouster by foreign states, assassination, or natural death.
 
In his speech before the 9th Infantry Brigade, the President said in part (while showing and waving the third “narco-list”), "How can I handle this? I cannot just arrest them and kill them. That is nothing. I do not like Martial Law. This will destroy your children, or your grandchildren and the next generation. That is why we are ready to die … because they are not safe anymore."
 
The President admitted that it is the technicality of the law that makes it hard for him to deal swiftly with the problem of illegal drugs and criminality.
 
He added, “if that problem outlasts me, for whatever reason, mamatay ako, matanggal, oh ano sa buhay na ito. Sinabi ko sa inyo, isa sa mga opisyal, do not, do not abandon. Resolbahin ninyo ang problema na iyan kasi sisirain ang Pilipinas niyan.” (If that problem outlasts me, for whatever reason, I died, I am removed from this life. I say to you, I said to one of your officers, do not, do not abandon it. Resolve this problem because this will destroy the Philippines.)
 
He ended his speech by extolling the troops to act on their own in this wise.
 
It is my opinion that if President Duterte will suddenly be gone, then the military will act on its own and take control of the government. (Atty. Al Vitangcol)
 
Yes, there are a lot of possibilities if worse comes to worst and we suddenly become a leaderless country. But for now let us give our support to President Duterte but be very vigilant and carry a lot of prayers in our heart that such eventuality will not happen because all of us will be dragged into the pits. Let's hope that will not be our destination. Sadly, it is now rumored that some of the people in the President’s loop are not thinking the same and few were concerned about is “what’s in it for me” coupled with arrogance.  They should gather their act together and make his presidency lasts up to the last day.
 
 
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

China's 5th Column by Erick San Juan

America’s overall image around the world remains largely positive. Across the nations surveyed (excluding the U.S.), a median of 69% hold a favorable opinion of the U.S., while just 24% express an unfavorable view. However, there is significant variation among regions and countries.

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, many foreign commentators including Americans remarked that the era of U.S. dominance of the global economy and position as sole superpower were at an end. However, in the intervening years, a sustained economic recovery in the U.S. has bolstered its leadership credentials, and in the current survey, about twice as many people worldwide say that the U.S., and not China, is the world’s leading economy.

Nonetheless, global public perception continue to express the view that China either has or eventually will replace the U.S. as the leading superpower. (Source Pew Research Center)

America’s image is mostly positive among the Asian nations polled. Among these countries surveyed was the Philippines with an 85 percent score in 2014 and 92 percent in 2015 according to the Global Attitudes Project of Pew Research Center in Washington DC. People were asked “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the US?”

Methinks we still maintain a high percentage score up to this moment with a favorable view of the US in spite of the ‘bullish’ attitude of our president towards some high-ranking American officials. Some observers believe that President Rody Duterte, in the midst of his balancing act between the US and China, is actually showing that he favors China more.

But the present administration has to be wary because the current war on drugs not only in and out of the largest prison camp like the National Bilibid Prison involves some confirmed Triad gang Chinese nationals. And the perennial problem in the South China Sea over territories that we won from the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration is not being recognized and respected by China, and in the process, our fishermen are still being ‘harassed’.

The perception is that the US is still the better 'devil' that we know than the red Chinese who has exported their underworld ops to our country instead of being grateful to the Filipinos who gave them comfort several times and second home where they now become the ‘novo’ rich.

We have to be wary of China’s sleepers (hybernated spies) and DPA (deep penetration agents) pretending to be part of the social media and our society. They are just waiting in the wings to take over anytime.

Remember the Japanese agents in the Philippines before the second world war. Most of them are lowly employees, drivers, gardeners, small time merchants, etc. but when the war erupted, they metamorphosed and our parents were shocked to know that their neighbor was a military officer of the Japanese Imperial Army.

It could be worst this time, these pro-Beijing ethnic Chinese basically control everything. Many politicians, key government functionaries, even some officials in our AFP, PNP, judiciary and the 'church' are now in their pockets.

Be vigilant always. These sleepers are now bold enough to attack us. The mere fact that even their Facebook pages and social media accounts are fictitious.

And I got this message from a rich friend from China- "it’s a pity that overseas Chinese especially in the Philippines thought that China can save them in a nuke war. We have more billionaires here in China not flaunting their wealth nor included at Forbes Magazine richest. If China's nuke hit the Philippines, they will be part of the so called collateral damage whether they like it or not." 

Who do we believe now? Beware of the propaganda machines. The program is on.

Touche!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Live Bullet War Exercises, A Prelude To A Real War? By Erick San Juan

 Live Bullet War Exercises, A Prelude To A Real War? By Erick San Juan

The fifth annual China-Russia naval drill (that will go on for eight days) started last Monday, featuring stalwarts from both navies in action at the eastern waters of Zhanjiang, in Guangdong province, the HQ of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Nanhai Fleet.

Considering this is the first time that the Joint Sea is happening in the South China Sea, apocalyptic alarms from the usual suspects could not be more predictable – and thoroughly dismissed by the Beijing leadership. (Pepe Escobar @Reuters online)

Usually, the joint military exercise between Russia and China took place in the Sea of Japan also known as East Asia.

What a coincidence that a US military drill named 'Variant Shield', 2,000 miles to the east, the US military around the Pacific gathered for a two weeks drill with 18,000 personnel, 180 aircrafts and USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

Overheard that President Rody Duterte said that any possible miscalculation during such naval exercise in the contested area, using live ammunitions at that, might lead to a regional conflict. Ominous?

But can we blame President Duterte by thinking such possibility might happen? Actually there are other observers who feel the same and fear the same might just occur if either side will not be careful during the military exercises.

It is in this context that we should allow and continue our military relationship with the US, whether we like it or not, our status as a treaty ally of the US did not start last June 30, 2016. With the cooperation of our past leaders (others were collaborators) with Uncle Sam in the name of national security and to preserve democracy, various treaties were signed.

Revisiting some of these treaties by the present administration will somehow correct the lopsided parts where we are being shortchanged and the fact that such agreements should be ratified by the proper institutions like our Congress and not just the Executive branch.

Of course we welcome the statement of President Duterte of an independent foreign policy for the country but it should be handled with utmost diplomacy without hurting our existing allies for so many years now. And like any policy, it should be without bias and always for the common good and not only for the favored few. Pres. Duterte if he will do it right, can use this as a leverage and his charting an independent policy will be a good bargaining point with the Americans and with China. A balancing act that should be supported by the people.

In the course of the President’s balancing act locally and globally, he should listen to the Filipino people who believe in him and in what he can do for the good of this nation if he doesn’t want to be called a dictator in the making.

In his article, Duterte’s ‘shock and awe’ diplomacy, La Salle professor Richard Javad Heydarian cited some of his observations on the President’s kind of diplomacy and his attitude towards certain matters – “For those, who have underestimated his ability to reconfigure existing relations with the Southeast Asian country’s most enduring ally, the United States, the past two weeks have been a rude awakening. Rapidly consolidating power over key institutions of the state, and backed up by robust support among various civil society groups, Duterte is in a position to redirect the Philippines’ foreign policy like none of his predecessors."

“I’m really a rude person. I’m enjoying my last time as a rude person,” Duterte famously promised earlier. “When I become president, when I take my oath of office . . . there will be a metamorphosis.” It was a statement of re-assurance that compelled many to (mistakenly) presume that Duterte’s tough campaign-period rhetoric – including those directed at America – was nothing but a clever gimmick.

So when Duterte embarked on his global diplomatic debut, attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, many were expecting a more subdued and statesmanlike Duterte. Instead, the world witnessed a Hyde and Jekyll diplomatic behavior. Duterte, who accepted the Philippines’ (rotational) chairmanship of the regional group, gracefully embraced his fellow Asian leaders, who appreciated his pragmatism on the South China Sea disputes and relations with China, while going on the offensive against the United States President Barack Obama, who was on his final official trip to Asia.

After uttering what appeared as expletives against the American president, the much-anticipated Obama-Duterte bilateral meeting was cancelled. Shortly after, amid growing panic over a potential diplomatic meltdown, Manila released a statement of “regret”, while the Obama administration reiterated that U.S.-Philippine relations remain “rock solid.” Duterte clarified that his foul-mouthed remarks weren’t directed at Obama, who reassured his Filipino partners that he didn’t take Duterte’s insulting remarks personally.

Yet, just when everyone thought that the damage control efforts were bearing fruit, Duterte once again went on the offensive. And most recently has even asked, albeit rhetorically so far, American special forces in the troubled region of Mindanao to get out of the country. He has also made it clear that he is setting his sights on more robust ties, including military, with eastern powers of Russia and China. In fact, Duterte is expected to embark on his state visit to China, a first by any Filipino leader, in coming weeks. In a span of months, Philippine-US relations have gone from special and sacrosanct to uncertain and jittery. And this seems to be the new normal in one of the most intimate and enduring bilateral relations on the planet.”

Are we going to end the most enduring bilateral relations that we had for years now and start a new bilateral relations with China?

Methinks it's better to deal with the 'devil' we know than a perceived 'angel' with the same clothes and interest like the demon. I hope Pres. Duterte will be in the right direction to correct our misfortunes.

Just asking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hegemony by Design by Erick San Juan

Hegemony by Design by Erick San Juan

When you study how the United States goes to war, there is a prevalent, though not perfect, pattern. The triggering event is often a sudden crisis that galvanizes popular opinion and becomes the immediate occasion for military intervention, but subsequently is exposed as a misguided perception or outright fabrication. (Source: Joseph Ellis, Los Angeles Times, 7-6-2014)                                                                                                                          

Such pattern, most of the time is considered as false flag operation by a lot of pundits where a superpower wanted to maintain a unipolar world – hegemony over sovereign states. Gradually this 'op' is losing its clout because world leaders are now beginning to realize that humankind has to shift to multipolar world.

Of course the mighty 'Uncle' will not allow such move and so is the containment of Russia and China, countries advocating a multipolar world. Their effort ranges from economic to military cooperation. With the initiative of both Russia and China, there are several cooperation, coalitions and organizations created to counter the hegemony of a single power over the world. Despite that these two big powers don't really trust each other, using the principle of- 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend', they have to cooperate with each other in some ways to protect their interests.

To name some, from the article of Pepe Escobar published in the Information Clearing House – “Slowly but surely — see for instance the possibility of an ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in the making — global power continues to insist on shifting East. That goes beyond Russia's pivoting to Asia; Germany's industrialists are just waiting for the right political conjunction, before the end of the decade, to also pivot to Asia, conforming a BMB (Berlin-Moscow-Beijing) coalition.

Germany already rules over Europe. The only way for a global trade power to solidify its reach is to go East. NATO member Germany, with a GDP that outstrips the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is not even allowed to share information with the "Five Eyes" secret cabal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, years ago, was keen on a Lisbon-to-Vladivostok emporium. He may eventually be rewarded — delayed gratification?— by BMB, a trade/economic union that, combined with the Chinese-driven One Belt, One Road (OBOR), will eventually dwarf and effectively replace the dwindling post-WWII Anglo-Saxon crafted/controlled international order.

This inexorable movement East underscores all the interconnections — and evolving connectivity — related to the New Silk Roads, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS's New Development Bank (NDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU). The crux of RC, the Russia-China strategic partnership, is to make the multipolar, post-Atlantic world happen. Or, updating Ezra Pound, to Make It New.

Such luminary ideologues as Dr. Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski — foreign policy mentor to President Barack Obama — are supremely dejected.

When Brzezinski looks at progressive Eurasia integration, he simply cannot fail to detect how those "three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy" he outlined in 'The Grand Chessboard' are simply dissolving; "to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together."

Those GCC vassals — starting with the House of Saud — are now terrified about their own security; same with the hysteric Baltics. Tributaries are not pliant anymore — and that includes an array of Europeans. The "barbarians" coming together are in fact old civilizations — China, Persia, Russia — fed up with upstart-controlled unipolarity.

Unsurprisingly, to "contain" RC, defined as "potentially threatening" (the Pentagon considers the threats are existential) Brzezinski suggests — what else — Divide and Rule; as in "containing the least predictable but potentially the most likely to overreach." Still he doesn't know which is which; "Currently, the more likely to overreach is Russia, but in the longer run it could be China."   

The board game will have to reach a point where a change of players and rules of the game be created in order to prevent a world war. Although we have to accept that the change of players on the side of the single superpower will affect the pivot from unipolar to multipolar, or worst to stage a war or not.

“In many aspects, not much has changed from 24 years ago when, only three months after the dissolution of the USSR, the Pentagon's Defense Planning Guidance proclaimed.

"Our first objective is to prevent the reemergence of a new rival…This requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union and southwest Asia."

Talk about a prescient road map of what's happening right now; the "rival",  hostile power is actually two powers involved in a strategic partnership: Russia and China. 

Compounding this Pentagon nightmare, the endgame keeps drawing near; the next manifestations and reverberations of the never-ending 2008 financial crisis may eventually torpedo the fundamentals of the global "order" — as in the petrodollar racket/tributary scam.

There will be blood. Hillary Clinton smells it already — from Syria to Iran to the South China Sea. The question is whether she — and virtually the whole Beltway establishment behind her — will be mad enough to provoke Russia and China and buy a one-way ticket to post-MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) territory.”

The programmed world war is coming as designed. Can the emerging multipolar world prevent it from happening? Scary indeed.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

China-phobia by Erick San Juan

China-phobia by Erick San Juan

On September 4 to 5, China’s tourist hub of Hangzhou will be this year’s venue of the G-20 meeting and China’s President Xi Jinping is hoping to cement its standing as a global power when it host leaders from the world’s biggest economies. But China suspects the West and its allies will try to deny Beijing what it sees as its rightful place on the international stage.

While China wants to make sure its highest profile event of the year goes off successfully, Pres.  Xi will be under pressure at home to ensure he is strong in the face of challenges to his authority on issues like the South China Sea, going by reports in state media.

China has already made it clear that it does not want such matters overshadowing the meeting, which will be attended by U.S. President Barack Obama, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other world leaders.

State media has given great play to the idea that G-20 is for China to show leadership in shaping global governance rules and forging ahead with sustainable global growth, with the official People’s Daily saying this could be one of the G-20’s most fruitful ever get-togethers. (Source: Reuters published at www.dailystar.com)

Can the G-20 meeting in China help boost Xi's nation’s image or his own image in the world community of nations? The mere fact that no matter how he tries to put major issues on the back burner, the heat will be felt and people will be reacting in the process.

One such issue is the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Although the decision has favored the Philippines, there are still incidents of Filipino fishermen being bullied by some Chinese coast guard. The world knows that China never accepted the decision and stubbornly insisted its claim based on their history. And in the process continuously building up structures in the reclaimed land despite protests from its neighbors and other countries passing in the region with their cargos.

Another one is with Japan on the East China Sea, again a disputed territory that has been going on for quite some time now and the issue will continue as long as China will insist on bilateral talks in solving the problem which is not what Japan wants.

These issues no matter how vague, could somehow affect the meeting of the member countries of the G-20. Of course, the main agenda – economy which is not doing well as per all the major economies of the world. And no matter how China manipulates the news on the real economic condition of their country, the truth will surface anyway.

Actually the following ‘incidents’ will show how China is doing in the economic front.

Was it China-phobia that recently forced Britain and Australia to postpone or cancel Chinese investment in their sensitive sectors? The two countries seem to be genuinely concerned about national security issues linked to these investments while China dismisses their fears as unfounded and absurd.   

In its two opinion pieces published on August 11 and 18, Xinhua News, the Chinese government’s official press agency, accused Great Britain and Australia of China-phobia and warned both  countries that their China-phobia could damage cooperation with Beijing.

Though China-phobia or Sino-phobia has long surfaced in some circles, this is probably the first time a key Chinese news agency has publicly mentioned it.

This came following the United Kingdom’s postponement of a $23.5 billion nuclear power station project at Hinkley Point, to which China General Nuclear Power(CGN) is supposed to finance a third, and Australia’s rejection of the sale of Ausgrid, its largest electricity network, to Chinese state-owned State Grid Corp and Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure.

China’s muscle-reflecting and its rather arrogant attitudes, e.g. “you’re wrong and we’re right” or “you’re a small country and we’re a big country” views, have stirred uneasiness and resentment in some countries.

Though it is unsure whether they have actually transformed into “China-phobia”, concerns or even fears over China’s intentions, behaviors and investments exist in Great Britain, Australia and perhaps in other countries.

Those apprehensions also play a key role in defining their relations with China. As shown in the editorial of the Independent mentioned above, China’s behavior in the international sphere, e.g. its assertive and coercive behavior in the South China Sea, affect perceptions and apprehensions of the UK’s government and public.

This demonstrates that like material powers, e.g. economic and military capabilities, non-material factors, perceptions and reputations, are also influential in international politics. (Source: Why some countries are concerned over Chinese investment by Xuan Loc Doan, August 29, 2016 in Asia Times)

These two countries have their concerns and doubts on how they will deal with China because on the surface no matter how China extends its soft power operations, there are still underlying issues that has to be taken into consideration especially when it comes to national security.

Lastly, China’s ‘growing mountain of debt’ as what was reported by Bloomberg that “Some prominent investors are worried about China’s debt. George Soros sees an 'eerie resemblance' between conditions in China now and those in the U.S. leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. It’s similarly fueled by credit growth and an eventually unsustainable extension of credit,” Soros told the Asia Society in New York in April.

BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Laurence Fink was asked about China’s mounting debt on Bloomberg TV in May. “We all have to be worried about it,” Fink said, adding that he remains bullish on China’s economy in the long run.
> And in June a Goldman Sachs report warned that the country’s large and unaccounted-for shadow-banking activities raised concern “about China’s underlying credit problems and sustainability risk.”

Indeed, many segments of the Chinese economy have taken on considerable debt, especially since the global financial crisis. Over the past decade, total debt grew 465 percent. Debt rose to 247 percent of gross domestic product in 2015, from 160 percent in 2005. Bloomberg Intelligence breaks China’s total debt into four components: bank, corporate, government, and household.

This isn’t to say that China doesn’t have some serious problems. Growth is slowing and the economy needs major restructuring. There will be winners and losers and turmoil in the market. Shadow-banking activities add another risk. It isn’t certain that the government will handle the challenges in the next decade as deftly as it has in the past. The country’s economy is far larger and more complex.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, China has a high savings rate. Capital controls aren’t fully lifted, making capital flight difficult. The government has almost complete control of the banking industry. In addition, China’s listed banks get about 70 percent of their funds from deposits. In comparison, U.S. investment banks in 2008 relied heavily on short-term money-market funding.

Such circumstances make it unlikely that China’s debt will spark a global crisis in the near future.”

Indeed, a lot of expectations and worries will come at China’s doorstep as it welcomes this year’s G-20 meeting. Can it help China project the image it desperately wanted? Let’s wait and see, especially how the Federal Reserve meeting on September 20-21 will play on and most likely will increase its interest rate which could create a sliding domino effect for the world in the process.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don't Be Pessimistic? By Erick San Juan



Our country is once again divided as various issues confront us, vital to our day to day lives. With the personalities up front raging word wars, so are the people especially the netizens.  After the initial two-day hearing on extra-judicial killings at the senate chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, several points were cleared by the PNP chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa on the war on drugs. After the so many hours spent on the senate hearing in aid of legislation, the 'war' continues and so are the killings.

The so-called war on drugs is concentrated mostly on the poor drug users and pushers, the public is asking time and again, where are the ‘big fish’? So many questions and the answers were so limited and very evasive. Like most killed are reportedly 'assets' of some scalawags in uniform who wanted to silence them and not to spill the beans. The suspected drug lord Peter Lim and family already left through a private jet for unknown destination. The case of father and son tandem – Mayor Rolly and son Kerwin Espinosa, some observers believed that they were treated like VIPs and were released eventually. Reason? No case to file against them, yet. The one was met by the President himself in Malacanang and the other one even stayed in the PNP’s white house. Pundits believe that if these are the ways the ‘big fishes’ were being treated, can we blame the public for asking why such biased treatment is being done if the present leadership is really waging this war on drugs seriously without fear and favor?

Remember we are not alone in this war, at the senate hearing it was mentioned by the Commission on Human Rights head Chito Gascon that there is a possibility that the International Criminal Court can investigate and may impose sanction on the responsible individuals who allowed the rampant extra-judicial killings. In other words, the people in the government should be wary on how to conduct their operations because we are being watched by the international community. Whether the President likes it or not, we are a member in a community of nations who are outside the box looking in for any possible violation of human rights.

But we have to remind the Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations that some alleged 'salvaging' were executed before the Duterte administration.

Yes, we are one with the President in upholding our sovereign rights as an independent nation but diplomacy dictates that we should respect people and organizations who are doing their jobs to maintain peace and harmony among sovereign states. And if we as a member of such group, we should respect and follow its rules for the protection of our citizenry.

As we wrote before, the present leadership of President Duterte is faced with a lot of problems and issues handed down from the past administrations. One is the communist insurgency which is now conducting the peace talks in Oslo, Norway. Some observers are asking why it had to be outside the country, this peace talk?

Like what former National Security Secretary Bert Gonzales said in his article that was published at the Manila Times – “Why can’t the peace talks be held where they are now? Government can easily provide suitable facilities for talks within their detention area. For those in Utrecht, except for Jose Maria Sison, who continues to be on the international terrorist list, they have been freely traveling to the Philippines, anyway."

"Sison claims to be a mere consultant in the talks. His absence should not really matter. The Norwegian third party facilitators certainly will not mind enjoying Manila hospitality. What is important is that doing the talks here will not require the Philippines to bend its laws."

"It is a good time to confront some communist beliefs that threaten national security. Many communists all over the world went through this in their respective countries, where they have now become important political players and are effectively co-existing with other ideologically founded political forces. The talks will not bring peace as intended if these beliefs are not confronted and reconciled with once and for all.”

The peace talks with the communist group is just one of the so many government tasks, there is also the problem with the MNLF and the MILF and the possible new BBL version to reckon with.  And the continuing military confrontations with the bandits of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

That’s not all, even the nagging question of the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos, whether it should be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or not really divides the people. But as of this writing, the Supreme Court came out with its status quo anti order for twenty days on the fate of the Marcos burial. It was put on hold until the day of the oral arguments next month.

We have to remind our people that  I was part of the entourage from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte of the former President Ferdinand Marcos  body and he has long been buried beside his beloved mother, Dona Josefa. What many people are seeing in Ilocos is the refrigerated wax replica of Marcos patterned to Lenin's open museum at the Red Square in Kremlin that we saw during the visit of former President Fidel Ramos in Russia.

These are just among the so many hurdles that President Digong had to face day in and day out. Maybe the severity and scope of these problems had made the president looks uneasy sometimes and tend to say words that later on regrets as saying. For whatever its worth, he is the elected president and we should support his administration but not to forget also that we are still in a democracy with all its flaws, let us all be vigilant and pray for the best that this nation will survive despite all the problems.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Will All Hell Break Loose Soon? By Erick San Juan

Will All Hell Break Loose Soon? By Erick San Juan

Or Who Will Strike First?

If the world thinks that after the PCA’s (Permanent Court of Arbitration) ruling on the territorial disputes between the Philippines and China, conflict in the region or a possible war will be farfetched, think again.

Despite the diplomatic talks between the US and China and military to military arrangement like the recent meeting between US Army chief of staff Gen. Mark Milley and China's Peoples Liberation Army Gen. Li Zuocheng Tuesday, August 16 in Beijing, the war cycle is still on.
In the recent study from the Pentagon’s think tank RAND Corporation - War with China, Thinking Through the Unthinkable, it stated that “premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states' militaries have plans to fight one.”

How can one avoid the crisis (by design) if it is a programmed one and yes it can be delayed but it will happen whether we like it or not. Unfortunately, in this case, it could be sooner than we think.

As the present administration is busy solving problems here and there, even the problem with China using the backdoor (so to speak), according to RAND’s report, the US-China war could start in the East China Sea. In this case, the Japan-China territorial dispute at the Senkaku islands could be the trigger that will start the war between US and China. The bad part of this ‘studied scenario’ is the glaring reality of the US virtual military bases here via EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) and before we know it, we are waging the American war against China just because we allowed it or should we say, our past leaders did it as slaves to a perceived master.

Another irony (according to RAND Corporation) is the use of conventional warfare if ever the US-China war will happen. No nukes! Seriously?

In this age, if one is in the league of nuclear-armed superpowers, and not to use nuclear weapons if threatened or in the line of fire and in the middle of a war, is insane.

To continue the RAND study it states – “As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences.

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other's forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, nonmilitary factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Political leaders on both sides could limit the severity of war by ordering their respective militaries to refrain from swift and massive conventional counterforce attacks. The resulting restricted, sporadic fighting could substantially reduce military losses and economic harm. This possibility underscores the importance of firm civilian control over wartime decision-making and of communication between capitals. At the same time, the United States can prepare for a long and severe war by reducing its vulnerability to Chinese A2AD forces and developing plans to ensure that economic and international consequences would work to its advantage.

Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict. In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.

This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.

China's A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.”

Now they are talking about a severe long war. A perpetual war? God forbid!

We have to be ready and if there is still time correct the mistakes of the past leaders and demand what is due us from our treaty allies if war really is inevitable.