The Return of the Jedi
By Erick San Juan
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after attending the Annual Asian Defense Conference in Singapore went to the Philippines the next day to meet his counterpart, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro at Camp Aguinaldo. They talked about the RP-US relation on counter-terrorism and how the joint military exercises benefit both nations especially, the humanitarian and disaster assistance given by the US government through the US armed forces.
Several newspapers reported that Gates talked about US government's confidence in the Philippine defense leadership and the reaffirmation of their mutual security concerns,The good secretary said that his government is satisfied and comfortable with the Visiting Forces Agreement. (Translation - Just like telling our legislators to stop the resolution questioning the legality of the VFA.)
What's quite intriguing is the clear double talk by Secretary Gates when he stated in an interview that the US government would not interfere in the South China Sea. The US according to Gates takes no position on the security challenges concerning conflicting claims in the Spratleys.
The Mutual Defense Treaty is now 60 years old but up to now, nobody dared to update this supposed two way agreement which is favorable only to the interest of USA.
Even US President Barack Obama in his recent trip to the Middle East promised several concessions to the Middle East while Gates gave us lip service on US defense spending that will allegedly benefit us. It's like handing out some lollipops to leak but not to chew.
In one of the Al Jazeera news channel documentary recently about the new military base in Guam, the people of Guam are up in arms as to the permanent stay of a bigger US forces in their territorial water. The US troops from Japan and Korea as reported are now slowly being transferred there due to the resistance coming from the Japanese and the Koreans. The people of Guam are worried that their island could be an easy target of a possible nuclear attack in the future.
A military analyst friend of mine told me that there's a big probability that the American defense establishment needs not only the VFA but the US forces will return back to the Philippines soon. The North Korean bogey and the war on terrorism could be part of the scenario to justify the redeployment of its forces in South East Asia.