Who will benefit, U.S. or US?
By Erick San Juan
There seems to be so much renewed interest by Uncle Sam in this part of the world which, according to a US top official is “a dynamic region”. US top officials are doing their “friendly visits” ahead of the largest meeting of foreign ministers on Friday in Hanoi, Vietnam for the 27-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum. While the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in South Korea last Monday and followed by the US Secretary of State herself, Hillary Clinton, the US Undersecretary for Political Affairs, William Burns arrived in Manila last Tuesday for his two-day visit here.
For barely a month since Pres. Aquino took office, US Usec. For Political Affairs William Burns, the first senior US official who visited President Aquino after he took office, reminded the Filipino nation that they will continue their “support” as a commitment by the Obama administration to the new government.
Burns said that he was able to discuss with Aquino priority issues for the US, including judicial reform, protection of human rights, and efforts to combat trafficking, efforts to improve accountability and transparency and the fight against corruption, which are crucial in any healthy democratic society. (ABS-CBN News)
In his visit to Cotabato City last Wednesday, Mr. Burns reiterated what U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas said, that the US troops stationed in Mindanao will remain there to help train local troops as they fight Islamic militants who are blamed for the country’s worst terrorist attacks. The Mindanaoans are puzzled and asking through the mail why Usec. Burns proceeded to Cotabato instead of Zamboanga where the bulk of the American troops are stationed. Again, for the nth time, let me ask our “friends” – if they have been there in Mindanao for a decade now, helping our soldiers through training, why is it that the supposed “terrorists” are still doing their usual acts of terrorism? Have we forgotten the word transparency here? What could be their real motive, which they are not telling us? Are we really going to benefit here? Or is it for their own hidden agenda?
Remember, tensions have been building up in Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. That is reportedly the reason why Secretaries Clinton and Gates met with South Korean officials to boost their moral and show a united front against North Korea. The tension started in March due to alleged North Korea's apparent sinking of a South Korean corvette-Cheonan. US will be needing us more than ever as a member of the ASEAN and at the same time as an important American ally in this region. That is the main reason why I keep on reiterating that we have to play our cards well and not to be fooled again into entering a war that is not our own choosing. America is our friend but we have to remind their government to give us what due us. Up to now most of our war veterans have not been given what's due them.
We have to consider also as part of the Asean family of nations that we have to maintain a good relationship with our neighbors and help resolve conflicts peacefully. We could not afford another war because our “friend” choose to be at war, this is not the right approach to sustain a peaceful world.
If it’s true, from what I heard from the Palace that P-Noy will revisit the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), well and good. This way, the “lopsided” provisions against our nation’s interest will be reviewed. Hopefully our Congress will do the necessary changes that will benefit US, and not only the U.S......
As the saying goes, "In unity there's strength". This is what we need now to boost the morale of our leaders and negotiate for what is right and good for the "Pinoys".......