Monday, December 26, 2011

The Program is On!

The Program is On! by Erick San Juan

"A good neighbor is better than a far-off brother." – Old Chinese Saying

China has renewed what it has been doing for some years now – its peaceful rise to power and applying soft power to it's Asian neighbors in the area where it's rival power (the US) in the region is not doing. Like the old Chinese saying, Beijing wants to project the good neighbor image and makes the rest of the Asian neighborhood happy, being the recipient of a neighbor’s good deeds.

Not until the past weeks, where there were series of military exercises and particularly, the display of naval power by both Beijing and Washington in and around the disputed areas of the South China Sea. This time, such events are making the Asian neighborhood and the rest of the world nervous.

As if waiting for a big event that can trigger a regional conflict, the world is in the wait and see mode and hoping that somehow things will be resolved for the better. Well not here in our own backyard, where we are witnessing a possible war president-in-the-making.

After kowtowing to a perceived master at the last Asian Summit, the next move of President Aquino is to acquire a squadron or 12 F-16 fighter jets from the United States. In the midst of calamity after calamity where hundreds of Filipino lives were involved, in a time of great suffering among our fellowmen in the south, the palace occupant is thinking of war.

We will be expecting more rains in the future because of the La Nina phenomenon and the acquisition of equipments that will be valuable to rescue precious lives should be the top priority of the present administration.

Instead of preparing for war over the Spratlys, which will not benefit us and will only push us further to become the magnet of the far-off brother’s enemies in the region. And, for someone who has been following the confluence of events here and around the world, this writer can’t help but notice the absence of the US troops in Sendong rescue (search and retrieval) and relief operations. This is something ominous that in case of war, Malacanang needs to make a request first before Washington act. Where is the so-called automatic response and extended hands of support from a brother?

What we have been witnessing for the recent months is the prodding of Uncle Sam for the nation-states in Asia to keep on purchasing military equipments in spite of the fact that we Filipinos need other much important purchases that will help us economically. Methinks that if we will continue this buying spree, we will end up broke and need to borrow again and again to pay for a war that we don’t need. Where is the sense of priority of our nation’s leaders? Harder times are coming. Will such provocation push us to a regional conflict or worse, cripple us more in the process?

The program is on, whether we like it or not, it could be delayed, but can we stop it? That’s all but the fact remain, the proxy war is inevitable. And sadly, not one person in the government could see this coming and make efforts to prevent it. Instead, we could be the witting tools in the game of war of the giants. A very perilous new year coming!

God forbid!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Will Defend This Nation?
By Erick San Juan
 
 
Three articles ago (my articles can be read at www.ericksanjuan.blogspot.com), we wrote about the possible shift of our military from counter-insurgency to confrontation with China. Based on several articles that we got from different sources like the EIR, the US military presence here will greatly influence our military’s thrust.
 
This only shows that we don’t own and control the country’s defense goal and only follows the dictate of a perceived master’s plan.
 
From the interview of Global Times reporter Yu Jincui to Fan Gaoyue, a senior colonel in the People's Liberation Army and research fellow at the PLA Academy of Military Science, clearly stated that -
  
"Air Sea Battle" (ASB) is a US strategic plan that envisions China as the main opponent. In a recent press conference, Spokesman of China's Ministry of National Defense Geng Yansheng stated that the plan is nothing new and is the result of a cold war mentality. Why has the US developed such a plan? How should China respond?
 
According to the 2010 US Quadrennial Defense Review, the ASB concept is intended to defeat adversaries across the range of military operations, including adversaries equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area denial capabilities. The concept will address how air and naval forces will integrate capabilities across all operational domains to counter growing challenges to the US.
 
Although there is no official statement that the plan mainly targets China, the intention is obvious. Confronted by a rising China, the US is panicky. It worries China may replace it as the biggest economy and challenge its global leadership.
 
We never get tired reminding our leaders to always be wary in dealing with our foreign friends, this administration must not repeat history of kowtowing to the whims of the big brother and dragged the whole nation to a war in the process.
 
The US Air Sea Battle (ASB) plan will not be implemented without the big help of its allies. It was reported over the weekend that the US Navy said it would station several new coastal combat ships in Singapore and perhaps in the Philippines in coming years, moves likely to fuel China's fears of being encircled and pressured in the South China Sea dispute.
 
Regional defense analysts said the ships were small, but agreed the symbolism of the moves, which come after Washington announced it was increasing its engagement in Asia, would upset Beijing. (Reuters)
 
The fact that President Noynoy supported President Obama at the last East Asia Summit can we therefore conclude that PNoy could be the next war president? After all, he even ordered the newly appointed Armed Forces chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa to prepare for war amid the country’s present rift with China in relation to its claims over some portions of Spratlys Islands.
 
In his speech during the AFP change of command at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, President Aquino said that in the past, the military’s only concern are internal threats such as the New People’s Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but with the emerging external challenges, the new AFP chief should also be ready to respond against external aggression.
 
“Whereas before, the focus of the AFP is on internal threats such as the NPA and the MILF, but nowadays we have to be prepared against external challenges, especially because there are those claiming our own territories,” Aquino said.
 
Although he did not refer to any country, Aquino was obviously referring to China which has traded accusations with the Philippines of encroaching into their respective territorial claims. (Virgilio J. Bugaoisan, The Daily Tribune 12/13/2011)
 
The signs are here and so does the signs of an impending war through a regional conflict courtesy of an ally. All by design.
 
In this holiday season of peace and hope, let us all pray harder that true lasting peace may come to the world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let's Get Our Act Together by Erick San Juan

As we witness the events unfolding for the past weeks, there seem to be no changes at all on the way things are going towards a possible conflict between Beijing and Washington. To wit from the Global Times, President Hu Jintao's speech Tuesday to the Chinese Navy representatives caught the attention of foreign media. It focused on two lines, that China must "accelerate the transformation of its navy" and "make extended preparations for military combat."

The instructions Hu gave to the Navy are hardly different to what any country's leader or commander-in-chief may give to his military. That is the routine requirement for any military force, especially those of a developing country.

Any country should look at this from a normal perspective, otherwise they may overinterpret China's military moves.

And then on the following day, December 7, China and the United States held their annual defense consultative talks (DCT) as planned in Beijing, despite recent frictions including the US arms sales to Taiwan.

It is important to note that in September, Washington announced the $5.85 billion arms sale to Taiwan and the upgrades of its 145 fighter jets. The arms sale was a decision made by the US State Department and not what others would think was done by the Pentagon. Why is this so? Another angel and demon operation?

"The fact that the American delegation which include officials from the US State Department shows that Washington too does not merely consider the DCT to be military talks.", said Yuan Peng, director of the American Studies Center at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. "Nobody wants a conflict, and the US cannot afford a conflict with China now.", Peng added.

The Defense Consultative Talks which was established in 1997, is the highest-level bilateral dialogue between the two militaries. (China Daily)

It is very clear that cold war or not, the rest of the Asia Pacific is on the look out for a possible scenario that will trigger an attack on China or the US that will start the war.

As these events are unfolding, we can’t help asking ourselves, what are we doing as a nation in the middle of two conflicting elephants?

At the Global News Network-Destiny channel talk show of Mentong Laurel last Friday night, me and retired navy Commodore Rex Robles discussed the possibility of a world war and dicussed our readiness to such situation. There were hanging questions (due of lack of time) left unanswered for the mean time. Is the present administration ready for such eventuality? Do we have people who have expertise in geopolitics and foreign policy that can address problems that may arise when such event happens?

Yes, this administration seems juggling among none issues that had to be left to some cabinet members expertise to resolve. Our government should be ready economically and strategically in the field of geopolitics. Time is of the essence here and mere 'kowtowing' to a perceived 'master' is a no-no. We are facing an impending global conflict. We should think out of the box and think the unthinkable. We have to get our acts together and come up with concrete strategies that will help the country in the process. If we will just rely and put our fate to the 'big brother', we will be shortchanged again and find ourselves in the losing end.

For a change, this present administration should not make the same mistake committed by our past leaders, where they let the country be dragged to a war that we never wanted.

God save the Philippines and let's have happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cold War to World War? by Erick San Juan

"If China's core interests, such as its sovereignty, national security, and unity are intruded on, a military conflict will be unavoidable." This was the statement by Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan, the Deputy Secretary General of the China Society of Military Science, after Pres. Obama’s announcement of the new military basing operations in Australia. (People's Daily, Nov. 17)

This statement came about after the so-called summit that was supposed to create an atmosphere of cooperation and finding peaceful solutions to some issues especially the disputed area in the South China Sea. Just like what I wrote in my last article (www.ericksanjuan.blogspot.com) the event was more confrontational rather than what it has projected to the world.

The planned permanent military basing by US in Australia was another irritant to US-China relations, to note: A remark by Defense Ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng, was China's strongest reaction yet to the announcement by President Barack Obama in November of the US plan to strengthen military ties with Australia and to eventually station 2,500 Marines on Australia's remote northern coast. To Quote-

"We believe this is all a manifestation of a Cold War mentality," Mr. Geng said at a monthly press briefing, according to text of his remarks posted on the Defense Ministry's website. "We hope relevant parties do more things that are beneficial for the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, rather than the opposite." (Source: The Wall Street Journal-Asia online 12/1/11)

The Cold War was the most important political and diplomatic issue of the later half of the 20th Century. The main Cold War enemies were the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold war got it's name because both sides were afraid of fighting each other directly. In such a "hot war," nuclear weapons might destroy everything. So, instead, they fought each other indirectly. They played havoc with conflicts in different parts of the world. They also used words as weapons. They threatened and denounced each other. Or, they tried to make each other look foolish. (Source: globalsecurity.org)

If this “cold war mentality” will continue, could it be that the real “shooting war” is not far behind?

The blame game worsened when last October, US lawmaker Michael Turner, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee focusing on strategic weapons and other security programs voiced concern about an extensive tunnel complex designed to house China's nuclear missiles.(www.breitbart.com) "The tunnels would allow China to launch a nuclear counter-attack if it was hit by a nuclear strike.", said Mark Schneider, senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy. It was corroborated by Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. He said that the tunnel complex could allow the Chinese army to conceal its weapons. The plot thickens when CNN TV last December 1, featured some Georgetown University students in Washington DC who have blown the lid off one of China's best kept military secrets that it's nuclear arsenal could be up to 40 times bigger than thought. According to London Telegraph, Philip Karber and Nick Yarosh of Georgetown University said that China could have as many as 3,000 nuclear warheads,far more than the current estimates of between 80 to 400.

ATS quoted China's army general, Chi Haotian, the vice-chairman of China's Central Military Commission when he said," We have made a tremendous effort to construct 'The Great Wall Project', to build up, along our coastal and land frontiers as well as around large and medium-sized cities , a solid underground 'great wall' that can withstand a nuclear war." With the events unfolding gearing towards a global war, the rest of the world especially nations in Asia Pacific, should find a way to avert another world war. Unfortunately, our country’s leadership did not see this coming and lacked the expertise in the field of geopolitics when it gave its support to Uncle Sam at the East Asia Summit.

Actually, such action virtually dragged us into supporting a possible regional conflict that might trigger another world war. Again, we will be part of a war that we never wanted. We hope that this week's US-Sino annual defense talks will produce positive results and adhere to peaceful resolutions on major defense and military issues.

Anyway, the Filipinos will never postpone Christmas festivities come what may. Happy Holidays to all!