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!