Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Choosing Which Side of History by Erick San Juan

Choosing Which Side of History by Erick San Juan

The present administration will turn two years in a couple of months and there seems to be no real development in sight. So much for the corruption-busting but the issues that are very close to the ordinary Juan dela Cruz’s stomach were not given much priority despite the propaganda of  DSWD’s CCT program for the poor which make us more beholden to the IMF-World Bank due to high interest rates that we all have to shoulder out of these loans just to appease our underprivileged.

The much divided attention of PNoy especially on matters concerning foreign relations only prove that for almost two years now, the President has failed to put some of the right people in his cabinet that will help him run the country. Pundits believe that his leadership also lacks the foresight of things to come that will possibly put his governance in jeopardy.

One perennial problem that has come to our attention as an observer of events unfolding in our country is the issue in Mindanao, particularly our relationship with Malaysia. The government should sit down with Kuala Lumpur and talk not only about the GRP and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace agreement but also the issue of the heirs of Kiram. This age old problem has created a rift between the Philippines and Malaysia and must be addressed as soon as possible.

At this point in time, there are so many Kirams claiming as the real heir and worse of all, there are too many personalities meddling with the issue which makes it even more complicated.

The mere fact that several Kirams are claiming that they are the real heir, which one is the true heir and the one that should be given the just compensation. For so many years now, we are not even sure who's getting subsidy from Kuala Lumpur.

That is why Mr. President, please take this unsolicited advice seriously, the government should intervene to solve this age old problem by creating a crisis cluster of able men and women from your loop that will address the issue at hand with Kuala Lumpur. We just cannot afford if ever, another enemy in our neighborhood. There is already too much tensions going on in the South China Sea that adding another problem will put this country in real trouble.

I am referring to a possible balkanization if we will apply "noynoying" policy to this serious subject. This is not a joke, if this matter will go out of hand it will blow right in front of us and we will not even notice what hit us.

The government should take extreme caution in handling this matter to avoid conflict with Malaysia that might engage into some proxies in the process. I have read a lot of comments from the different blog-sites and websites tackling the issue of our Sabah claim. I have been to Sabah many times and I have seen how the people there are living comfortably and peacefully with no terrorist threats. They also enjoy the comforts of low cost of living and this also apply even to foreigners.

Let us face reality this time, Mr. President and stop daydreaming regarding our Sabah claim. Let us apply extreme diplomacy with Malaysia and help our Muslim brothers in the south get what they deserve, to live a better life benefiting from our good neighbor – the Malaysians.

If this diplomatic problem will be solve during your tenure as president, it would  be a great legacy in your name and all other negative perceptions against you will no longer matter.  God bless you, Mr. President  and may HE grant you wisdom to lead this country to the right path for the rest of your term.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do Not Invoke Thy Sovereignty in Vain

Do Not Invoke Thy Sovereignty in Vain

By Erick San Juan

When our sovereignty is being threatened, where do we turn to? Do we have the capabilities to defend our territory as a sovereign state?

As an observer of events unfolding, I can’t help but notice how the leaders of this country keep on repeating history. We never learned from our past mistakes and as we repeat history, the price we have to pay is getting very costly to many precious lives and properties.

I can’t blame our friend, the Secretary of the Department of National Defense, Voltaire Gazmin for saying that he will bring up the issue of Scarborough Shoal at the meeting in Washington on April 30 with US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Although it would be better if we discuss with Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on how to improve our defense capabilities. We need to acquire what is appropriate to Asian setting when it comes to upgraded military hardwares.

The mere fact that we are a long time ally of Uncle Sam, it is but normal that we should be given more than what we can afford and not just vintage war materiel.

The time is right that our present leaders should get what is due us unlike in the past when we were shortchanged and ended up empty handed, with the politicians getting away with the loot.

So, what else is new? Until we are united as a nation and have able men and women in the field of international diplomacy, we will always be bullied not only by China but possibly by our neighbors. And worse of all, as long as we are poor we can never have sovereignty in the true sense of the word. We will always run to our big brother and seek help. If that is the case, are we acting like a true sovereign state?

Which reminds me of the strong words of our Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario – “We will secure our sovereignty.” With what? Let’s face the fact that what we lack in military hardware, we can augment it with our able men and women that we will put to key positions with expertise in diplomacy and geostrategy.

Sad to say, everytime we have a territorial problem with China, we don’t have an Ambassador to China who should be doing all the talking with expertise like a true diplomat.

Again, for the nth time, Mr. President, please mind the store.

Diplomacy 101, do we lack people who is fit for the job? Is the whole nation under the "noynoying" spell?

With the ongoing Balikatan joint military exercises, after the still fresh “standoff” at Scarborough Shoal, if we will not be wary to any eventualities, we might end up as a cannon fodder in a war we never dreamed being a part of.

These military exercises could be turned into a real shooting war if we will allow our soldiers to be fooled that we are doing this for our sake.

Remember, what happened in Vietnam might be repeated here, God forbid! And in the process, we might end up balkanized like what happened in some countries in Europe in recent past.

Let us pray hard that our representatives to the coming defense meeting in Washington will be fruitful and this time around we will get what is long overdue.

Filipinos wake up!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learn 101: Just Like A Broken Record by Erick San Juan

Five months ago I wrote about the possibility of a regional conflict emanating between the claimants in the disputed areas in the South China Sea and China. Back in November when word war was so intense between our country and South Korea against China when the Philippine navy and the South Korean authorities detained fishing boats from China. Beijing urged both Philippine and South Korean governments to unconditionally return the Chinese dinghies as soon as possible.

It’s like history repeating itself and/or people repeating history. I am referring to the Scarborough Shoal standoff. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the confrontation happened two days after a Philippine Navy surveillance plane found the eight Chinese fishing boats anchored inside the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal on April 8. And the Panatag Shoal is an integral part of Philippine territory.

But the sad part here, no matter how bold are the statements coming from our officials, the fact remains that Beijing is insisting and will insist that the whole (almost) South China Sea is part of their territory according to their historical records.

The standoff will not end if both sides will insist what they believe is theirs. But I noticed from news reports that Senator Gregorio Honasan suggested to ask the help of the United States, he said - “This is a wake up call. Now is the time to test our regional alliances. We should now ask the US what we should do now that China is asking us to leave (the disputed waters).”

Yes, Senator Honasan, the standoff is a wake up call, for you and your fellow legislators in Congress to clearly draw a foreign policy and defense strategy that is free of any foreign intervention. A law that will guide our military and foreign affairs department on how to deal with situations like this.

The former colonel- turned- politician even asked if we will invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty or other treaties (translation - the Visiting Forces Agreement) in the present situation. But like what he said, without the support of the US and other allied countries, we should not confront China militarily.

So WTF do we have to engage in a military fight with a giant? Are we insane? We know where we stand and our capabilities. Like a broken record, but I will not get tired of reminding the government officials of this country, we have to gather our acts together and put people with expertise in the field of international diplomacy and geostrategy to solve problems like this.

Our country is very near to the disputed areas in the SCS and we will encounter more of the same problem in the near future. What we need are people who will stand up to fight what is rightfully ours but with extreme caution and a lot of diplomacy. Not one who will run to a perceived master and kowtow to its every whim and be contented to be shortchanged in the process as long as the master is happy.

The mere fact that the President himself said that the standoff should be resolved peacefully, we should do so but the question is – do we have the right man for the job?

As if nobody’s minding the store, Mr. President.

Even the impending satellite rocket launch of North Korea, our only hope is that the other countries like the US, South Korea or Japan will help us (by shooting it down) if this event will push through. So pathetic!

One solon even suggested that we can shoot down the rocket, with what? With a slingshot (tirador)?

Such comments from our so-called leaders make me sick. I hope that none of the likes of these people will enter the halls of the different government institutions in the near future.

Let us all pray hard that all of these international problems will be solved peacefully.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Laying the Predicate thru Kim's "Kimchi Diplomacy" by Erick San Juan

At the Nuclear Security Summit last month in Seoul, South Korea, US President Barack Obama confirmed the announcement of the Pentagon that the U.S. intended to construct an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense shield across Asia. But China reacted incessantly that it could be a preparation for war through the encirclement of China.

Mike Billington of the Executive Intellligence Review informed me that Lyndon La Rouche has been warning that President Obama and his allies are preparing to unleash a global thermonuclear war soon. He added that Pres. Obama is even threatening to go to war against Syria and Iran, countries which both China and Russia share important strategic and economic interests.

The ABM system for Asia was pronounced at the summit by Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs. The US government allegedly plan two sets of trilateral talks namely- one with Japan and Australia, another with Japan and South Korea. It was also announced rhat Australia will become essentially a US military base with multiple sites for military aircraft, warships, and troops. The possible sites are as follows: Darwin in the North, Brisbane in the East, Perth in the West, as well as a drone base on Australia's Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean, all out of reach of Chinese missiles.

Also at the same security summit, our foreign affairs secretary, Albert del Rosario allegedly announced that the Philippines welcomes the US's installation of bases at five Philippine airfields, utilization of Philippine ports and the expansion of existing troop presence. Despite the prohibition of our constitution that the basing of foreign military forces on our our territory is forbidden.

So how and what could be the pretext? What a coincidence was the timing of North Korea's announcement that it will attempt a satellite launch in mid-April, which will coincide with the celebration of the 100th birthday of the late former president, Kim Il Soong. According to the Obama administration, North Korea promised to postpone the long -range missile tests as part of the US-North Korea deal signed on February 29,2012 which also precluded satellite launches. It was allegedly the late president, Kim Jong-Il's plan but the successor, Kim Jong-Eun wants to pursue. Due to this violation, President Obama reportedly cancelled the food shipment that had been scheduled as the American side of the deal.

Despite China's opposition to the North Korea's launching of a satellite through a long range missile test, President Kim jong-Eun even invited space experts including from NASA, to observe the send off, to justify that their effort is directed at space and not for military targets as suspected. Pyongyang added that the development of a space program is an indispensable right and necessity for all sovereign nations. But the members of the six party talks- China, Russia, US, South Korea and Japan plus the United Nations cautioned Pyongyang.

It's unusual for President Kim Jong-Eun to act this way. Who is his real puppet master? Who does he owe his allegiance? Most of the nations in the talk are feeding North Korea.

What worries most of us is the information given by our National Disaster Reduction and Management office that the potential debris of the North Korean missile is as big as a refrigerator and will pass the airspace of both Japan and the Philippines, two nations which prohibits nuclear power and foreign bases. Even our president, B.S.C.Aquino is suspicious why the debris will possibly hit some part of our country.

Could this be part of the laying the predicate? Just asking.....

War in Iran Will Hit the Philippines by Erick San Juan

Due to a long weekend and I knew for a fact that all the vacation destinations are full packed and all roads going out of metro Manila are moving in snail pace, I preferred to stay home and try finishing my next book, Dossiers. I happen to review my news clippings and old mails.

An email from Jude Wanniski from the U.S. dated June 20,2005 was still very relevant up to now. It's an article written by Scott Ritter entitled "The US War with Iran Has Already Begun." Ritter was a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq. He acknowledged the fact that the Americans, along with the rest of the world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable truth that US President George Bush Jr not only lied to all of us about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the 911, but also the very process that led to war. He added that on October 16,2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary." It was a lie. Bush Jr. by late August 2002,had signed off on the executive orders authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders were being implemented as early as September 2002,when the US air force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the so-callled 'no-fly zone' in Iraq.

In 2003, the Bush administration spoke of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the Iranian solution. But the facts allegedly spoke of another agenda,that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime of the reigning power in Tehran.

"The American public was mind conditioned and an all-too-compliant media accepted the merits of regime change policy regarding dictatorships in the middle east (which they now called the 'Arab Spring'). We are lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran." "Many of us hold out the false hope that an attack in Iran can be postponed or prevented. But this is a fool's dream. The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other sophisticated capabilities", Ritter concluded.

Here comes the 'Arab Spring' where Islamic dictators fall like dominoes using the historical rift between the Sunnis and the Shiites. It was timed when the price of crude oil has risen by almost 10% to $122/barrel since January this year due to the instability in the Middle East, particularly the fear of an Israeli strike against the nuclear facilities of Iran. The commodity markets are wary that even a limited conflict with that country, which is the second largest OPEC oil producer, would dramatically increase the insurance on oil tankers plying the Persian gulf.
According to Robert McNally, the president of Rapidan Group, an energy consulting firm, 'What we see now is a market that is very fearful and very tight. In those condition, it doesn't take much to send the cost of oil soaring. A limited attack on Iran would trigger an oil price increase of $23 per barrel, but a more protracted conflict may cause a price spike of more than $60 per barrel." The Citigroup commodities research unit predicts that if the price of crude were to reach $150 pre barrel, US economic growth will decline by 2 percentage points, thereby converting the nascent recovery into a recession.

If even a limited attack could cause a 2 percent drop in the American GNP (the US has a vast strategic oil reserve and is expected to be in a position to absorb such an economic and geopolitical shock), can we imagine the catastrophic effect of the eventuality on a non-oil producing country like the Philippines?

Our government has focused it's attention in the ongoing crisis in Syria and has declared a level 4 alert, the highest in it's system, with hundreds of OFW's already repatriated to the Philippines. The situation in Syria would be a small sideshow compared to the conditions of some 2.3 million Filipinos in the Middle East in the event of an armed conflict with Iran.
The PNoy administration should anticipate future developments and act accordingly on how to save the vast Filipino community in the Middle East and the economic stakes involved.

May God save our country from harm!