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!