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.

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