Thursday, July 26, 2012
Who could have thought that the day will come when most analysts in different fields will compare the United States with China? With the help of the internet, one can easily search from various sites where US and China were being compared – may it be in military, science and technology, infrastructure, education, etc. name it, and the internet have it.
The notion of some countries that China will overtake US in all aspects in the near future is not the scenario for Larry Edelson, for him - the near future is now. In his video/analysis, The Great Betrayal of 2012, Edelson (Weiss Research’s Asia-based analyst) reported that “the Obama administration is CONSPIRING with China’s leaders to destroy the value of every U.S. dollar.” Such accusation was based on some detailed statistics enumerated in the said video.
So many thinks that Uncle Sam will not go to war against China for a huge economic reason, although some pundits say that both countries needed a war to divert some problems within. And so, the bottom line here is – no war, no money? But who will benefit the most?
Not us, for sure. Wittingly, we can be use as a cannon fodder in this game of war if this country’s leadership will not stop kowtowing to a perceived master.
“I am afraid that the scenario of the US coming to the rescue of the Philippines is unrealistic and a non-starter for one very simple and basic reason -- going to war with China or risking a serious rupture in Sino-American relations over the Spratly Archipelago is simply not in the “national interests” of the United States.” This is the view of Benjamin Muego (a visiting professor of Political Science in Ateneo and De La Salle University in Manila).
And if the continuing prodding of Uncle Sam to start the conflict here in our backyard, by creating provocations against China will prevail, our president is really in big trouble. As I always say, if the President will make such false move, all of us will suffer in the process. That is why, in my daily radio program (@DWSS1494khz, 5:30-6pm) and in my writings (@ericksanjuan.blogspot.com) I ask all peace loving Filipinos for their understanding and support to PNoy, he is our current President and whether we like it or not, we have to help him and in doing so, we are actually helping ourselves.
Although there are some evil-minded individuals who really wanted this administration to fail by pushing PNoy to wage war against China. Just recently, there were some foolish decisions by the Palace concerning the tension at the Panatag Shoal. It seems that PNoy was ill-advised and some of us thought that a shooting war was about to happen. Thank God that it was aborted and a few sensible men in PNoy’s loop recommended a better scenario in solving the matter at hand. Unless the President will not heed to some sound unsolicited advise from people who knows better in the field of foreign policy and geostrategy, he will be blamed in the end for some very crucial decisions. Laying the predicate.
Take for example the so-called survey at rankopedia.com, wherein PNoy was ranked as the worst president ever! (Hitler at the second place). This is a blatant revelation to justify a scenario that is about to happen (translation – laying the predicate).
It would be a never-ending tension in the disputed areas in the South China Sea if China and all the claimants will not think of peaceful solutions that will make everybody satisfied with whatever decision that is just and will respect every country’s sovereignty.
We hope that PNoy will finish his term unscathed and so is the rest of the nation’s populace. God bless our land.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The failure to come up with a communiqué for the first time in the 45 years of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia is a sign of how China’s ‘soft power’ operation influenced the decisions of some of the ASEAN members. The division within did not allow the issuance of a joint statement mentioning the recent stand off in the Scarborough Shoal. The host country resisted such inclusion so there was no communiqué. How come?
China is Cambodia's largest foreign investor. Beijing has lavished money on high-profile aid projects in the country, including paying for the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh where the ASEAN ministers met. Almost immediately, before the start of an ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh in April 2012, President Hu Jintao arrived on a four-day visit, the first by a Chinese head of state to Cambodia in 12 years. It is hard to believe that Hu's timing was coincidental. (Source: ASEAN stumbles in Phnom Penh by Donald K Emmerson)
The fact that Beijing has really extended its help to its neighbors, it doesn’t follow that issues pertinent to the region’s peace and security should be set aside. The recent tensions in some disputed areas in the South China Sea, between the Philippines and Vietnam should be taken seriously by the member countries of the ASEAN. And to do so is the supposed final communiqué
that the body had to read at the end of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Multilateral vs Bilateral
The bilateral approach of Beijing to the problems involving the claimants in the disputed areas in the South China Sea is in tune with its soft power operation wherein Beijing will address the needs of the claimant and help them through soft loans. This way, every claimant (that got the help from China) is somehow beholden to its benefactor. It is easier this way than to involve several claimants at the same time (multilateral) with Uncle Sam’s prodding. Indonesian President Bambang acted swiftly to pacify the warring factions in the region. He sent immediately his foreign minister to talk to his counterparts to address the issue. President Bambang said that the tension must not be allowed to escalate. He knew for a fact that if war breaks out, indonesia will be dragged into the conflict. The signs are already there.
Even in our case, when recently PNoy thanked China for financing the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project (AWUAIP) in Quezon City through its Preferential Buyer’s Credit of China Export-Import Bank for a total investment of P5.3 billion. This is just one of China’s several investments in the country plus several other economic ties that we have with them. After this event, the Palace reiterated its statement of finding diplomatic solutions to the disputes over some areas in the South China Sea. No more strong words of provocation and has actually downplayed the issue on spy planes request from Uncle Sam. At the said inauguration, Pnoy evaded to answer the question regarding the thirty sea vessels from China at the Panatag Shoal. A real turnaround from the counter-bullying against China before.
Methinks this is much better than the continuous word wars and saber rattling that will only lead to the escalation of tension in the SCS. Although Uncle Sam will not like this development for his personal (economic) interests a.k.a. military industrial complex. No war, no money. As I have written before, the global conflict was set and the flashpoints once ignited can lead to mutually assured destruction of countries that will be used as a pawn in this war game. Only the vested interests of a few superpowers will benefit because the world economic downturn is for real and some things that we thought were too big to fall are actually falling one by one.
Only a war scenario can save their failing economies. If this too fails, an internal civil war is not far behind.
As a sovereign nation, we have to assert our rights to our territory and if we do not have the military might, peaceful diplomatic solution is always the best answer. In this way, we do not need any help from the Big Brother who only think for what he can gain from the situation. We have to learn from history because if we keep on repeating it, the prize we have to pay is getting bigger and costlier to lives and properties.
The stakes are high. Let's get our act together. Save the nation,save the world. Unmask the manipulators creating this world crisis by design.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
By Erick San Juan
At the Al Jazeera TV the other night, Osama bin Laden's story is again featured together with his allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His closeness to the Pashtun's made him a folk hero. What was alarming was the interview and information coming from Osama's former aide that although most of his trusted lieutenants were already killed, there are still remnants of Al Qaeda who can create terrorism with impact, moving alone but with precision. Is this the 'lone wolf' that US President Barack Obama exposed during the 911 anniversary?
According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her speech at the Global Counterterrorism Forum ministerial meeting at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul last June 7, 2012, “The core of Al-Qaeda that carried out the 9/11 attacks may be on the path to defeat, but the threat has spread, becoming more geographically diverse and the danger from terrorism remains urgent and undeniable.”
Such a classic example of doublespeak, when the so-called ‘death’ of Osama bin Laden, over a year ago has allegedly weakened the core of al-Qaeda. Then, why the danger from terrorism remains urgent?
It is like saying that the world remains under the strategy of tension, threat and fear and that countries badly need the help of Uncle Sam and the 'scriptwriters' behind the new scenario.
The secretary said the threat of terror has spread to become more geographically diverse, and extremist groups are now “actively encouraging lone-wolf terrorists” to carry out attacks and killing sprees. (Source: MacKenzie C. Babb, Staff Writer, IIP Digital, US Embassy, June 7, 2012)
So the new scheme is “lone-wolf terrorists” that will be conveniently use when such terror attacks will occur.
A lone wolf or lone-wolf fighter is someone who commits violent act in support of some group, movement, or ideology, but does so alone, outside of any command structure. The term "lone wolf" was popularized by white supremacists Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger in the 1990s. (Wikipedia)
But this is just a reiteration of what President Obama said at the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center or 9/11, he said that “The risk that we're especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacre of sort that we saw in Norway recently. You know, when you've got one person who is deranged or driven by a hateful ideology, they can do a lot of damage, and it's a lot harder to trace those lone wolf operators." (Source: Foxnews.com, 8/17/2011)
The mere fact that they have given the premise that the it would be a lot harder to trace the so-called lone wolf operators, then the predicate has been laid – the terror threat will go on. And we saw one such act which I wrote in August 2011 (@ericksanjuan.blogspot.com) – the terrorist attack of July 23,2011 launched by a lone right-wing extremist in the peaceful capital city of Oslo, Norway and at the summer camp for children in the island of Utoya, resulted to the death of 77 young people. The whole of Europe and the world were shaken and wondered how such mass murder could have been executed with ease by a lone gunman. During the first few hours, the world was bombarded by the news spin coming from CNN, BBC, etc. that initially thought that the attacks have the 'signature' of Al Qaeda.
We have to be very vigilant here and didn’t we notice the recent kidnappings by the ASG in the south, particularly the Jordanian journalist? That even our PNP has doubts if such kidnapping did happen.
Our case should be treated with analytical mind because the confluence of events is suspect after the US and UK visits of PNoy. Are we seeing a sequel from what happened during the regime of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?
The US and UK visits was not about the economy alone, there is much to it than meets the eye from the media people who were there and reported it to the country. Maybe the president has forgotten the word transparency here.
As an observer of events here and abroad, let us brace ourselves for the show has just started after the death of Osama.
The show must go on!
Friday, July 13, 2012
First to Blink! By Erick San Juan
When the tension at the disputed Scarborough Shoal has eased out temporarily, after both sides withdrew their different sea vessels, the rest of the region also felt relieved. It was no joke, that such incident might cropped up into a regional conflict if any miscalculation or accidental shooting happened. Thanks God that nothing of that sort occurred. But, for how long will countries in this region be safe and peaceful?
The other week, a strongly worded editorial came out in the Daily Tribune – “Noy, a danger to the country,” that pointed out the plan of President Aquino to ask the US to send spy planes to help the country in monitoring disputed areas in the South China Sea.
As we have pointed out before, the government should not announce its plans as sensitive as this while trying its best to solve the dispute with Beijing diplomatically. It is quite obvious that PNoy is being ill-advised here or he knew in the first place the consequences of such advice but still did it. For what reason? Or like what the Tribune editorial stated – 'or maybe because the suggestion came from Uncle Sam so PNoy quickly accepted it as what any Amboy(American boy) could have done.'
So, which is which, Mr. President?
The impression of being an Amboy is not helping you in any way, and the country is quite sensitive when it comes to “who is really running the government". For we have learned from the past administrations and it is not acceptable this time to repeat the wrong part of our history. We are living in very exciting times and any provocation can lead to a real conflict.
The return of Uncle Sam in Asia-Pacific is a significant gesture to countries allied with the US but it can also be interpreted as big trouble to some. From the eyes of someone from the US mainland ,the recent ‘tensions’ in the South China Seas were allegedly encouraged by Uncle Sam in order to return to its former bases at a very least cost (like what happened in the Philippines and possibly in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam).
Through some corporate mainstream media, it would be easier to ‘demonize’ China as the bullying neighbor and in the process; the bullied nations will seek the help of the Big Brother (US). The willingness of Uncle Sam to help, includes the so-called modernization of the military and selling several (almost obsolete) war materiel to those nations like the Philippines who has no budget to buy high end weaponry. As in our case, we will never get these military equipments for free. We bought them even if they were stripped down with its high tech gadgets. This is how they treat loyal allies.
This is not a healthy situation in the midst of a worldwide financial downturn for countries to have spending spree for war machines. This arms race (courtesy of the Big Brother) will only cripple these countries economically. This is a master piece of the military industrial complex.
More tensions in the near future.
The conflict between claimants in the disputed areas in the South China Sea and China is not the only dispute that we have to watch out. There are also disputed islands in Japan that has to be resolved peacefully with Taipei (and with Beijing?). A possible joint forces of Taiwan and China is reportedly in the offing to rejoin the Japanese islands to what they call Taipei Country, and possibly such event could lead to more acquisition of disputed islands by Taiwan. Some pundits say that some of our country’s northern islands could be a part of such acquisition. That is what we have to watch out with a lot of caution.
This writer is not an alarmist; I am just a messenger who has the opportunity to have an access to some information and to critically analyze the confluence of events that could hopefully help our present leaders. As I always say, if the President will not be wary and repeat the wrong part of our history, all of us will be dragged into a conflict not of our liking. Many believe that we will be the first to blink. Let's be vigilant!
Monday, July 2, 2012
The annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2012 will be held in the vicinity of Mindanao Sea or Bohol Sea, which lies between the provinces of Bohol and Leyte and north of Mindanao. The area is under the area of responsibility of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM). It will run from July 2 to 10, 2012.
According to Col. Omar Tonsay, Philippine Navy spokesman, this year's CARAT 2012 will involve 450 personnel from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard; and 500 personnel from the US Navy and Coast Guard. (Interaksyon, June 28, 2012)
The CARAT started in 1995 and like other bilateral military exercises we have with the US through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) such exercises occur annually.
The mere fact that these exercises were considered part and parcel of the Mutual Defense Treaty that we have with Washington, but still, the timing and the venue are suspicious vis-a-vis the tensions brewing in the South China Sea. We cannot help but ask ourselves – do we really need such annual exercises? We have several of the same kind already and recently they are not being useful to us and to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. Obviously, it is a tool for provocation whether we like it or not. Any accidental firing or miscalculations during such exercises, could be use as pretext for regional conflict.
Like what we have been saying (over and over), the defense treaties that we have with Uncle Sam should be revisited and reviewed (or possibly terminated) because it benefits them more than us. In other words, from the very start these pacts were all one-sided. Even in its ratification, treaties and agreements we entered in the past, it did not have the conforme of the other party. Are we all that dumb that we allow such process?
And here we go again, with the pending ratification on the third reading of the Status of the Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) in the Senate,it is a clear sign that we are allowing ourselves to be used as a pawn in the game of war that US and Australia had planned since 2009 against China.
I have written about this in my past article (@ericksanjuan.blogspot.com) that a 2009 Defense white paper contained a “secret chapter” in David Uren’s book that assessed “Australia’s ability to fight an air-sea battle alongside the United States against China” and the revelation came out in an Australian newspaper last June 2,2012.
At the Senate deliberation of the SOVFA on its second reading, Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor- Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed reservations, saying this would be disadvantageous to the Philippines. Santiago believes concurring with the treaty may threaten the country’s sovereignty.
“This treaty violates the doctrine of void for vagueness. It is so vague that it will spawn myriad irritants in Philippine-Australia relations,” she said. (Source: Alexis Romero, Philippine Star 6/10/2012)
The points raised by the senators were like a repeat of what happened when the VFA with the US was questioned. They were both VAGUE. (translation – This could lead to something else. We will be shortchanged again and we will find ourselves being dragged to a war not of our liking.)
Are we going to repeat history with this SOVFA with Australia? We have too much “visiting forces” already that some of them enjoyed it too much that they were no longer visitors.
I have to remind my regular readers of my articles, that the Coast Watch South that we have, is a joint military undertaking of US and Australia, and we have witnessed how such operation did not help our fellow Filipinos in the south. Instead, it contributed to the extension of the perennial problem of insurgency and banditry, and worst of all the possible balkanization of Mindanao from the rest of the archipelago.
Let us hope that at the opening of the Congress later this month, more sane Senators will vote against the ratification of the SOVFA on its third reading."Makonsensiya naman kayo!"