Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another “Doll in One’s Pocket”?

Another “Doll in One’s Pocket”?
By Erick San Juan

Gathered from various news wires, Senator Richard Lugar (Republican-Indiana) arrived in Manila last October 27 and will stay until October 31, and the purpose of  his Asia-Pacific tour is ‘to encourage nations to reduce the use, production and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction’.

According to a press release from the US Embassy in Manila, Lugar’s visit is an effort to expand the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, which focuses on dismantling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and reducing their stockpiles.

“Cooperation is essential to identifying and interdicting the flow of weapons of mass destruction through out Southeast Asia. Sources of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or precursor materials could be states or rogue terrorist elements,” the press release quoted Lugar as saying.

Thinking Filipinos and pundits alike might ask, why in the world that Sen. Lugar chose the Philippines to make his announcement? Do we have such WMD, nuclear weapons and the likes?

The last time I checked my history books, it was their 'gang' headed by then Secretary of State George Shultz that helped put Cory Aquino as president replacing Ferdinand Marcos through the People Power Revolution in 1986. Together with that was the immediate ‘death sentence’ to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that we paid but we never used a single watt of electricity. And the rest, is somewhat part of our ‘bad’ history.

It’s quite obvious that our dream to have cheaper electricity (through nuclear power plant) has long been shelved, and now the good senator announced such nuke threats here?

In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. (Franklin D. Roosevelt) Same is true with geopolitics.

Since the standoff in the Panatag Shoal (or Scarborough) until the famous announcement of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of the United States’ pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, the confluence of events lead to the return of US troops to the Philippines. Of course there is always the convenience of citing the Mutual Defense Treaty through the Visiting Forces Agreement for the reason that US troops can legally ‘visit’ their former military base in Subic. But the nagging question is for how long the visit will last?

And having FDR’s quotation in mind, the plan has been set since the election of PNoy as the country’s next president. Lest we forget that the unseen hand of Uncle Sam is always there especially in choosing the highest leader of the land.

And the visit of Senator Lugar here is not just an ‘ordinary’ visit. The fact that he played a major role in the country’s recent past history, might be repeated (or people might repeat history).

I want to share here another flashback about the good Senator. Back in early June this year, he was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of Grand Collar (Supremo) during the launching of the new lobby group, US-Philippine Society- a think tank co-chaired by businessman Manuel Pangilinan and former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte.

Lugar was given the Lakandula award for his “significant contributions to the enhancement of the Philippine-US alliance and friendship.” And in fact, he introduced Senate Resolution 481 calling for increased American defense and security cooperation with the Philippines, including support for the modernization of the Philippine military. (Source: PDI by Daxim L. Lucas)

Need we say more? So, it seems that we owe Sen. Lugar our military’s modernization.

Back to his intention ‘to encourage expansion of the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperative Threat reduction program’ here in the region is quite a doublespeak. Why?

The fact that Washington wanted to restrict the use of nuclear arms here in our territory. What about their warships who many believe are loaded with nuclear arms and nuclear-powered at that?  As I always say, not all Filipinos are fools or can be fooled by rhetorics and deceits, especially coming from a supposed ally.

As a matter of fact, Russia just announced last October 10 that it ‘will not renew a decades-old agreement with Washington on dismantling nuclear and chemical weapons when it expires next year, according to Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

Senator Richard Lugar, a veteran disarmament campaigner, was in Moscow in August to push for the renewal of the program, known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which he helped launch.

The project intended to dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons from the former Soviet Union, was last ratified by Russia in 2006 and is due to expire in 2013. Aides said it has resulted in the deactivation of more than 7,650 strategic warheads.

Ryabkov said that Russia now has the finances to carry out its own programs and that Moscow is interested in the continuing partnerships in third world countries. (Reuters)

Could this be the reason why Sen. Lugar turned to this region in promoting his program?  And the main thing here that we have to watch out for is, what could be Beijing’s reaction to Uncle Sam’s emissary’s visit to the region?

Possibly not good. Pundits believe that another scenario is being hatched. We have shown to our neighbors here (and the rest of world) that a possible rehash of 1986 is in the offing. Hope that it is not another programmed 'doll in the pocket’. God forbid!

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