Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why Telegraph Your Punches? By Erick San Juan

 Why Telegraph Your Punches? By Erick San Juan

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs Mark Lippert bared a three-part approach that the US Defense Department will do to help boost the alliance between the two countries on security-related issues.

In a live stream forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies held in Washington, DC (last September 27), assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs Mark Lippert bared a three-part approach that the US Defense Department will do to help boost the alliance between the two countries on security-related issues. (Source: Manila Standard Today online 9/30/2012)

Sounds great, another helping hand extended by our ally, the good old Uncle Sam in the midst of the growing military strength of China in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea. But, why the feeling that somehow there is something fishy here? As an observer of events unfolding on the matters of national and global security, we noticed that there is a scenario-building here, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation.

We came across some articles in their website that enumerated the country’s military weaknesses – translation, a script that culminated at the recent conference by the CSIS, Washington, DC. Now that Uncle Sam is in rescue mode to “help” our AFP. Such helping hand is actually in tune with their Air-Sea Battle strategy.

They will 'help' us strengthen our air and naval forces, but as always the nagging question, is Uncle Sam really helping us? Lest we forget that the so-called AFP modernization where military hardware and other war materiel were purchased, as in ‘bought’ from Washington are not FREE. As what Dr. Paul Craig Roberts said in one of his article – everything in America is for sale. Why telegraph your punches? In fact, these war materials can't be delivered immediately. Plus most of the possible warring nations will do a preemptive strike or the so called "First Strike Policy". Do we have to say more?

Here is the plan :

In June 2011, the executive branch of the government and the AFP agreed on a multiyear, multibillion peso defense upgrade spending and military buildup. The Department of Budget Management (DBM) released a multiyear obligation authority (MOA) to the DND, allowing the AFP to enter into multiyear contracts with other governments or private arms and military hardware manufacturers. The DBM also committed 40 billion pesos (about $800 million) in the next five years (2012–2016) to develop the AFP’s capabilities for greater domain awareness of the Philippines’ territorial waters and EEZ. In the proposed “rolling” program, the executive branch will ask the Philippine Congress to allocate 8 billion pesos ($160 million) annually for five years for the acquisition of air-defense surveillance radar, surface-attack aircraft, close-air-support aircraft, combat-utility helicopters, and long-range patrol aircraft.  Also covered are current upgrade programs, such as the installation of a radar and communications network along the coast of Palawan and East Mindanao under the Coast Watch System and the acquisition of three refurbished U.S. Coast Guard Hamilton class cutters for the Philippine Navy.( By Renato De Castro and Walter Lohman September 24, 2012)

Seriously, we have to build up, modernize our Armed Forces in order for Uncle Sam to have a ‘strong ally’ in the region against a perceived adversary that will hamper Uncle Sam’s plans, meaning-the Philippines as a cannon fodder, what else?

Furthermore, from the same piece we got from the authors mentioned, the US will ‘help’ us by :

“Providing the Philippines up to two squadrons of refurbished F-16s through the Excess Defense Articles program, along with a training program on their maintenance.

Forming a Pentagon–DND–AFP committee to formulate a multiyear program guiding the re-establishment of the country’s air-defense system in tandem with maritime surveillance capabilities.

Encouraging U.S. allies (Australia, Japan, and South Korea) to sell the Philippines their state-of-the art lead-in jet trainers that can be used by the PAF as a transition fighter before it shifts to a fourth-generation interceptor.

Deploying, on a six-month rotational basis, a U.S. Marine or Navy fighter squadron to be based in cooperative security locations (CSLs) in the Philippines.

Establishing radar and weather-monitoring stations in the Philippines. These stations will be manned jointly by the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and the PAF, just like the Wallace Air Station set up prior to 1992 when Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Bases were still operational.

Deploying, on a rotational basis, a squadron of P-8 Poseidons to CSLs in the Philippines. These reconnaissance and surveillance planes will be flown by a U.S.–Filipino crew to survey and safeguard the Philippines’ vast maritime borders.”

With this plan, Uncle Sam is just making sure that their pawn or ally in this region is strong enough to face any external threats. And, that their shift from economic to strategic policy in this region will be easier because a loyal ally will do it for them. But if we will look more closely, Uncle Sam benefitted much more from such arrangement, economically – to fuel their war machine a.k.a. military-industrial complex and strategically by dragging us into a war that is far from the mainland US of A. Sounds familiar? Like a Pearl Harbor scenario. In the end, we are once again shortchanged.

When Washington announced their pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, their purpose of peace and stabilization in the region came out as the opposite. And now the region is a like a powder keg awaiting just a spark of stupid provocations and that’s it, we will all go to hell.

Still our politicians are preparing for the 2013 electoral circus which many pundits believe might not push through due to external conflicts. Wake up!

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