Tuesday, January 31, 2017

China's Masterstroke by Erick San Juan

China's Masterstroke by Erick San Juan

The Manila Times news report quoted Professor Renato de Castro of De La Salle University’s international studies department as saying in a forum in Makati City, “Foreign policy has to be democratic. It has to reflect the sentiment of the people.”

Just like what the recent survey of Pulse Asia revealed that 8 out of 10 Filipinos or 84 percent want the government to assert Philippine rights over the West Philippine Sea. Another aspect of what the Duterte administration should consider, not just plain independent foreign policy. Yes, independent decision with no foreign influence. But it is another thing when you say it should be influenced by the Filipino people – your constituents. Not just you or the people in your loop.

If an overwhelming 84 percent of Filipinos want the government to uphold our rights to the contested area in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, it could mean a more aggressive and firm stand to claim it based on the ruling at The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration. So, there seems to be a sort of  apprehension on the part of the present leadership in pursuing our rightful claim.
Why is this so?

It should be noted that this is not new when one is dealing with China economically like in other countries. An article by Brahma Chellaney from the Strategist online explains this further – “If there is one thing at which China’s leaders truly excel, it is the use of economic tools to advance their country’s geostrategic interests.

Through its $1 trillion ‘one belt, one road’ initiative, China is supporting infrastructure projects in strategically located developing countries, often by extending huge loans to their governments. As a result, countries are becoming ensnared in a debt trap that leaves them vulnerable to China’s influence.

Of course, extending loans for infrastructure projects is not inherently bad. But the projects that China is supporting are often intended not to support the local economy, but to facilitate Chinese access to natural resources, or to open the market for low-cost and shoddy Chinese goods. In many cases, China even sends its own construction workers, minimizing the number of local jobs that are created. Remember the shady North Rail project?

Several of the projects that have been completed are now bleeding money. For example, Sri Lanka’s Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, which opened in 2013 near Hambantota, has been dubbed the world’s emptiest.

Likewise, Hambantota’s Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port remains largely idle, as does the multibillion-dollar Gwadar port in Pakistan. For China, however, these projects are operating exactly as needed: Chinese attack submarines have twice docked at Sri Lankan ports, and two Chinese warships were recently pressed into service for Gwadar port security.

In a sense, it is even better for China that the projects don’t do well. After all, the heavier the debt burden on smaller countries, the greater China’s own leverage becomes. Already, China has used its clout to push Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand to block a united ASEAN stand against China’s aggressive pursuit of its territorial claims in the South China Sea.”

And that includes our country as the host of the ASEAN summit where the South China Sea issue is not in the agenda.

“Moreover, some countries, overwhelmed by their debts to China, are being forced to sell to it stakes in Chinese-financed projects or hand over their management to Chinese state-owned firms.

In financially risky countries, China now demands majority ownership up front. For example, China clinched a deal with Nepal this month to build another largely Chinese-owned dam there, with its state-run China Three Gorges Corporation taking a 75% stake.”

Another crucial issue that may affect national security matters that we already entered into with China, is our electric power grid. Unfortunately, it is not national as the name of the office implies National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and disguised as not wholly owned by the Philippines but partly owned by the state grid of China.

And still many more agreements with China already in the pipeline as what President Rodrigo Duterte proudly told the Filipino nation. And these are not for free, that is what China termed as soft loan, which they are using soft power to entice nations.

And lastly, why is the biggest (so far) rehabilitation center in the world for drug users is located inside a military camp that is financed and built by China's "philanthropist". Did we make a due diligence about Rulin who was rumored to be an underworld character in Binondo during the time of Marcos who hastily left for China according to CANU (PC-INP Constabulary Anti-Narcotic Unit of the late Gen. Bienvenido Felix) retired operatives?

Here is what Brahma Chellaney’s warning “by integrating its foreign, economic, and security policies, China is advancing its goal of fashioning a hegemonic sphere of trade, communication, transportation, and security links. If states are saddled with onerous levels of debt as a result, their financial woes only aid China’s neocolonial designs. Countries that are not yet ensnared in China’s debt trap should take note—and take whatever steps they can to avoid it.”

I hope that our economic managers who went to China recently were not caught in the trap.

Just asking...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Word War No More? By Erick San Juan

Word War No More? By Erick San Juan

Beijing on Friday—the 13th no less—threatened the United States with “large-scale war.”
“Prepare for a military clash” said the Global Times in an editorial.

Beijing was hitting back hard against remarks made by Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of State, in his confirmation hearing. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday (January 11).

The nominee also said China’s militarizing the islands is “akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea.”

Observers gasped at Tillerson’s words, which signaled a radical change in American policy toward China. Yet his general approach toward Beijing, despite all the criticism he has attracted in the last few days, is the correct one for these times.” (Source: The Daily Beast, Gordon G. Chang 1.16.2017)

Is it really the right approach towards China’s claim in the South China Sea, confrontational rather than diplomacy?

Analysts said Tillerson's testimony, combined with his future boss's earlier pronouncements, signaled that a Trump administration is poised to take a much tougher stance on China.

Since winning the election, Trump has lashed out at China on Twitter, made clear he's serious about wringing a new trade deal from Beijing and upended US policy toward Taiwan -- an issue of deep sensitivity for China.
"All the quotes taken together do signal that, like Trump and some of his advisers, are poised to take much firmer stance on China in the South China Sea and across the board," said Ashley Townshend, a research fellow, at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
But Townshend doubted whether Tillerson would really follow through on some of the specifics of his testimony.
"The US cannot block China's access to the islands without causing a confrontation, probably a military confrontation, and it would be illegal for the US to block access to the vast majority of those islands and reefs," he said. (Source: Tillerson sets stage for showdown with Beijing over South China Sea by Katie Hunt, CNN, 1.13.17)

Most likely a regional conflict will erupt once US under Trump regime will implement such blockade to stop China’s access to the reclaimed islands in the SCS. And what will be the stand of our country if ever a confrontation will occur?
RP must avoid the prospect of entanglement. A sound advice from businessman Manny Lopez in his analysis - A geopolitical scenario wherein an ultimatum from the US and its allies to stop the development and militarization of artificial islands in SCS being rejected by China is highly probable. Initially, a limited Air-Sea battle between the dominant and rising power to test their resolve will happen either by accident or localized decision, unless reason and skillful diplomacy prevails pre-emptively. The Republic of the Philippines must avoid entanglements in the superpower conflict by intelligently pursuing an independent and neutral foreign policy. We must not allow our shores to become the staging ground of the war effort by either side. However, we must continue to positively engage both superpowers and offer win-win solutions to help resolve the upcoming conflict and save ourselves.
China's expected refusal to dismantle its air-defense and anti-ship missile systems deployed in the 7 artificial islands in SCS could be a compelling reason for the US Navy to attack using submarine-launched Harpoons and ship-borne Tomahawk cruise missiles to eliminate the said installations from a safe distance. Freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is perceived to be crucial to ensure unhampered trade in the busy shipping route, where more than US$ 5-Trillion worth of goods transits each year. At least a couple of US carrier battle groups supported by Japanese, Australian and South Korean navies will likely be deployed in the area to effect control of the sea lanes. How the Russian and Indian Navies will play their role in the inevitable conflict is yet to be determined.”
As an observer of events as they unfold, we have been writing (and speaking in our daily radio broadcast) that we must not allow the use of our territories as the battleground for another conflict in the region and much more – not to drag our country and people to an unnecessary war in the process.
With the new leadership in the US, we are in for some surprising times. Finally, the administration that will threaten the “great wall of sand” in the SCS and might give Xi some second thoughts of changing his foreign policy was leaked by the Bloomberg News Tuesday January 24,2017 and published by Businessmirror.

"Confronted by the challenge of a Donald J. Trump led White House, China is signaling it's ready to work with the new administration and has already taken a handful of policy steps that may help fend off criticism over access to its markets."

But it's not all olive branch, Xinhua news article congratulating Trump also laid out the areas China regards as off limits. It said, "China's resolve to safeguard it's defining interests in Taiwan and the South China Sea islands has always been strong."

Xi allegedly has a strong domestic imperative not to appear weak before a twice a decade Communist party congress when several top leaders are due to be replaced except himself?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Manna from Heaven by Erick San Juan

Manna from Heaven by Erick San Juan

The following are the words of President Rodrigo Duterte before a gathering of envoys at the New Year Vin D’Honneur at MalacaƱang.

“In a world that recognizes our interconnectedness and respect each others’ sovereign independence, the horizons and frontiers of cooperation are virtually limitless. Friendship, after all, knows no bound.”

“We value partners as we seek to strengthen existing friendships even as we pursue new ones.”

“We believe that friends help each other and utilize constructive engagement to achieve common goals. In truth, we all share the same aspiration of greater peace, progress, and prosperity.”

I’m sure that with these statements of our president, a lot of people will agree and not only the Filipinos but most especially the world leaders because interdependence among nations is beyond political-economy but mutual respect in each others sovereignty as individual nation-states.

With this outlook from President Duterte, in relation to the community of nations, he is on the right track and this shows when Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in the country recently and pledged “Official Development Assistance and private sector investments which, together, will be in the order of one trillion yen ($8.7 billion) over the next five years."

The partnership for development among Asian neighbors is a healthy way of resolving issues and with PM Abe and their grant assistance to combat terrorism and piracy by a grant of $5.2 million for Philippine coast guard speedboats and anti-terrorism equipment.

It is just like a very timely 'manna' from heaven. Especially now that the Duterte administration is fighting several fronts, both domestic and international, with the plunging peso, needed foreign loans to sustain the government operation. War on drugs which invite the fear of the unknown why many believe is the reason why Pres. Digong has been talking about Martial law which several surveys say will not be accepted by the people and by congress. Rumor mill is talking about a revolutionary government but where is PRRD's forces will come from?

Japan already contributes heavily to the largely impoverished Philippines through the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, which has lent the Philippines an average $745 million per year since 2006 for poverty reduction.

With the Duterte administration, the country is hoping that the funds will go to the intended projects sans corruption.

Like the Philippines, Japan also has territorial issues with China in the East China Sea but Abe, however, said "the issue of the South China Sea is linked directly to regional peace and stability and is a concern to the entire international community."

His two-day visit to Manila aims to further solidify relations with the Philippines at a time when Duterte is cozying up to China and Russia while taking a hostile stance toward Tokyo's main ally, the United States. Japan is among the top trading partners of the Philippines and one of its largest aid providers. Thanks God for the blessings coming from Japan.

With Japan Prime Minister's support to Duterte’s leadership, many hopes that this will avert a programmed bloody civil war or Xi Jinping's China 'dream' to annex Taiwan and the Philippines in the process.

The mere fact that a survey of 1,200 adult respondents nationwide between December 6 to 11 (had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent) found 76 percent of adult Filipinos trust the U.S. while 70 percent expressed trust for Japan. Sixty-one percent said they lacked trust in China and 58 percent distrust Russia.

Even if we don’t rely much on surveys and always take it with a grain of salt so to speak, in this crucial time Pres. Duterte only needs to unite the nation and have peace and prosperity as his living legacy. We have to support his righteous advocacy. No need for a China or communist inspired revolutionary government which is a prescription for MAD - a mutually assured destruction.

Let us keep on
God bless the Philippines!

(Note: Sources from various news network online.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Prepare for the Worst by Erick San Juan

Prepare for the Worst by Erick San Juan

Predictions for 2017 – Year of the Fire Rooster,  don’t bode well for China. Although the Fire Rooster is the sign of dawn and awakening, it is said, “The union of the Fire elements with the Rooster’s Metal during 2017 will create great tensions, this will create an electric atmosphere that will intensify the actions of the leaders of several nations and in the economies that will generate even more deterioration in the political climate. Further migration is thought to be caused by strong wars and climate change. It is predicted that some governments will take a tough line of mandate, there will be a lot of authoritarianism and there will be many threats of various kinds that could be the cause of more clashes between nations.” (Source: China’s colonization of the Philippines by Perry Diaz)

Is this the reason why 2017 could be the year of the next global war based on the Chinese calendar and most probably Pres. Xi Jinping of China will start it? What could be the driving force that might start another war? Just asking.

In my past article where I tackled the Chinese Dream that will be the force to push Xi to make China great again, here is what Perry Diaz said in his article – “When Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, he immediately pursued his “Chinese Dream,” which is the revival of imperial China that had maintained Chinese hegemony in Asia during the reign of the Ming Dynasty. “The great revival of the Chinese nation is the greatest Chinese Dream,” Xi said before taking office. 

Two years later, China started building seven artificial islands on top of reefs and shoals in the Spratly archipelago. Upon completion, the Chinese built airfields that could accommodate large aircraft and deep harbors where Chinese warships could dock.

With the militarization of these islands, which are less than 200 miles away from the province of Palawan, Chinese forces are now at the doorsteps of the Philippines ready to strike when the time is ripe.”

Unfortunately this year might be ripe enough to annex the Philippines and Taiwan. Strategic analysts believe that China needs an external war to unite the Chinese people as Xi tries desperately to stay in power while the unhappy members of the Chinese Politburo tries to replace him.

"The weakening of China’s economy and its increasing belligerence are occurring in tandem, and the progression from one to the other appears to be related. For one thing, a deteriorating economy will undermine Xi Jinping’s bold efforts to consolidate power, and the resulting disunity will surely make China’s external posture unpredictable.

The country could turn inward, but lashing out looks more probable, especially if Chinese leaders think the decline in the economy will close a window of opportunity to achieve historic goals, like enlargement of Chinese control over neighboring lands and peripheral seas.

China’s economy is moving in wrong directions. In many ways, the rest of the world is bound to suffer as a result." (Source: Is China's Economy Past the Point of No Return? By Gordon G. Chang)

We should be wary and help the Duterte administration realize that getting too close to China is not a good idea and will only put us all in danger of a possible annexation of China. Pres. Duterte seems gypped to believe that the biggest threat to his post is his Vice president Leni Robredo and the 'yellows'. He has to review the movie, "Star Wars3", to realize his predicament. Plus Bongbong Marcos is itching to replace VP Leni, prelude in getting Malacanang  as leverage to global bankers and other country claimants to their not so hidden loot kept at British Virgin Islands as exposed by Panama Papers.

And as what I have been warning of the presence of sleepers here, Perry writes “according to a reliable source in Manila, most of the Chinoys (short for Chinese-Filipinos) are patriotic and loyal to the Philippine flag. However, some of them are believed to be pro-China “sleepers” ready to act when called upon by their PLA handlers.  Some of them are sons of rich ethnic Taipans who sent them to China to study. Allegedly, some of them took PLA officer’s training.  It is also alleged that units of the PLA have already infiltrated the country posing as investors, casino operators and worst Chinese Triad underworld boss.

It is interesting to note that prior to the outbreak of World War II, thousands of Japanese nationals were working in the Philippines. Many of them were sleepers and once war broke out, they put on their military uniforms and joined the invading Japanese forces.

Meanwhile, the anti-communist forces in the Philippines have organized themselves as the “Save Our Soldier” Movement. Interestingly, the acronym for “Save Our Soldier” is SOS, which is the international code signal of extreme distress and an urgent appeal for help. The question is: Is the SOS Movement poised and ready to act if Duterte forms a pro-communist revolutionary government? One can only surmise that the probability increased due to recent confluence of events.”

A very dangerous and frightening scenario that we hope will not happen. God help us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Chess Game by Erick San Juan

Both leaders are polar opposites – a mensch in Moscow on the right side of history compared to a US menace in Washington waging war on humanity. [Mensch means a person of dignity and honor. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch ]

A paragraph taken from the article of Stephen Lendman referring to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US outgoing president Barack Obama on the recent sanctions granted to Russian diplomats in the US by Obama for the alleged cyber attacks on the recent US elections.

What Is The Obama Regime Up To? A title/question of Paul Craig Roberts’ article which he writes “Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”

The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”

The 'paper' does not provide any evidence that the tools and infrastructure were used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. It is simply a description of what is said to be Russian capabilities.

Moreover, the said information begins with this statement: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

In other words, the report not only provides no evidence of the use of the Russian tools and infrastructure in order to influence the US presidential election, the report will not even warrant the correctness of its description of Russian capabilities.

Thus the DHS report makes it completely clear that the Obama regime has no evidential basis for its allegations on the basis of which it has imposed more sanctions on Russia.

A top adviser to Pres.-elect Donald Trump, former CIA director James Woolsey and now an adviser of Trump on national security issues told CNN's Jim Sciutto that determining who was behind the hacks is difficult but he believes the Russian and possibly others were involved.(www.cnn.com)

What is going on here?

First there is the question of the legality of the sanctions even if there were evidence. I am not certain, but I think that sanctions require the action of a body, such as the UN Security Council, and cannot legally be imposed unilaterally by one country.

Additionally, it is unclear why Obama is calling the expulsion of Russian diplomats “sanctions.” No other country has to do likewise. During the Cold War when diplomats were expelled for spying, it was not called “sanctions.” Sanctions imply more than unilateral or bilateral expulsions of diplomats.

Second, it is clear that Obama, the US intelligence agencies and the New York Times are fully aware that the allegation is false. It is also clear that if the Intel agency actually believes the allegation, the intelligence agency is perceived as incompetent and cannot be believed on any subject.

Third, President Trump can rescind the sanctions in 21 days, a third reason that the sanctions are ridiculous.

So why are President Obama, the 'Agency' and the New York Times making charges that they know are false and for which they have not produced a shred of evidence? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/opinion/president-obama-punishes-russia-at-last.html?_r=1

One obvious answer is that the neoconized Obama regime is desperate to ruin US-Russian relations past the point that Trump can repair them. As the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Obama’s actions clearly create a problem for Mr. Trump.” The question the New York Times says, is whether Trump “stands with his democratic allies on Capitol Hill or his authoritarian friend in the Kremlin.”

Although the exiting Obama has given the said sanctions, Russia did not retaliate – verbally.

“In response to Obama’s new sanctions, a same day article quoted Sergey Lavrov, saying Russia “cannot leave unanswered insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations.”

He recommended Putin respond tit for tat while blasting Obama’s deplorable action. It seemed certain, but didn’t happen. Putin took the high ground, in stark contrast to his disgraceful US counterpart, issuing a statement, saying:

“We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship.”

“This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.”

“As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.”

Actually according to Joe Uchill of thehill.com, Russian Central Bank was hacked last December for $31 million. The Russian FSB and SVR RF, the external intelligence agencies could make the blame game and say it was the American hackers and there's a plan to destabilize Russian financial system.

But Putin resisted to react that way and said-

“The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats.”

“We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.”

“Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.” [The Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for religious holidays, which puts Christmas on January 7.]

“It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”

“My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.”

“I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.”

For the final comment – “Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained that Obama’s expulsion order disrupts the lives of 96 Russian nationals – 35 diplomats and family members.

Some targeted diplomats only arrived in America two months ago. “It is not clear how they could have participated in (alleged) activities that, according to the secret services, took place in the spring of 2016,” Zakharova explained.

The left US January 1, Obama’s happy new year greeting.

There might be more to Obama’s provocation than meets the eye. (Source: Putin’s Response to Obama’s New Sanctions by Stephen Lendman, 12/30/16)

Will the Russia-US relations continue to be in such state of harsh diplomacy under the Trump administration?  Who will control the next administration’s foreign policy? The CFR, the neocons or the hidden hands of the globalists in order to start the programmed crisis and begin another global war?

Lets be vigilant!