Lifestyle, Politics

Duterte: Fighting the Proxy War of US and China

A repost from  Jun Avelino, a B.S. International Relations graduate, for us to THINK about the saddest reality in our country today.duterte-us-war-games.jpg

When you are a Foreign Service graduate, you are trained how to be prim and proper. Heads of States and their ambassadors are expected to be the epitome of decency when they speak with their counterparts. My professor once said, “When a diplomat says yes, he means perhaps; When he says perhaps, he means no; When he says no, he is not a good diplomat.” Being confrontational and too direct is a taboo in the culture of diplomacy. In the halls of UN and on a country’s diplomatic corps, diplomats and heads of states shake hands, embrace each other like brothers and sisters and their rhetoric is full of decency. Yet, at the back of their minds, they plan how to back-stab each other. Beyond the smiles is a deceitful plan of outdoing each other. They kill by the thousands, annihilate a race and destroy countries. Look at what happened in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Crimea, Ukraine, and many other countries at war with each other, and the brutal way of how they handle migration of people in Europe. The halls of the UN have become the meeting place of the real murderers who kill with no mercy behind their cover – diplomacy. This smacks of hypocrisy at its highest level.

When I read our country’s traditional diplomats lecturing Duterte on the art of diplomacy, I puked. And when Filipinos called him out for his foul mouth (psychopath) and not being “prim and proper”, I puked hard. For if we are to believe the decency that we see in the world of diplomacy, then we are living in a perfect world – the utopia of the Marxist-Leninist ideologues. But no, the whole world is in chaos because diplomacy has become the repository of lies, deceit, betrayal and murderous plans and those people in black suit whom you called prim and proper, talking peace in the halls of UN have blood on their hands. They are to be held responsible for the thousand deaths in different countries of the world and for all the wars and global inhumane displacements because of their hypocrisy. Duterte’s foul mouth is espousing that filthy smell of diplomatic hypocrisy. While some idiots in our country consider him a source of national shame, the world is curiously watching him beyond his harsh rhetoric. When Duterte announced that he is pursuing an independent foreign policy for the Philippines, he is actually declaring war – the proxy war between US and China that is happening in our country.

How do superpowers fight each other nowadays? No, they don’t invade each other militarily. They bring their war somewhere else because they want to protect their own people. They bring their war to another land to save their own. It’s a proxy war which can take many forms. The war in Syria albeit started by ISIS, has now become the war between US and Russia and the two have just suspended diplomatic ties. The Yemen war is supposed to be an internal conflict, but US and Iran’s hands are all over the place. The Afghanistan war is a war between US and Iran with the backing of Russia. Crimea’s dissent was instigated by Russia before it declared independence and prior to annexation by Russia. And it’s all because Georgia is pro America. The war in Ukraine is a showdown between Russia and the West. The Iraq war is a pre-emptive measure to prevent terrorists from bringing again the war in the American soil, and many more.

Post 9/11 era, Russia, China and Iran are launching proxy wars with US in different countries of the world which prompted US to strengthen its alliance with these countries. In the case of the Philippines, Duterte is fighting against that proxy war. First, he is cutting loose the grip of the US over our socio political system. For nearly a century now, US tacit influence over our government has been prevalent. Almost all our Presidents are associated with the US post EDSA revolution. Cory stayed in Boston for the duration of Ninoy’s exile. Ramos was a Westpointer military man. Arroyo had studied in the US and is a very good friend of his classmate, Bill Clinton. All of them never attempted to chart a different direction of our foreign policy, thereby strengthening further American influence thereon. Aside from Erap whose presidency was abbreviated by Edsa Dos, we only have Duterte who hails from Davao and refused to be associated with the West. His revolting posture against the west as exemplified on his refusal to be confrontational with China threatens American interest in the Asia Pacific – an act favorable to China which is watching Duterte’s foreign policy direction. But US cannot afford to lose Philippines on its grip due to its strategic location in neutralizing China in flexing its muscles further. By all means, they will not allow China to get control over the South China Sea. Hence, the need to get Duterte out of the equation. Has one ever wondered why De Lima’s statements on EJK reverberates around the world? It’s because US supports it; UN seconds it; and Europe is happy about it. Hence, it becomes a global issue instead of being just a domestic one. They helped the anti Duterte forces in discrediting the President internationally with the hope of convincing majority of Filipinos to go against their President. Recent survey shows that 8 out of 10 pinoys support Duterte; Only one is not, while the other one is undecided.

Given that massive support, America is now shifting its war to a different mode – the Low Intensity Conflict. US has been notorious in using this approach in 3rd world countries, particularly those whose leadership they do not control, e.g., Guatemala, Hondura, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. It seeks to polarize the country by supporting its opposition in constantly hammering the government until its leaders are replaced. What is crucially disturbing is the penetration of this approach in our media which has become the mouthpiece of the West’s propaganda against our government. Hence, even if their numbers are small, the issues are magnified. Duterte knows that he is fighting from within a giant monster that controls almost all facets of our lives for nearly a century now. Our US colonial mentality is still very much in control of our system. Some Filipinos have chosen to continue licking that filthy ass of Uncle Sam to date. On another front, we are under attack by China on the west Philippine sea row. Moreover, the magnitude of its business and products in our country is its approach of gaining influence in the social fabric of our lives, competing with that of America. And yes, including illegal drugs that flood their way into our shores from China. Although there is no proof that the entry of illegal drugs is state-sanctioned, the writings are on the wall. For our country to become a narco state will work in favor of China as they can now dictate the country’s leadership through the use of drug money. When Duterte expressed his anti west sentiments, it does not mean he is for China. Duterte’s position of pushing for an independent foreign policy is the only way to preserve our country’s existence – not by siding to either of the bully countries.

The on-going polarization of our country due to controversies besetting the Duterte government is therefore the resultant effect of the proxy war between US and China. Filipinos should see this instead of falling into the trap by fighting with each other over his foul mouth while the real culprits are watching with amusement from afar. We may not agree with Duterte in many respects, and for sure, he respects our democratic rights to disagree with him. But we have to be with him in his fight against this creeping proxy war that is happening in our land and gradually destroying our country.”

This post is moved to https://leftfootforwardph.blogspot.com

 

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Politics

Understanding Duterte’s Position on South China Sea vs. The Interest of the West

This post is moved to https://leftfootforwardph.blogspot.com

Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte has caused a massive stir when he announced his bold path to pursue an independent foreign policy that will allow him to negotiate with China regarding the Philippine Sea dispute without any assistance from the western allies. In addition, Duterte wants to break away  from the US’ “carrot and stick” policy  toward the Philippines, causing anger and criticism from Filipinos and the international community alike.

However, the Philippine Sea and South China Sea area is actually more important to the US and Europe than to the Philippines. Lying in that vast body of water is an international waterway where US$5.3 Trillion  in global trade pass every year.

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Geography matters and China intends to have physical possession of the South China Sea. China has expanded or built up from the sea floor seven islets and reefs in the Spratlys, in addition to having occupied the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam, and seizing control of Scarborough Shoal, claimed by the Philippines. In 2012, China moved to greatly expand Sansha City in the Paracels in order to provide administrative control over its activities in the South China Sea, bolstering its claim that the islands are an integrated part of mainland China. Most importantly, these build-ups allow naval and air patrols, cementing an economic and administrative claim with military presence.

If China controls the whole stretch of the waterway, including overflight thereon, global trade to Europe and US will become more expensive. The adverse impact of it to the west will be very costly. This explains why US and Europe were supportive of the Philippines and they were all urging China to respect the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration favoring Philippines on our claim.

Perhaps the most concrete evidence of the U.S. intention to retain dominance in the Pacific is the initiative to position more equipment in Asia. Long used in Korea and Japan as a deterrent against North Korea, the U.S. Army “pre-positions” supplies and equipment in order to more quickly respond with deployments. It takes much longer to move brigades and divisions from the continental United States than to have people fall in on equipment only hundreds of miles, not thousands, from where it’s needed. Ostensibly limited to equipment that can be used in humanitarian relief missions, despite little Army involvement in Asian disasters, some plans have called for “heavy” brigades of equipment — tanks and artillery — to be pre-positioned also. These equipment sets are being considered for Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. Beyond reducing response times, this activity set will further cement security relationships.

New security agreements with Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam are meant to show the commitment of the United States to the region. All three countries have suffered from aggressive Chinese strategic maneuvering.

Duterte’s position on the issue however, is not subservient to the West. When he declared that he is pursuing an independent foreign policy, he is bent on negotiating with China directly instead of becoming confrontational as the West wants him to be. Duterte is aware that our court victory is an empty one for lack of enforcement mechanisms on the decision. Neither the US nor the west and even any of the UN instrumentality can help the Philippines enforce that decision. It solely relies on China’s recognition for which it has already repeatedly rejected.

If Philipines decide to confront China by force, which country will come to help us? The NATO military arsenal cannot be stretched to the South china sea because its forces are confined to Europe in an attempt to contain the Russian military flexing in Europe and mid-east. Germany will never come to aid the Philippines because of its trading relations with China. France will be a reluctant potential ally because of the external threats it has been facing. Great Britain will never send its military planes to the Philippines because it has been courting China for trading relations as an aftermath of the Brexit.

If the Philippine government use diplomacy, particularly by bringing the issue to the halls of the UN and asking the members to enjoin China into accepting the decision, we should take note of the fact that more than half of the countries in the UN are having trading relations with China for which they cannot afford to severe ties with, much less with ASEAN. What we see here is purely “politics among nations” at work and Philippines must be careful on its approach and for which Duterte has shown a great deal of expertise in terms of diplomatic maneuvering.

Given such scenario, we are left with US and Japan at our side to help us in our confrontation with China. However, America is heavily indebted to China and the level of its trading relations with China outweighs any possibility for any war between the two. But the more serious question which should bug us is this: Is US really a true ally in this conflict? When Duterte brought out the issue on Bud Dajo Massacre in 1906, he wanted the Filipinos to revisit our alliance with the US in the light of his intention to adopt an independent foreign policy.

During World War II in 1941, we fought side by side with America where we lost more than a million Filipino lives. It was never our war, yet we were invaded by Japan because America was with us. After the war, US government helped Japan in its reconstruction efforts financially and economically until it became the world’s second largest economy next to US until to date. What happened to the Philippines as an ally which gave up more than a million lives defending America? While a minuscule of assistance were given to us since World War II, these were handed out with strings attached and were designed to continue US interference in our internal affairs.

Image result for us assistance to philippines

Now, America and its allies in Europe want to use us again as a pawn to serve its economic and political interest in the South China Sea – to keep that international water way navigation-free. On the other hand, our main interest in the area is fishing right as well as exploiting the rich mineral resources underneath. From all indications, China is mainly interested in the control over that stretch of international waterway militarily as part of its hegemony over the region.

Duterte believes that by negotiating directly with China using the decision of the court as our leverage, we can get most of what we want. However, Duterte believes that we cannot successfully negotiate with China if we remain under the shadow of Uncle Sam. Hence, the need to project an independent image to convince China that we are negotiating with them in good faith sans any influence from the West. This left US and Europe in quandary on how to protect their interest over South China Sea with the revolting posture of Duterte. The only way is to get Duterte out and replace him with a pro west Philippine President.

This partly explains why the West is anti Duterte and all forces including traitors from our country are now in global conspiracy to get him out of the presidency by using all sorts of issues to discredit him, e.g. his foul mouth, extra judicial killings, hitler image, and many more to come. For all of us Filipinos, including Anti Duterte forces, the President has just expressed a long overdue rebuke on the US shabby treatment to our country as an ally in the Asia Pacific. He wants US and Europe to treat us well as co-equal. America owed our country big time based on historical accounts and Duterte wants US to realize that and pay our country even with interest. If US made Japan as the second largest economy in the world post world war II and after all the damage Japan has inflicted US and our land, why didn’t US help Philippines as much as Japan if our country is a true ally?

Filipinos should realize that there is more to the issues of extra judicial killing and the foul mouth of the President as systematically magnified by the West and their collaborators in our country, including both local and international media. We should “look at the forest, not just the trees”. The West wants Duterte out of the presidency for his anti-west sentiments and for his refusal to protect the interest of the west – that’s the crux of the matter and that’s what’s behind all these shenanigans. It’s a grand conspiracy to discredit him internationally because of the massive support he enjoys from our country’s masses. It’s a clear imperialistic design concocted by the West and swallowed hook line and sinker by political prostitutes and opportunists of this country to serve their selfish interests – a grave act of betrayal against the sovereignty of our country.

People should understand that the USA, much like many superpowers, act on self-interest and competition in market economy, and not on peace and morality. Besides, to these big fishes, chaos is profitable.

This article first appeared on facebook. 

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Travel and lifestyle

30 Signs You’ve Been Backpacking in Southeast Asia

This is reminiscent of my backpacker friends that I met in Cambodia (missing that Angkor beer), Thailand (yes, we partied like crazy hobos in Koh Phi Phi and yup we did the fire skip rope), Indonesia and Malaysia

Heels In My Backpack

  1. You have an arm full of Friendship Bracelets
    • At first it’s a backpacker cliché you want to tick off. Then it becomes an addiction. I don’t just want that purple turtle bracelet, I NEED it.

Friendship Bracelets So Many Friendship Bracelets…

 

  1. You own a vest depicting the Local Beer
    • Choose your tribe wisely. Are you Chang or are you Singha?

 

Angkor Beer Angkor is also an option…

  1. You are not at all apprehensive about street food
    • No germaphobes here. Pad Thai for under a pound? Yeah buddy.

 

Street Food, Bangkok Street Food, Bangkok

  1. You have developed the ability to sleep literally anywhere
    • The hours and hours of overnight buses, boats, trains, etc, mean you can catch some Z’s anywhere. A friend of mine even managed to sleep in a restaurant…

Asleep in a Restaurant, Thailand Asleep in a Restaurant, Thailand

 

  1. 7-11 is heaven
    • Everything you could ever want resides under that neon green light. Snacks, magazines, toiletries… If…

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