Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Xi disarms the hordes at the gates

September 27, 2015
Xi disarms the hordes at the gates

One of the most significant historical events happening before the eyes of the 21st Century world, and riveting every political observer's attention, has been the Chinese leader President Xi Jinping's recent state visit to the U.S. The U.S. and its President Barack Obama fittingly hosted a spectacular welcome, complete with 21-gun salute. Everything about the visit was positive. The aggressive U.S. right wing, anti-China elements could not even stage any disruptive actions to mar the visit.

From the touchdown of President Xi in Seattle where he signed the immediate take-off of the world's unprecedented deal of 300 units of Boeing planes (of over 6,000 needed in the next two decades) to the various meetings of the two countries' major business leaders. President Xi arrived in Washington welcomed by President Obama and the speeches of the two presidents that vanquished all the fears the past few months from festering issues over alleged cyber-spying.

Sorry, Loida; Obama's got priorities.
Filipinos associated with the West Philippine Sea Coalition and a small group of Fil-Ams, identified with Loida Nicolas-Lewis and U.S. lawyer Rodel Rodis, want Filipinos in the Philippines to have the impression that the South China Sea issue is the top concern for Americans in relation to China. As the Xi-Obama talks went it is clear the U.S. have other higher priorities.

This is highlighted by the Reuters report of September 25, 2015 saying, "Speaking after White House talks during Xi's first U.S. state visit, Obama quickly homed in on the thorniest dispute between the world's two biggest economies--growing U.S. complaints about Chinese hacking of government and corporate databases, and the suspicion in Washington that Beijing is sometimes behind it."

The same report said, "Xi reiterated China's denial of any government role in the hacking of U.S. corporate secrets and said the best way to address the problem was through bilateral cooperation and not to 'politicize this issue'… China has routinely insisted that it too is a victim of cyber hacking… Analysts said the agreement was significant."

Edward Snowden on Obama's mind?
The British paper The Guardian reports Obama's words: "President Xi indicated to me that with 1.3 billion people he can't guarantee the behaviour of every single person on Chinese soil.  I understand that… What I can guarantee, though, and what I am hoping that President Xi will show me is that we are not sponsoring these activities and that … we take it seriously and will cooperate to enforce the law."

I note the word "we" Obama used which may be a polite editorial "they" or "he" or may also be a slip of the tongue in light of NSA (National Security Agency) whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revelations, as far back as 2013 while hiding in Hong Kong, that the US with its PRISM program has been massively cyber-spying on China for years.  However, it is clear that Obama is conciliatory in this regard.

Cool climate between Xi, Obama.
The two presidents reached a "common understanding" on steps to move toward greenhouse gas emission target limits set in previous agreements.  But President Xi had a new card from his sleeve: China would advance from its seven regional carbon cap-and-trade system to making the program "national" in 2017 covering the whole of China to put the lid on the country's emissions, building up from seven regional pilot markets that have already been established and operating in the past years.

Apparently after the years of experiments in the regional level China is confident enough today to establish more stringent carbon emission standards on its industries and on a national level - than even the U.S. does for its industries. However, based on the many expert evaluations of China proposed national cap-and-trade system insufficient details are available for a complete appreciation of the plan. One hope from a Third World perspective is that China's cap-and-trade will not export pollution to smaller countries. China is big enough to do the trading within its own vast borders.

Obama-Xi security trade-off.
The South China Sea issue did not figure as prominently in the Xi-Obama summit in Washington as anti-China rabble-rousers would have wanted. This should be obvious to all since the trade and Climate Change discussions overshadowed it.  Still, it is particularly important for Filipinos be informed of what was most likely the reason the issue was subdued. A credible reason for the downplaying of the SCS issues comes from a Western observer from Forbes magazine, Donald Kirk:

"President Obama and China's President Xi Jinping made an implicit trade-off … The U.S. side of the bargain, in language you won't see in any formal statement, goes like this: You keep North Korea from doing anything crazy, and we won't stop you from whatever you're doing in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.  The Chinese side of the bargain is just as basic: We'll do what we can to talk the North Koreans out of launching a long-range missile… and we won't build military bases in the Spratlys."

BS Aquino imperils R.P. interests
With their dashed hopes for highlighting the West Philippine Sea issue in the Xi-Obama summit, the failure of BS Aquino and his alter egos in Philippine foreign and defence policies have become obvious. They have seriously misread the economic and geopolitical realities of the times.  Since 2011 the BS Aquino government has opted for unquestioning obeisance to American initiatives to re-establish its preeminent power over Asia. China forcefully and skilfully drew its "red lines" forcing the stalemate today that will eventually be the status quo.

Failing to study the concrete, strategic economic-political and military situations of the major countries players involved, Aquino and his alter-egos in the Foreign Affairs and defence department signed on to the "Asia Pivot" of the U.S. to play the role of "agent provocateur". They started with the provocative act of sending in a war vessel, BRP Del Pilar, to arrest Chinese fishermen at the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 to incessant disinformation, such as Voltaire Gazmin's false "concrete blocks" in 2014 in the same area, and continuing agitation.

The EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) that BS Aquino signed in April 2014 with Obama  prompted China on August 2014 to start the massive and breakneck reclamation at the Johnson Reef and other areas.  Obviously, neither BS Aquino nor his foreign and defence secretaries have had an accurate reading of China's strategic mind when they signed the EDCA and opened all Philippine military bases to U.S. military use. R.P.'s interests were not served by any of these

China: winning without fighting.
The strategic decision-makers of China obviously know their Sun Tzu enough to be several steps ahead of the other players in the region.  They have learned Sun Tzu well to know that to "subdue the enemy without fighting" (or as some others quote, "win the war without fighting"), they stay ahead of any credible threat by demonstrating the will and capability to give unequivocal punishment to any aggressor while assuaging aggressive intentions with constructive engagement.

China's heightened firmness on the Nine-Dash Line when challenged, backed by military muscles exhibited in its 70th Year Victory Parade and construction of the South China Sea island facilities shows a tough China, but it is followed up by soft power. President Xi's U.S. visit shows its soft panda power - offering billions in trade with the U.S., and billions more in aid to the U.N. and debt relief to poor nations presented at the Sustainable Development Summit speech.

Stupid as Stupid does
The Philippines' Forrest Gump in MalacaƱang was simply being "Stupid is as Stupid does" when on September 22, 2015, as the local newspapers put it Aquino "poked fun at Beijing's South China Sea claims, (while praising) Japan."  This, after being chastised black-and-blue twice earlier this year for his "Nazi" comments against China and this, despite the "Palace hoping Xi will attend APEC Summit" just two months before the leaders' November gathering in Manila.

It is to the credit of President Xi that he has decided to attend the APEC summit, as Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Zhao Jianhua has hinted, according to the Philippine Star's September 27, 2015 report, which quoted him: "China will continue to support the Philippines for the smooth and successful hosting of the coming APEC meetings… China and the Philippines, he said, are not only neighbours, but are close relatives as well with their shared history … We should and we can be better friends and better partners…"

That is how a confident major world power should speak and relate with the World -- staying above the pettiness of antiquated Cold War geopolitics and "barbarian" past, with only a view for the betterment of humanity.  It's the way I would like to see any major power act and indicates that China is a power that we and the World can trust. ###

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"MERALCO/ERC: TRAYDOR!" Sticker template

Have this printed in a sticker paper, and you now have your own copy.
This image is free to distribute ANYWHERE.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Atty. Alan Paguia (1954-2015)

It is with great sadness that we announce Atty. Alan Paguia has passed away. His wake is at the St. Peter's Chapel in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City until tomorrow.

He was known as a strict constitutionalist, as well as becoming the counsel of Former President and now Manila Mayor "Erap" Joseph Ejercito Estrada during EDSA Dos. He will be missed.

He would have turned 61 this October 10, 2015.

- Admin