Monday, December 21, 2015

Not knowing history

Not knowing history

President Aquino’s latest barb against China amounted to nothing less but  an exhibition of political idiocy,  eliciting instead laughter from the international community.  It was a statement made an unabashed  stooge wanting to show gratitude by comparing China to Nazi-Germany.  As usual, he exploited the old sentiment that kept many of us encapsulated in blind loyalty forgetting that the US systematically butchered a million of our countrymen to colonize and pacify us at  the turn of the century.

Many could sense the statement was  synchronized to coincide with that statement made by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Davos, Switzerland.  Those who know their history could only shake their heads seeing him sound more like a brainless moppet than one they expect to provide an objective guidance of our past.  Others, say, it would have been better for him  to recall  instead the role of his grandfather Benigno Aquino, Sr. who sided  with the staunch ally of the Nazis in Asia while his countrymen  were fighting for their survival.

Filipinos have least interest in Hitler’s annexation of the Sudetenland  which PNoy wrongly pointed as the one that ignited World War II.  Maybe it was too tedious for him to analyze how our country was dragged into war  with the Japanese Imperial Army stomping their boots on us.  Had  PNoy realized the role played by his grandfather who served as  Vice President of the Japanese-created puppet government and the director-general of the only political party allowed by the conquering army to operate,  known as Kalipunan ng Bagong Pilipino (KALIBAPI), he would not have recklessly opened his mouth to compare China with Nazi Germany. 
Perhaps, PNoy is thinking of history as fiction where he can freely  interpret his version  to suit his xenophobic attitude.  But there is no historical record of China having committed aggression against any country even in our modern-day history.   History is about the past, and only in knowing the past could we logically predict how China would react to the circumstance of events.  PNoy’s cry for  the international community to rally behind the Philippines to help it check China’s increasing assertion of sovereignty over China Sea   was a statement borne out of sheer ignorance.
Surely, veteran diplomats know that what he said was a re-branding of the US policy stamped by him as our own interest.  But our neighbors have their reason not to easily forget the brutal experience of their people during the Japanese occupation.  It is with their bitter recollection of the past with Japan why they could not be persuaded to join PNoy’s “Pied Piping” march to contain  China with Japan playing second fiddle. This also explains why the Washington-drafted Code of Conduct for Navigation in the China Sea has received lukewarm reception among the Asean member-countries.  
Even the so-called peace facilitator in our recently concluded Peace Agreement with the secessionist MILF is cautious to segregate her claim from us, fearing it would bring into the equation  the interest of the US.   Besides, Malaysia could well surmise it has more to lose in allowing themselves to be herded by the US into containing China.  This explains why PNoy is looked down as a miserable clown in wanting us to fight to get those islands at the behest of the US but would not mind giving up Sabah  despite the historic and legal basis of our claim.  
The same can be said of Vietnam.  While that country’s dispute with China has already spelled into an actual bloody confrontation, Vietnam would not recklessly realign her claim to suit that of the US.  They would  technically acquiesce  to the conversion of China Sea into an American lake.  It would also erase  their people’s heroic  struggle against US imperialism where  more than 5 million of their people were killed as a direct result of US aggression, which to this day, have not been paid a centavo of reparations nor received an official apology for the atrocities committed unto them.
For the Philippines  to play a crucial role  in implementing the US policy of  “Pivot Asia”  for the renewed containment of China is to run against the current of history.  As one quipped, when PNoy said that “might cannot make things right”, he was referring to his handler that has a long list of aggression and atrocities that continues to the present.  Invariably, he threw away our opportunity to reach an accord with China for a joint venture to explore and exploit the mineral resources in the China Sea, while in the meantime setting aside the issue of sovereignty over those islets.  We refuse the bilateral approach because we fear that could exclude the US.  
To be sure, China’s  emergence as an  economic power is not a contest with the US, but an orbital shift in the history of civilization.  Political pundits, including Martin Jacques, are unanimous in predicting that the rise of China is inevitable.  Unfortunately, the economic decline of the US has heightened insecurity in the race to wrest control of the sea lanes in China Sea, and eventually an alibi for the US not to pay its huge $1.3-trillion debt to China. 
China has achieved unprecedented economic transformation in such a short span of time without resorting to war.   Having realized that, it would be foolhardy now for China to go to war and destroy what it has achieved.  Because of its long history of civilization, it has the moral ascendancy to lead Asia to follow the same peaceful path  to prosperity and progress. That leadership is not patterned after that Japanese militarist slogan of a  “Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere,” but one of coordinated interaction and cooperation among independent states. 
Many of the states in Southeast Asia, including the Sultan of Sulu,  traded with China as independent kingdoms during the pre-Spanish era.  Maybe they were called vassal states, but the practice of  tribute  was not obligatory.  It was a reciprocal practice to show sign of respect and hospitality.   As it continues to emerge as the power center in Asia, many states are  gravitating towards it, and all hoping to have a share of the  economic spin-off.  Sad to say, the Philippines counted  itself  out of the roadmap.

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