Monday, December 21, 2015

Our self-created crisis with China

Our self-created crisis with China

We are the only country that has loudly been expressing our apprehension that China would one day eject us from the Spratly islands.   We have been most vociferous in accusing China of expansionism while the rest of our Asean neighbors are having a hard time trying to decipher what we want to get in our antagonism of our giant neighbor.  The latest of our verbal tussle with China pertains to its reclamation in the Subi (Zamora) reef.  We reacted sharply by accusing China of “aggression.”  It was followed by the visit of AFP chief of staff, Gen. Gregorio Catapang, to show that we are deeply entrenched in the area, and are not alone.

But for all our saber rattling, the world is not taking us seriously. Instead of insisting that the Spratly islands be demilitarized, we announced plan to start our own reclamation for us to build a military base.  Our announcement instantly forfeited all of what we have been saying against China.
Of course, we are free to do what we want to do in the islands we presently occupy.  As some hysterical anti-Chinese would say, to build our own facilities is an exercise in sovereignty.  The question is this: What is our objective in having to build a military base in an uninhibited island?  Will it deter the Chinese from continuing their reclamation?  If such is the case, then for Christ’s sake, let’s do it!  If not, then why spend P800 million worth of military base that could otherwise be spent to stretch the life span of Filipinos whose principal mortality is due to hunger, malnutrition and diseases that are already non-existent in most countries.
We must bear in mind that the US’ “pivot to Asia” policy is not about protecting the interest of this country.  It is, first and foremost, a policy to secure their interest which it sees China as a rival to its hegemony in this part of the world.   Our role is to merely prop up an empire that is on the decline.   General Catapang, no less, admitted that we allowed the US to have eight military faculties under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement for which we are obligated to provide, often inside our camps with free water and electricity, and rent-free as they used to enjoy before their presence here expired in 1991.
Some die-hard pro-Americans argue that US presence would serve as a deterrent to China’s expansionist design.   They insist that the agreement we signed is similar to what they signed with Japan and Germany.  But why exact the same terms from a country that served as her most faithful ally during the Second World War and fought the enemy it now considers its partner?  Moreover, the agreement signed by Japan to allow the US to maintain military bases in its territory is one which it has no choice about.
The world is laughing because everybody knows that we fought side-by-side with the Americans in driving out the Japanese militarist during the war, and here we are providing facilities for their warriors that caused untold misery and sufferings to our people for a war they chose to fight in our territory.   The expanded military role of Japan has nothing to do in securing our interest or in protecting the islands we occupy, or in ensuring free navigation, but in the desire of the US to control the oil and other mineral resources that could be extracted in the China Sea.
In fact, as we pass through this crisis in warding off a Malaysian-sponsored secessionist rebellion, the US, to which many expect would come to our succor, has not offered us any assurance, like pacifying the MILF or issuing a statement  that it would stand by our side to preserve the territorial integrity of this country.  It has not even advised its local quislings to forgo the idea of supporting the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law not in deference that we are an ally, but on the prospect that it could ignite a bloody civil war not only between Christians and Muslims, but of a widened fratricidal war participated in by the traitorous elite taking their cue from the US.
The sad part is that Malaysia has not offered a military base despite the fact that it is also a claimant to the Spratly islands.  On the contrary, Secretary del Rosario was rebuffed by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak when he tried to discuss our seemingly US-made conflict with China.  It was embarrassing because nobody from among the Asean supported our position.  We have become a pariah among our Asean partners treating us like a leper that nobody, not even Vietnam, comes to our side to express concern.  Rather, they fear that heightening tension with China could do more harm to their economy.
Our plan to build a military base that would allow the US and Japanese navies to dock would be considered by China as a serious threat to its own security.  Allowing them to use the Kalayaan Islands as their military base could bring us closer to possible confrontation.  China may no longer accept our position as a claimant state, which at the moment is tolerated on the basis that the islands are a disputed territory, but as an aggressor for allowing our occupation over the islands to be substituted by the US and Japan navies.
Instead of seeking a moratorium to the construction of military bases in the area, we have chosen to follow what the Chinese are doing.   But will our decision to build our own military base alter the present military advantage of China to our favor?  China is just a stone’s throw away from the islands we occupy, and we have closed our options to peacefully negotiate our dispute in a “go for broke” fashion.    We pushed ourselves to the limits of wanting to be bullied by our continued arrogance.
It is this kind of political atmosphere that has justified the call by the local warmongers in collusion with the merchants of death of the need to buy those expensive but defective weapons from the US and Japan. Some believe that the US is not really contemplating in going to war with China over some uninhabited islands or would even go to war for the sake of the Philippines.  Rather, the heightened tension is a Washington-generated scheme to pressure us into procuring more arms.  The Asean countries got the cue, which is why none of them are in a hurry to rearm.  They know that the US faces a serious crisis of economic downtrend which they see as affecting its military power in Asia.

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