Duterte’s Foreign Policy Under Attack By Carpio, PH Drawn Into War?

WHY are Philippine holidays consistently those of defeats? Day of Valor or Bataan and Corregidor Day — who can question that we rightfully honor the grit and sacrifice, love of homeland freedoms shown on these occasions?

Yet Bataan includes the painful lessons of how not to conduct ourselves in conflicts. The heroism and sacrifices did not significantly change any of the outcomes of the war, even leading to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary casualties (less than 10,000 died in Thailand). Why?

The Japanese would clearly, predictably, overrun the Philippines, as MacArthur knew when he left early. The Americans would eventually win, as even the Japanese high command strategists knew, as their records showed, after calculations. The Americans had multiple higher capacities in building battleships, planes, equipment than the Japanese, the US mainland was never the serious subject of any attack plans.

The Japanese needed resources and wanted a colonial empire like the European and US masters of the world. Their sense of duty and honor led them to continue fighting an unwinnable war until faced with annihilation. The desire of Japanese to be at least the equals of the westerners was ahead of its time, when the ambition of many Filipinos and southeast Asians was to become the trusted servant.

The US had no choice but to liberate the Philippines and Asia or face a Japan that would grow into a possibly unstoppable power. If it were for the Filipinos, why did Roosevelt and the American congress immediately cancel within a few months after the war’s end the promised compensations to hundreds of thousands of Filipino guerillas?

The US has shown it will give you billions in weapons to die for them to the last man, as they are doing with Ukraine now, as they did in Afghanistan, but not to develop or compensate you.

Note that on April 9, 1942, Generals Douglas MacArthur and Jonathan Wainwright ordered the Filipinos and American defenders, battered, out of food and bullets and no chance of winning, to fight on! And die to no purpose? The more humane and practical commander of the Luzon Force, Major General Edward King Jr., surrendered more than 76,000 starving and disease-ridden soldiers. The hero we will remember is MacArthur. (How many Filipinos know of the Wha-Chi Chinese Filipinos fighters who went door to door to rescue Filipinos before the US carpet bombed Manila?)

Does this sound like Ukraine? Are we along this path to war and “heroism” again? Are there alternatives that still include honor?

Very dangerously, indicative of the direction we are headed in, is that retired justice Antonio Carpio has proposed that the Philippines allow the US and its allies to preposition weapons in the Philippines to “repel invasion” by China.

“In August 2019, then US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he wanted to deploy ground-launched, intermediate-range (620 to 3,420 miles) missiles in Asia relatively soon as a contingency to counter the China threat. These missiles can be used for both defensive and offensive purposes and would bring China’s mainland within range in the event of hostilities,” Mark Valencia, a geopolitical expert specialist on Philippine situation, wrote in Asia Times. “So far, the US has had no takers foolish enough to risk becoming a Chinese target in a war. But now retired Philippines Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio apparently advocates just that for the Philippines.”

Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez had announced recently that the Philippines will open facilities to the US if the Russia-Ukraine conflict “spills over” to Asia. Why, Babe, when we are too far away, are we about to become a threat to Russia? Or do you mean, or intend, we will be a threat to China?

The Philippines alone in Asean voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, even Singapore abstained. If the Philippines cared so much about human rights representation, why did it not move for the same vs the US, the UK and their allies’ invasions of dozens of countries that left millions dead?

It is well known RP votes with the US automatically, so there is a running joke in the UN that nations sponsoring resolutions on various issues need not bother talking to the Philippines — just monitor the US pronouncements!

Are there alternatives? We have true and growing models of courage and independence all around the world to follow.

Saudi and Qatar refuse to take the call of Biden. The whole Middle East, including Israel, refuses to follow the US line. Venezuela and Iran demand the lifting of sanctions. Vast majority of nations in the world refuse to join the sanctions, though many voted for censure. Japan will continue its oil venture with Russia —despite having a dispute with Russia! Filipinos should learn from constructive engagement amid conflict.

Hungary was censured for paying for Russia’s oil in rubles. In response Hungary Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó told the world their country needs the energy and reminded Ukraine that it has accepted 575 thousand refugees from Ukraine, “and if this is how the Ukrainians thank us, then you’re very welcome.” Reminding the world that “[t]he Hungarian people did not want this war; the Hungarian people want peace and security.” Despite the US campaign to discredit him, last week Prime Minister Viktor Orban won the election by an undisputed landslide two thirds majority.

India’s courageous Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week countered the US reps on TV that ” India is not a proxy,” and asked, “When did the US come to India’s aid when needed?” That Russia had proven a dependable friend. Despite disputes, he also met with Chinese counterpart to work toward resolving the Galwan area disputes. When pressured that India should not buy Russian oil, he stated that “India will do what is in the interest of the Indians,” and shot back at a public provocative interview question, that the US and the EU hypocrites had actually expanded purchases.

Can our ambassador and foreign secretary not just talk but work for our Filipino national interest? What happened to Sabah and Southwest Cay; why are past compensations for our veterans still not paid? Can we have inspection and control rights over our EDCA bases?

The US had apparently bought even more Russian oil in March than in February, and the EU hasn’t reduced its gas and energy purchases so far, buying to the tune of about $1 billion a day — all the while threatening countries like India not to buy! Most other countries continue to buy and consider it as an option.

Many are also now diversifying their foreign exchange currency reserves to other currencies and non-western banks, moving more out of US controlled institutions.

Will the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Finance also diversify? Will the Department of Foreign Affairs under Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Ambassador Babe, and some politicians, continue to follow whatever the US says, and not even raise a whisper on anything not aligned with US narratives? Political groups are also being recruited and organized by Carpio and former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario through presentation of just one side of information and blocking even evidenced counter information.

When will the Philippines stop the constant bowing to their colonial masters? Our Asian neighbors are breaking free of vassal mental limits, will Filipinos ever?

Related reads:

Biden wants coups, PH next in US wars after Ukraine?

Is Rappler inciting another Ukraine in the Philippines?

Ukraine Crisis: Impact on the Philippines

Dr. Mario Ferdinand Pasion is director of Phil-BRICS Strategic Studies and the chairman of Nationalist Filipinos Against Foreign Intervention.

Also published in Manila Times. We welcome logical feedback and possibly working together with compatible frameworks (idsicenter@gmail.com)

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