Duterte’s independent foreign policy is PRO-PEACE
Second Part of Duterte’s independent foreign policy is a pro-Philippine policy (https://www.manilatimes.net/2019/07/21/opinion/analysis/dutertes-independent-foreign-policy-is-a-pro-philippine-policy/)
“Without peace there can be no development”
As the Philippines aims to fast-track its development and reduce the poverty rate amid global uncertainties, intelligently expanding relations with traditional and non-traditional partners become key to help uplift the lives of our more than 100 million Filipinos.
The only wars that are unavoidable are those parties choose not to avoid. There are wars that are deliberately provoked — by fake news like the blowing of the USS Maine to start the Spanish-American war; the Mukden Incident by Japan in China; or the news of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that turned out to be non-existent, but not before it “resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East” (with over a million dead), as admitted years later by Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff of then Secretary Colin Powell who helped sell the “war of choice” to the public. There are wars started by passion like the religious wars or wars of tribal revenge. There are wars for independence, for resources like gold or oil, for access to routes, or for defensible borders.
Beyond the question of being justified or not, what have wars achieved?
Almost all wars end in the negotiation table, the results of most could be predicted by the analysis of a few factors like economics, technology and skill. Most paid a horrendous price and gained nothing. Many obtained their objectives for a few years and got their upstaging some years later. Some ended in the total conquest of a people or even destruction of a civilization.
World War 2 or the Vietnam war or Korean War brought people substantially back to where they started after the loss of millions of lives — a generation of bitterness and hatred. China gave up its territories in Macau and Hong Kong to the West, and waited 99 years to recover them and has robust trade with the West since. China has resolved 17 out of 23 territorial disputes already thru incremental negotiations and concessions over decades. Japan’s Abe has visited China and negotiated business and improved cooperations despite ongoing disputes. Vietnam has reunified and integrated, just as the US has successfully maintained the union of states. Meanwhile the wars in Iraq, Libya, and coups in other places, even where there was military victory, have yielded millions dead, thousands more dying each year, collapsed economies and terrorist extremism.
Countries that used to be enemies are also expanding their engagements with each other.
Japan and Vietnam receive millions of Chinese tourists each a year and are major trading partners with China and the US. North Korea and South Korea are approaching each other again. Mexico is a major trading partner of the US.
President Duterte’s reversal of the previous administration’s single-track China policy, which had even placed a moratorium on high-level discussions, led to expanded engagements in the economic, people-to-people, technology, education, etc. During the height of the ISIS-led insurgency in Marawi, Duterte was able to secure arms donations from China and Russia in record time after the US initially blocked (later released) the delivery of arms from the West to the Philippines. This was followed by China’s donation of heavy equipment worth millions of dollars and an additional $500-million soft loan to the recovery efforts of the war-torn city, helping us finish off an ISIS-led insurgency in less than 8 months, a record in the world against years of continued destructions in other parts of the world.
At the same time, we have not stopped relations with the US and even increased military exercises and cooperations, and there are robust incomes and growth by US companies here.
The greatest benefit here is not just the direct victory itself but the peace and unprecedented widespread development in the Philippines that followed that, while not yet perfected, has led to billions of dollars in productive infrastructure investments from both local and foreign sources that have given us the strongest growth in Asean, that otherwise would have turned into capital flight, increased poverty and burdens on all institutions.
“Sound economics leads to more development and results than politics” is the lesson that our neighbors have learned and we are experiencing.
Some commentators insist that the issue between the Philippines and China should not have to take third parties and geopolitics into the frame of analysis. This limited view cost the Philippines its independence. The Filipinos’ war was already won against Spanish rule except in name, but we got taken over by our supposed allies who prevented Aguinaldo from coming to the settlement with Spain… this cost an additional estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million Filipino deaths in the Philippine-American war (PH population then was about 10 million), which was unwinnable once the US, a world power, decided on taking over the Spanish empire. Half a century later, some form of independence was won without a war but by negotiations of various military, territorial, economic benefits to the US, and more independence obtained thru the years through peaceful developments. This is an example of winning by waiting and negotiating rather than by passionate declarations. (This love-hate relationship also made the Philippines the most devastated country in Asean in WW2, with an estimated 1 million casualties, more than 10 times than the next Asean country.)
We Filipinos should not follow this path of destruction and loss, just as we should not give up our claims…. Let us negotiate intelligently, working with mutual and sincere efforts from all sides for a better future for the greatest number. If done right, this would be a contribution of the Filipinos to world peace!
Part of Series:
Duterte’s independent foreign policy is a pro-Philippine policy
VFA termination is pro-Filipino
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**Also published in: https://www.manilatimes.net/2019/07/28/opinion/analysis/dutertes-independent-foreign-policy-is-pro-peace/591000/