Military hardware – not digital whining – makes it right

One degeneration after another. The emo-style with which Filipinos think they could initiate reform — Edsa “revolutions”, “unity” walks, “interfaith” rallies, and then online “petitions” and now blog “action” days, Twitter barrages, and Facebook “meme” spreading — yields flaccid one-time results at best. Perhaps there were small wins (Heritage of Smallness, remember?) — a missing person found here, a perceived abuse of a child made into a Media circus there, etcetera, etcetera.

The amount of time spent on social media “activism” is astounding. Mainstream media keep drumming up how big a “part” social media has played in moving, domestic, and global politics — perhaps because some of these “commentators” may be in the payroll of publicists and roadshow artists out to talk up the value of these social media platforms many of whose owners ultimately aim to line their pockets with IPO paper wealth.

But then “starry eyed” is what it seems best describes such hubris as none of this “change” actually seeps into the very fabric of real governments, real institutions, and real processes and frameworks that impact real lives.

The rise of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is a case in point. He is the posterboy of social media “activism.” Indeed, he is a creation of social media “activism.”

Aquino is a product of popularity politics — the idea that something’s popularity earns that something political clout. The Second Aquino Administration pretty much invalidated the notion that popularity makes something right. It continues to invalidate that notion today and will continue to invalidate that notion over the remaining five years of its term.

The trouble with popularity and the semblance of power that social media gives it is that it lacks structure.

Throw a pound of sand at your enemy and you get mere annoyance. You might even get a punch in your face for your trouble. But fire an eight-gram lead slug at him and you get a permanent solution to your insecurity. To wield power, structure, purpose, and tangible solid mass — hardware — rolled up into momentum trumps everything else.

Lately, I see a lot of whining and digital posturing about China’s “incursion” into our “sovereign” territory. The most promising overpopulated state in the world is testing the limits of a most un-promising over-populated state in the region that counts as its “arsenal” token support from the United States and legal ascendancy by virtue of “International Law”. But, see, China is a totalitarian state. Its government is largely unmoved by any sort of popular notion of what is “right.” Indeed, it’s got the depth of civilisation and weight of history to unilaterally define what is “right.”

But that is not even the point. The point lies in the irony of how the most powerful ally we rely on — the United States — itself does not honour “International Law” …

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a violation of international law, an independent inquiry in the Netherlands has found.

In a damning series of findings on the decision of the Dutch government to support Tony Blair and George Bush in the strategy of regime change in Iraq, the inquiry found the action had “no basis in international law”.

The 551-page report, published today [12 Jan 2010] and chaired by former Dutch supreme court judge Willibrord Davids, said UN resolutions in the 1990s prior to the outbreak of war gave no authority to the invasion. “The Dutch government lent its political support to a war whose purpose was not consistent with Dutch government policy. The military action had no sound mandate in international law,” it said.

Indeed, in the same way China seems to be doing today in the midst of the Spratly Islands row, the United States deferred to its unilateral interpretation of what is moral as it ramped up its expedition into Iraq back in 2003…

International lawyers and anti-war campaigners reacted with astonishment yesterday after the influential Pentagon hawk Richard Perle conceded that the invasion of Iraq had been illegal. In a startling break with the official White House and Downing Street lines, Mr Perle told an audience in London: “I think in this case international law stood in the way of doing the right thing.”

[…] Mr Perle, a key member of the defence policy board, which advises the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said that “international law … would have required us to leave Saddam Hussein alone”, and this would have been morally unacceptable.

Morally acceptable. Right.

When the Law “fails”, there is always one’s personal notion of what is “morally right” to defer to.

This, in fact, is a philosophy that has been shared by many sociopaths — from kings and presidents to mass muderers and child molesters — throughout history.

So do we really think we the Philippine Nation can hang on to the Spratly Islands forever without wielding even the smallest sliver of military heft? This is, after all, a speckle of islands sitting on what could be a bonanza of vast mineral and energy wealth. So think again.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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14 Comments on "Military hardware – not digital whining – makes it right"

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Joe America
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“The rise of Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is a case in point. He is the posterboy of social media “activism.” ” Nice perspective. As for the US operating in the mode of sociopath, that is rather the way of power, isn’t it? The intoxication. Rather the way most Filipinos act, if they have an edge over someone else. Morality is what you define it to be, and stealing the public’s money or icing a pesky journalist can be righteous. By the way, if you were Obama, what would you have done regarding Libya and NATO’s “protect civilians” mission?… Read more »
Trosp
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Joe,

What would US gain in attacking Libya? (I hope he was not playing golf when he ordered the attack. From what I read, he was out of the country when he ordered the attack.)

Protect civilian mission?

Why not Yemen? Or even Syria? Just for humanitarian purpose.

If I’m Obama, I’ll not meddle with other countries’ affair. Just like he was not interfering with North Korea, Yemen, and Syria.

The real reason on what he call “kinetic military action” (his term for terrorism is man-caused disaster) on Libya is OIL and not innocent lives protection.

More on that at http://tinyurl.com/6by4kcb

Joe America
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Trosp, good points, for sure. My view, Libya is run by a madman, Syria by an educated man who is not living up to his promises, and there is a nagging sense that Assad might “come around” without military confrontation. As the events unfold and that becomes questionable, then pressure will likely be increased, with military action not off the table. It is always easier after the event to criticize, and not easy beforehand to know outcomes. Before the Libya NATO actions, people saw a madman shooting artillery at his own citizens, not a ruthless but sane man intent upon… Read more »
Trosp
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Joe,

According to history, initially, US did not involved itself directly at the start of the Hitler’s war. It only supported it Europeans allies with logistics.

Joe America
Guest

Trosp, that is not my point. You object to military engagement in Libya and Syria, and I’m wondering what YOUR personal standards are, humanity vs respect for national borders. Hitler is similar to Libya where a man considered by many to be mad is intent upon murdering civilians. I’m wondering what would cause you to decide “hands on”. Nothing? Not even the gassing of 6 million people?

Trosp
Guest
Joe, My standard, if the reason for attacking Libya for humanitarian reason, then it follows that they should prioritize Yemen, Syria, and North Korea first The civilian casualties in Libya are collateral damages between Qadaffi and the Muslim Brotherhood mobs + Al Qaeda terrorist. Uso rin doon ang uziseros. So to whom would US sided? Either way, they lose. Don’t compare this with Hitler’s war. You are comparing them as an apple to apple one. Look at Egypt now. Obama sided with the Muslim Brotherhood. After the ruling regime was deposed, chaos everywhere from which the casualties are the innocent… Read more »
Joe America
Guest
Trosp, I agree with half your comments, I suppose. In an ideal world, yes, order Yemen first. The practicality is that the legal basis for action has to be from the UN Security Council, and whereas Libya was squeezed past Russia anad China, they have already said “no way” to military action in Syria. And Obama did not support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He supported the principle of democracy. The interesting thing to me is that, in supporting the principle that democracy as the most humane form of government, the US does indeed go against its own well-being in… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
Joe, As you have commented: “I have a sense that you don’t wholly buy into the “good” US, only the bad. It is some of both in different places in different times, but the anchor is goodness.” I’m not an American but I’m a conservative leaning Filipino and I support the US conservatives including the Tea Party. The liberals? Of course- Liberals are stalwart defenders of civil liberties – provided we’re only talking about criminals. – Ann Coulter And as for Obama (I can only surmise he’s your role model for a president as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez for Joma Sison… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest
I don’t believe; it is even worth a drop of blood, for a Filipino soldier; or for the torment of a grieving family, who will lost a father or a son, in case it will start into a shooting war. Any conflict, can be solve by talking to your adversaries; not shooting at them… Military Power is still the rule for SuperPowers, to project their influences to nations. We have not yet trancended thru our animalistic nature to use our might…Laws are there, but the powerful nations, will ignore them; when their national interests, like sources of fossil fuels are… Read more »
Joe America
Guest

Nicely idealistic. The problem is that China is not so serenely pacific. Her international policy is best described as global grabbing; sweet, considerate diplomacy does not exactly accompany her actions, and your wanting a nicer approach will not make it so.

Hyden Toro
Guest
If idealism is synonymous to telling the Truth…I admit I’m an idealist… America needs fossil fuels (oil), in order for its economy to survive. It’s industries; ways of living…are dependent on oil…most of the large refineries are American owned…British Pretroleum is British owned…Shell is owned by the Dutch…Russia has large refineries also…now, China and India are getting a large share of the consumption. So, the Energy issue is a very volatile and complicated issue. It can trigger wars…it can bring down our civilization. Those who owned the oil companies are profiting enormously. Other sources of energy are available; but the… Read more »
Joe America
Guest

Idealism is sometimes a case of denying the truth, that “evil forces” will not do what your good heart wishes.

Trosp
Guest
Was there a violation of international law when the American led coalition invaded Iraq? You have used this argument: “The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a violation of international law, an independent inquiry in the Netherlands has found. In a damning series of findings on the decision of the Dutch government to support Tony Blair and George Bush in the strategy of regime change in Iraq, the inquiry found the action had “no basis in international law”. The 551-page report, published today [12 Jan 2010] and chaired by former Dutch supreme court judge Willibrord Davids, said UN resolutions in… Read more »
Joe America
Guest

Trosp, nice argument. I personally think the law was trampled on out of emotional frustration and a desire to punish people, even if the wrong people, for the deaths of so many innocent Americans. 9/11 caused George Bush, a man of limited intellectual reach, to listen to the counsel of his warmonger VP and Secretary of Defense, who sought to remake the Middle East in a democratic mode. A good many Americans would agree with you, I suspect.

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