The Philippines needs some kryptonite to battle China over the Spratly Islands

Lex Luthor: Miss Teschmacher, when I was six years old my father said to me…

Miss Teschmacher: “Get out.”

Lex Luthor: Ha ha. Before that. He said, “Son, stocks may rise and fall, utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good, but they will always need land and they’ll pay through the nose to get it! Remember,” my father said…

Otis: “… land.”

Lex Luthor: Right.

BRP Sierra Madre: Some kind of joke?
BRP Sierra Madre: Some kind of joke?
I saw the old Hollywood blockbuster film Superman starring Christopher Reeve recently. There was a scene between Superman and the villain Lex Luthor played by veteran actor Gene Hackman that reminds me of the conflict between China and some of her South East Asian neighbors including the Philippines over the disputed Spratly Islands.

In the scene from the film, I thought it was funny how easy it was for Lex Luthor to lure Superman into his den and trap him. It was also hilarious how Luthor, who had no superpowers and was relying solely on his wit, could act so calm while taunting Superman – someone who is tough as steel and someone who can easily crush Luthor if he wanted to. And then I realized why it was easy for Luthor to get Superman out of the way, albeit temporarily, to continue with his “evil” schemes.

Lex Luthor studied his nemesis well and used his weaknesses against him. He knew Superman was bound by some kind of honor code not to hurt humans even if he wanted to. And even when it became clear to Superman that he was planning to blow-up some parts of California just to realign the land value to make it favorable to his investment properties, Luthor knew Superman still wouldn’t hurt him.

Luthor was also clever enough to trick Superman into opening a chest made of lead that contained kryptonite. Of course he knew Superman could not use his x-ray vision to see through lead, information Superman gladly offered to his love interest, Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane.

You could be forgiven for siding with Lex Luthor. He didn’t feel threatened at all by the superhero’s physique and dismissed it by saying, “Do you know why the number two hundred is so vitally descriptive to both you and me? It’s your weight and my I.Q.

Now here’s how the Lex Luthor and Superman analogy applies to the conflict over the Sptratly Islands. In some ways Lex Luthor reminds me of both China and the Philippines. China, like Luthor, knows the value of land and she will do almost anything to get it. Meanwhile, compared to superpower China, the Philippines looks fragile and weak. But the Philippines still has a trick up her sleeve. She is shamelessly using the United States as kryptonite to weaken China and stop her from going through her “evil” schemes of acquiring the disputed islands.

China Coast Guard: Determined to reclaim historic territory
China Coast Guard: Determined to reclaim historic territory
Now unless China is prepared to sever her ties with her number one trading partner – the US, she cannot simply invade the islands including Ayungin, which is not even an island but shoal where the former World War II US landing ship now Philippine Navy vessel BRP Sierra Madre has been grounded and serves as garrison for a few Philippine marines manning the area. Their presence annoys the hell out of the Chinese. The latter probably thinks that the rusty and rickety second hand vessel is some kind of joke at their expense. But the Chinese can only try to stop food and other supplies from being brought to the marines who are stationed there. Any aggressive move could create an international dilemma.

Meanwhile, the US is treading on thin ice. The Superpower doesn’t know if she wants to play Lex Luthor or Superman. Like Superman, the US has a few weaknesses, which is some kind of “commitment” to support her so-called “allies”, which includes the Philippines. But on the other hand, like Lex Luthor, the US also comes across as too eager to extend her territory. What’s in it for the US to help her allies is something some folks in the Philippines would rather not discuss for obvious reasons. As long as Uncle Sam is more than willing to extend his helping hand, the Philippines will welcome him with open arms. But when it comes to China, it’s hard to tell sometimes if the US doesn’t want to be stuck in the middle of a conflict or be in it.

What role does the US want to play in the conflict over the Spratly Islands?
What role does the US want to play in the conflict over the Spratly Islands?
The US doesn’t need to go to war with China over an issue that everyone knows has nothing to do with Americans. While some US diplomats secretly hate the Chinese, most of them would rather the conflict gets resolved using diplomatic means considering China has become a force to reckon with. This is especially true since China has caught up in the arms race.

China has probably manufactured enough weapons of mass destruction to blow up any of their South East Asian neighbors, particularly the Philippines. If this is true, we shouldn’t be surprised because China has become the manufacturing king thanks to globalization. If we are to believe the news floating around, it seems there are Chinese generals who cannot wait for the day when they get the green light to blow up the Philippines into smithereens.

And to complicate matters for the Philippines, it was recently brought to light by Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III that a Chinese company owns forty percent of the Philippines’ communication lines and electrical grid. Apparently, the Chinese have stealthily invaded our shores legally and already control some of the Philippines’ resources and can use it to cripple the country’s infrastructure when the time is right. This means that even before President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino publicizes his stand on the dispute against China, the Chinese likely already know where he stands. This is one instance where one can say, it’s a good thing foreign ownership is limited only to forty percent. Otherwise, the Philippines would have been bought cheap by foreign entities a long time ago.

China plays Lex Luthor better than the Philippines. China seems to have studied her nemesis well and used their weaknesses against them. Lack of military capability is one weakness the Philippines might not overcome due to rampant corruption and mismanagement of the country’s resources by public servants in charge. Despite the outrage by members of the local Philippine communist movement, the country will always rely on help from foreign military troops due to its inability to defend itself. The country can only cry foul and hope that members of the international community through the United Nations can intervene and solve our problems for us.

Disputed territory: Ayungin Shoal
Disputed territory: Ayungin Shoal
Unfortunately, the current government headed by President BS Aquino does not even have the right diplomatic skills to appease China into cooperating. Sadly, BS Aquino is not someone the Chinese would want to negotiate with even if he had something to offer, which he doesn’t. One reason could be BS Aquino’s refusal to apologize for the bungled hostage crises that resulted in the deaths of 8 Hong Kong Chinese tourists in 2010.

At the moment, the Philippines is lucky that despite its military might, China also has a weakness. That weakness lies in its priority to make money through manufacturing. Chinese officials are smart enough to know that a war with their neighbors and trading partners is not good for business. But if the Chinese realize that whatever business coming from the Philippines is not worth keeping the peace, then Filipinos will be in trouble.

So the Philippines better find another piece of kryptonite to ward off China from coming to our shores because it is apparent that the Chinese can tighten the grip on our balls using more economic sanctions. They can do this because they can.

Superman: Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?

Lex Luthor: No, by causing the death of innocent people.


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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25 Comments on "The Philippines needs some kryptonite to battle China over the Spratly Islands"

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Great writing. Nice analogy. Pnoy aquino actually wears Batman pyjamas and dreams of his young friend Robin ( dick gayson) ‘Holy 50 shades of gay, Batman’ says Robin, ‘ you must stop this dressing up fetish’. Batman ‘ so says a boy in tights called dick!’ Edited out of christianne amanpours CNN interview with pnoy aquino – CA – “What would you consider to be your main weaknesses and strengths?” Pnoy – “Well my main weakness would be my issues with reality, telling what’s real from what’s not” CA – “And your strengths?” Pnoy – “I’m Batman” Since it is… Read more »
Take away her moxy to put herself in position for a good story and Noynoy is Lois Lane. Smoking cigs but not smoking hot. Star struck and flying high in the presence of some hunk and forever the damsel in distress calling for help from her boyfriend. Great analogies on your end . Saw that movie in the theater oh so long ago. Even in 1979 the quote from Lex I loved was “some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story . Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper… Read more »
Johnny Saint

Refreshing take.

Usually the talking heads on television drag out a hoary old reference to Munich, 1938 (BS Aquino did it himself last February) — possibly the most abused analogy in modern history.


The picture of the Sierra Madre first made me wince and instinctively say “What the f— is that?!”

It’s in even worse shape than what other third-world countries have in their military scrapyards.

Reminds me of my ‘superman’ story. Off topic, but in restaurant mode! I was having lunch at Langans brasserie in london and christopher reeve, who was in town promoting the superman film, also happened to be dining there. Langans has a long facade of large windows looking onto the street. A group of guys must have spotted reeve, who had a table by the window, then gone round the block, and re-appeared 3 of them carrying the fourth aloft in full flying superman pose (albeit wearing business suit) and paraded up and down twice to the amusement of all, including… Read more »
Chinese is a traitor who continues to violate the international laws on territories. Armed with their ridiculous claim of 9 dash line in South China Sea which they only based on their old map, not really proven if its authentic and now they want to trick countries to have bilateral negotiations but their hidden demonic interest is to occupy the EEZ of each country that share and comprise the portion of the South China Sea including the Philippines. Evidence is clear, China is always bullying the Philippines because of their military might, thus having the guts to poach on maritime… Read more »
Henry Delgado

US is not Philippine’s kryptonite. It’s a magic wand.

This issue only shows the poor diplomatic skills of the student council president has.

Thomas Jefferson
The Chinese are now the aggressors. They want to make it appear that the South China Sea is theirs. UNCLOS is very clear on the matter. Our maritime territories and resources are attracting the greed of the Chinese. They are after our strategic resources of natural gas and oil. The BRP Sierra Madre’s resupply was accomplished against the odds. The men of the AFP showed their true grit! The Chinese coast guard tried but failed. We have no external defense capability. This is true. The MDT with the US is seen as a deterrence. BS Aquino is still seen as… Read more »
Hyden Toro
The Chinese Generals must be laughing now. Chinese soldiers will not die from bullets from Filipino soldiers. They will die laughing at the Stupidity of Aquino and his cahoot political leaders. The money that would have been spent on the Modernization of our Armed Forces. They were stolen by Aquino; his cahoot Senators; his cahoot Congressmen and his cahoot political affiliates. If you look at the picture of BSP Sierra Madre; the ship is a troop cargo ship. It is a World War I ship, that would had been junked in a scrap yard , many years ago… Militarily, you… Read more »
JT Jerzy
Entertaining YES!!! BUT the likening of The Philippines(or the USA) to Lex Luthor is laughable though;as the Philippines has no say in the matter. It is SAD but oh-so true. The REAL deal is that the dividing of the assets has already been decided and the greedy as shit gets Filipino politicians are weaseling their way into position to get some of the crumbs that fall off the proverbial table. Much like welfare babies in the USA, as harsh as that may sound, the size of the crumbs to be scrounged off the floor are a considerable sum in terms… Read more »
Hello Filipino

I hope the crew get frequent tetanus shots, but by the look of the precarious way they get resupplied; I doubt it. And why are they on that rust bucket instead of on a perfectly good island right next to it that has a runway?

Sad how the soldiers live their lives there, not knowing what will happen and when it may happen. By all means, this has to end in diplomacy..the sad thing is, I don’t think anyone there is good at it which is really bad because of the risks involve. A full-blown war like what happened 100 years ago isn’t needed in today’s world. Is it really that hard to get along now? I guess this is where greed rears its ugly head..and because of that we may be on to something real bad in the future..the sad thing about it is… Read more »
vagoneto rieles
The Falklands were variously occupied by the French, the Spaniards and the British at different times since the 18th century. The Argentines, despite their proximity to the ‘Islands’, had not made any serious attempts to colonize or make friends in the area, before their reckless claim and incursion in 1982.. given that there were long standing British-loyalist residents there. Great Britain, (led by Margaret Thatcher), serious players that they are, bristled, fought back and won..of course. British possession and occupation of Gibraltar is another example where the UK’s seriousness and resolve continues to pay off. They won both referenda of… Read more »