We already know the answer to that question. Back in 1991, Philippine Congress voted to boot Uncle Sam’s boys out of her shores for good. Since then, the Philippines had undergone a steep decline to irrelevance in the world stage. Along with that came tumbling her ability to defend herself. Indeed, one would have thought that the exit of America from its prime military bases in the Philippines would see the dawn of a self-sufficient and credible indigenous military capability in the former American colony. Unfortunately that never materialised.
Almost like the way dogs can sense fear, elements that have long threatened the Philippines’ national security started to reactivate, regroup, and re-arm. So today we see the erstwhile forgotten spectres of communism, Islamic jihad, and Chinese expansionism casting an ever blackening shadow upon every Filipino. Had America remained a welcome partner in the Philippines’ national defense and a reliable ally in regional geopolitics, Filipinos would be breathing a bit more easy today and enjoying the abundant economic rewards of Uncles Sam’s embrace.
Instead, the Philippines is being crushed. Its territories in the West Philippine Sea are being encroached upon with impunity by the People’s Liberation Army. Communists now not only infest the Philippines’ jungles, but also its criminal Congress. Worst of all, the Philippine government had been suckered by a terrorist group and the Malaysian government into palming off an enormous chunk of Mindanao, its second biggest island and agricultural and mining heartland, to “autonomous” Islamic rule.
The Philippine government insists that it is “for the sake of peace” that it applied a consistent limpdicked approach to negotiating with China, its communist insugents, a domestic jihad group, and its ASEAN “friend”.
Including the words “for the sake of peace” in doctrine that underpins negotiations with belligerent — much more, unabashedly hostile — entities is politicodiplomaticspeak for I-don’t-have-enough-guns-to-blow-your-heads-off-if-you-don’t-agree-to-my-terms.
Nobody is under any illusion that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is anything more than an imperfect rickety workaround solution cobbled together by previous governments to the shortsighted mistake made by Philippine Congress in 1991. Commie “activists”, however make it out to be an evil document. Their Maoist doctrine imprisons their minds to that frankly tiring Cold War era rallying cry that makes their approach to thinking no different to that of religious cultists and mass murderers.
But between the propaganda of old discredited communist nuts (“down with the evil imperialist [bla bla]”) and the propaganda of Uncle Sam’s jingoists (“truth, justice, and the American way”) which one gives you the warmest fuzziest feeling of all?
Indeed, the lesser evil does. Remember that term? It’s the same term that’s in the heads of the average Filipino whenever the time comes to choose a new leader or the next crop of “representatives”. So there is no reason why we can’t be comfy with that notion when choosing global sides today. If the average Filipino being the impoverished wretches that they are are in no position to determine what is “good” or “evil” in their own domestic politics, what hope do they really have in doing the same in the bigger scheme of global geopolitics? Simple answer: zero.
So what’s the real deal here when it comes to choosing who to go to bed with before the bar closes? It comes down to the two current big bad boys that most closely present themselves as options to the hapless Pinoy today — the People’s Republic of China or the United States of America.
If we open our eyes a bit wider, the Philippine government had already made that choice for us — Uncle Sam. But that does not mean that choice can still walk away if it decides that it is dealing with a psychotic nation. When it does, Filipinos may have no other choice but to open its doors to the real global psychos — China and the Islamic State.
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