To the compelling arguments for the welcoming back of American GIs back to the Philippine Islands, the usual suspects can only hark back to the “bad” old days of boom boom town Olongapo City for a counterargument. Never mind the simple truth that Filipinas flocking to GIs in droves merely highlights the dismal failure of the Filipino male to provide. Nonetheless, how can Filipinos not welcome the United States back into its military facility in Subic Bay port? Filipinos pretty much are Americans. Only politics and geography get in the way of that simple reality.
Geography is not something we can do much about, although our supposedly “strategically important” location in the region makes our islands prime real estate for house-hunting global superpowers. Politics, on the other hand, is under full control of the Filipino people if we are to take the position of emos who insist that democracy does, indeed, “empower” the citizenry. But then if we check out how Filipinos, in their infinite wisdom as the custodians of true “political power” in this sad nation, wielded their influence on politics, what we might find may surely disappoint.
If it weren’t for the emo sentiments of Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L Quezon, something about Pinoys preferring to be “run like hell” by their compatriots than be subject to the warm embrace of Uncle Sam, the country would still be a tropical paradise of sunshine and leafy breezy islands and not the Pinoy-managed wasteland it is today. If it weren’t for the pa-macho stance of a bunch of Philippine Senators back in 1991, the “sovereign” posturing of Filipinos with regard to its claims on the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal would come across as a bit more convincing. And if it weren’t for the Constitutionally-embedded limitations on hosting foreign military forces within Philippine territory implemented by our so-called “constitutionalists”, we’d have more diplomatic leverage and political latitude to apply in negotiating joint national security deals with our well-armed allies.
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Consistent to being the proud reigning top emo country of the world, Filipinos have consistently exhibited an aversion to rational thought. Instead, Filipinos have allowed their misguided pride, perverse nationalism, and over-estimated sense of importance to rule their country’s destiny.
The hallmark of the pathologically emotional is regret. Where there is no foresight, there is only hindsight.
Filipinos can only grasp at past historical glories — how they were once the handsome and prosperous posterboy of American democracy in the 1950s, how they “won” (but then lost) their “independence” in 1898, how folk hero Lapu Lapu killed in battle big bad conquistador Magellan. But as far as laying the groundwork for an equally-glorious future, Filipinos score a big fat zero.
Indeed, in all ironies the elephant in the room when it comes to an accounting of these glories that the Pinoy ego so desperately craves is the massive military presence of the United States in the Philippines that ended so unceremoniously in 1991. That presence is, by far, the single biggest (if not the only) aspect of Philippine history that gave us any semblance of significance in the overall global scheme of things. Since that ended in 1991, the Pearl of the Orient had seen its relevance to the world reduced to a mere footnote.
The Philippines? Oh yeah, the former home of the US Seventh Fleet.
By the way it’s Thanksgiving Day today daw. Considering the lengths to which marketers go to import this otherwise irrelevant (to the majority of Filipinos) American holiday, perhaps we should think and appreciate what we can truly be thankful for. One of the things to be thankful for is that the originators of this holiday still consider the Philippines a part of its overall military roadmap in the region despite the daft nationalist hubris our politicians had exhibited in the past.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.