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.

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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.

26 Replies to “The Philippines needs some kryptonite to battle China over the Spratly Islands”

  1. 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 april 1st –

    “A fool and his money are soon elected”
    Will Rogers

    “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?”
    OBI-WAN KENOBI, Star Wars

    With the majority being fools, the philippines inevitably ends up also being run by fools.

    Pnoy aquino – the fool on the hill

    “Day after day,
    Alone on a hill,
    The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
    But nobody wants to know him,
    They can see that he’s just a fool,
    And he never gives an answer,

    And nobody seems to like him,
    they can tell what he wants to do,
    and he never shows his feelings,

    And he never listens to them,
    He knows that they’re the fools
    They don’t like him,
    The fool on the hill”
    The beatles

    1. @Libertas

      “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?”
      OBI-WAN KENOBI, Star Wars

      With the majority being fools, the philippines inevitably ends up also being run by fools.

      The fool is giving away parts of Mindanao including Sabah while his foolish followers cheer him on. The irony here is that while PNoy is giving away Mindanao, he pretends to care about the disputed Spratly Island. He is very inconsistent, indeed.

  2. 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 and unlock the secrets of the universe. I think he was describing the Pinoys and Internet. And Ilda you know what I mean when you look at what in GRP gets the most views. Btw the writer of that movie . Mario Puzo.

    1. @Gogs

      Only a true film buff like yourself can appreciate my article . 😉

      Any serious article discussing topics of major importance like the conflict with China and MILF will never win over articles discussing Anne Curtis with Filipino readers.

      Thanks for the trivia.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. It looked like patched mess of rusted metal sheets collected from the junk shop. I feel sorry for the soldiers using the ship.

  5. 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 the gentlemanly, (and later courageous), christopher reeve who clapped and thanked them.
    It’s more fun dining in london. Langans highly recommended, and a great art collection – mostly original – even the menu was designed by david hockney.
    The co-owner, and larger than life restauranteur peter langan – who co-owned it with actor michael caine – committed suicide by setting himself on fire! – never one to be in the background – but fortunately not in the restaurant.

  6. 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 rich resources in our seas while the Philippine government tries to resolve this through diplomatic means because the latter knows it has no match against China’s military arsenal. And the US says it remains neutral to the issue. I see one of the reasons is because of conflict of interest. The US is torn between two lovers. It has billions of dollars debt and also investments in China while she is bound to follow Mutual Treaty signed in 1951 with the ally Philippines (but I doubt if US will uphold it).

    Now that the Philippines filed a memorial complaint to the ITLOS against the violations done by China to the UNCLOS, which the UN also has vested us our ultimate rights which China also is a signatory and supposed to follow. This is a bright move to save some part of our territory for our future generations. True Filipinos who love our country should support this move. We should do this for our Mother Philippines.

    1. China is always bullying the Philippines because of their military might, thus having the guts to poach on maritime rich resources in our seas while the Philippine government tries to resolve this through diplomatic means because the latter knows it has no match against China’s military arsenal.

      I don’t think the Philippine government tried hard enough to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means. Instead of talking to the Chinese Officials, PNoy just talks to the media. Didn’t he refer to what the Chinese are doing to what Hitler did when the Nazi Germany occupied western parts of the European nation in 1938 ahead of World War II? He just wants to piss off China even more.

      All PNoy can do is cry foul and ask others for help but he doesn’t even know how to be humble about it. It’s like he has this sense of entitlement that the international community has to help the Philippines.

      1. The Philippines has exerted an exhaustive effort through peaceful resolution with China’s government. Remember that the DFA since 2011 always lodged protest to the embassy of China in the Philippines whenever China threatens our local fisherman and ships and steals our maritime resources near the western side. But China’s stand is absolutely almost owning if not the whole of South China Sea, which is a clear violation to the UNCLOS of 200 nautical Miles Exclusive Economic Zone which granted the signatory States especially the Archipelagic ones like the Philippines to explore and exploit the resources comprises therewith.

        Because of China’s firm stance and its aggressiveness of its military in the South China Sea and even in the East China Sea, the countries embroiled with the disputes concluded that China is occupying their territories. Only the Philippines under PNoy administration has the gall to settle this matter before the international tribunal. Japan, which also has its own acrimonious dispute with China, pronounced their support towards the Philippines’ memorial as a step towards the determination of their rights as a sovereign states.

        As the DFA leader said, Judge countries’ by actions not words. China in its hostilities towards neighboring countries is no doubt acting like the infamous Hitler in Germany. When the democratic countries did not do anything at the time when Hitler progressively occupied other territories before WWII, they let the evil win through his agendas of expansionism. One of the evidences was when Hitler betrayed the Western Countries when they handed Hitler parts of Czechoslovakia but eventually Hitler invaded the whole country.

        This may happen in the Philippines if we will be complacent to what China is telling us to do instead of standing on what we think is right. Enough is not enough to China. This has already proven during Ramos presidency when China asked President Ramos to construct structures on stilts at Panganiban Reef/Mischief Reef, which supposed to only provide shelter for their fishermen but then later on they transformed them into military garrison equipped with radars and other monitoring equipments and our government did not do anything about it that time. That alone proves the betrayal of China and its nature of deception. Their expansionism continued in GMA’s era to the other islands, reefs, and rocks in the West Philippine Sea. And while our government still neglected and let China gradually occupied the said parts, they also did not improved our military arsenal that’s why nowadays, Aquino government find it hard to defend our territories. The last resort is only the settlement of dispute with the third party and that is the international tribunal.

        Now tell me Ilda, who is at fault? would you still continue to favor the Chinese? Make your stand clear as many Filipinos supported our latest government’s move against China.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 a sleeping president. He should strike while the iron is hot! He should order the exploration and development of our maritime territories and strategic resources in beating the Chinese to the draw!

    1. PNoy should have just installed a base on one of the islands instead of grounding that rusty old ship. He could have used the money he used to bribe congress in building it. We are just too slow to act. Meanwhile, the Chinese are probably already building a fort over the disputed islands.

      PNoy’s priority was to get rid of Corona instead of our country’s security.

  9. 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 can see the “Ayugin Shoal” conflict; to parellel the British – Argentina conflict over the British territory of Falkland Islands.

    The military rulers of Argentina, under General Galtierri, were getting unpopular. So, they invaded the British Falkland Island; to improve their popularity to the Argentines. Both nations, (Britain and Argentina) claimed sovereingty, over these Islands.

    The British sent a naval expeditionary force to reclaim the Island.
    The Argentines, put a naval force and marines, to defend the island.
    This lead to the sinking of the Argentine Destroyer: “Belgrano”, by the British nuclear powered submarine: HMS Conqueror.

    The Argenbtine Air Force, performed well. They sunk the British Destroyer: HMS Sheffield, using a French Exocet Missile (air to ship missile).

    After the war, the ruling Argentine Military Junta was overthrown by the Argentine people. They now have a working Democracy.

    Lesson: Don’t build your political structure on “Myth and Falsehood”. If you will be Tested: the truth about you will come out…

    1. They got their asses kicked and their heads handed to them, the Argentinians did. If they had not laid down their weapons, shit would have really gone bad and the Queens military would have really fucked that country UP!
      anyone can land one good punch, like the Agentinian Navy…butthe rest of the battle, er what battle?

  10. 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 of any Man’s bank account.

    Even sadder still, it is a certainty that the avg. Filipino will be outraged by ‘good friend’ China’s actions when in FACT and REALITY they should be even more outraged by the behavior of their own countrymen who consistently betray them….and leave them with nothing but a half sack of rice and a few sardines.

    1. Half sack of rice, few sardines at mangilan ngilan ding noodles pero inuuod. Sad to say tuwang tuwa pa mga Zombies niyan.

  11. 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?

    1. LOL…yeah, it’s a mystery why they grounded that ship there. I would like to know the rational behind it. They made things harder to deliver supplies for the men on board. Maybe Pinoys really like doing things the hard way in an attempt to make them look “heroic”.

  12. 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 we may not even have a future.

    1. Filipinos should think about their future keeping in mind that outside forces could invade the Philippines one day.

  13. 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 1967 and 2002, which were held at Spain’s behest and, still maintain sovereignty over this rock . I suppose, the Strait of Gibraltar which is a choke point into and out of the Mediterranean, is, still, an enviable piece of real estate.

    The historical milestone brings to mind our present impasse in the Scarborough Shoals. To juxtapose these events, however, against the Philippines’ position vis-a-vis the Spratlys and Bangsamoro would be laughable were it not really worrisome… even tragic.
    To my mind, (solely my opinion), our claim to ownership of land beyond the EEZ of 200 nautical miles is folly… and, giving up patrimony and birthright to the so called Bangsamoro who clearly disavow being Filipino is plain stupidity. What has possessed this administration to do the things they do in the name of the Filipino?
    The Spratlys, a small archipelago some 400 kilimeters from the Philippines, by the way, have had claimants long before Tomas Cloma’s ‘discovery’ in 1958. China in the 18th century, and Vietnam, (then Indo-China), shortly thereafter, have had garrisons in these islands at that time. The French, too, in the name of occupied Vietnam, (French Indo-China), did occupy this disputed territory much later, as well.. until 1954.. before the Vietminh drove them away. All we could do since 1958, in the way of staking claim, it seems, was to scuttle a derelict LCT, (a WW ll motorized barge) on the beach of one of the islands to signify presence . Why we go on a wild goose chase, on the one hand, and willingly give away birthright possession on the other, is really mind-boggling. What they say about ” biting more than you can chew”; and, about “not appreciating what you have until you lose it”, will soon come to visit.
    Couldn’t we consider, instead, taking a less belligerent stance and ask China.. now the world’s supplier of everything.. how we might participate in jointly developing this chain of islets? This direction would make Vietnam’s, Malaysia’s and Brunei’s claim moot and academic; while at the same time ensure our good relations with a ‘risen world power’. Of course, this thinking is influenced by China’s 2900 military aircraft, some 600 naval vessels, 10,000 tanks and a 4,600,000-man army.. among other war materiel.
    This thinking, though, also proceeds from the unsettled question of the Spratlys ownership. It does not detract, however, from the advantages of just being a willing and helpful partner. It also suggests that a 50% or 40% share of something is a whole lot more than 100% of nothing. (Again.. solely my own opinion). Shouldn’t we know “which side of our toast is buttered”?

  14. Kryptonite, Ilda?
    Really, your head is awash in American dime-a-dozen comic book reverie.
    besides, that element is considered malevolent
    since it is anti-Superman, the presumed white-assed upholder of justice.

    a realistic shift towards all-weather ASW-capable maritime patrol air/sea craft,
    multi-role rotary-winged combat aircraft for SAD/R applications
    S-400 anti-aircraft systems slaved to full-spectrum radar suites
    tactically-refurbished BMP-1/2 all-terrain infantry fighting vehicles
    kalashnikov/RPG weapon systems
    shielded battlefield-grade 5G radio communications
    robust lightweight infantry exoskeleton kits
    and infra-red light resistant BattleDressUniforms
    could effectively alter the deplorable state of Philippine national defence.

    sadly, all these deadly war materiel could exist only on a Hollywood-flick
    watched with gusto by Filipinos in a shopping mall theatre
    every relaxing weekend.

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