Did the Philippine government cause the collision between the Chinese vessel and the Filipino fishing boat at Reed Bank? For that matter, did the Chinese government cause it? The way certain “thought leaders” and “activists” of the current Opposition carry on screeching about going to war with China, you’d think the governments of both countries used these little boats to wage a proxy war.
It does not seem to occur to many people that, perhaps, this is no more than an accident between two private parties that are not agents of their respective governments. Piracy at sea, for example, is perpetrated by crooks from different countries. But we hardly ever see national governments turning these into international incidents much more go to war over these. Even world powers bristling with modern weaponry commanded by generals itching to use them have shown monumental restraint in the face of appalling tragedy following far bigger incidents involving the actions of their direct agents.
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In 1983, the world was gripped by fear following the accidental shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over the Sahakin Islands by a Soviet fighter plane. An account of the incident is described by Marc Ambinder in his 2014 article Here’s the last time Russia shot down a passenger plane published on The Week. The key takeaway from this account is how there were lots of things going on in the vicinity of the accident at the time that contributed to how things transpired. This included various military aircraft being present (or not present) there depending on which government — primarily the Soviets or the Americans — said so. Particularly notable is the account of the Soviet pilot who was at the centre of the incident…
The passenger plane had flown, probably accidentally, on a magnetic heading of 246 degrees soon after leaving Anchorage, Alaska, and its pilots assumed that another navigation system was in control, having failed to link the plane’s compass heading to its instrument navigation system (INS).
The Russians watched the plane approach, and then fly through, a second swath of Soviet territory. The Su-15 pilot, Gennadie Osipovich, part of a fighter wing based at Dolinsk-Sokol, tried to contact the plane on the international distress frequency. The Korean pilots probably did not hear his pleas; they had no reason to think that they were in any danger based on where they thought they were.
Osipovich was under pressure from his ground commander not to let the plane leave Russian territory a second time. Even still, he showed significant restraint, not wanting to fire until he had a positive identification on the aircraft. Why? He knew the stakes: Shooting down an American spy plane could lead to real war.
It is easy for today’s Filipino “activists” to beat war drums or invoke “mutual defense treaties” (and for much of the international community to take these with grains of salt) — because war between China and the Philippines will likely not impact much of the rest of the world. In fact, if actual shots are fired, it would be over after one Chinese missile launch (or two, if the Philippine military actually puts up some semblance of a fight). In short, the stakes are low when seen from the bigger picture of global politics. That said, it is interesting that the government with the bigger guns in this latest brouhaha would be the one calling for restraint.
Beijing reiterated that the collision between the two boats near Recto Bank was “accidental.”
“It is irresponsible and counter-constructive to link this incident with China-Philippines friendship or even make political interpretations out of it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Monday.
Lu added that Beijing would continue to investigate the incident that occurred in Philippine waters on June 9.
According to Lu, the Philippines and China had rounds of communication on the issue through multiple unimpeded channels since the collision happened.
It is more likely that the Philippine Opposition led by the discredited “Yellowtards” (holdovers from an era when the Aquino-Cojuangco “people power” narrative ruled the Philippines’ political discourse) would remain inconsolable. As expected, these Yellowtard “thought leaders” and the constellation of infantile “activists” surrounding them would continue to spin dishonest narratives around the Reed Bank incident. Furthermore, what is truly astounding is how the Philippines’ Big Corporate Media organisations themselves, chime into the circus echoing the same moronic voices rather than add clarity to the issue.
Ambinder reported that there was far more information on hand to evaluate the circumstances surrounding the downing of KAL Flight 007 in 1983 considering the Soviets were scheduled to do missile tests on that day and the US had its own spying assets on standby to monitor it all…
That day, at least five American RC-135 orbits were planned to monitor the Soviet’s missile tests. The Soviets were, naturally, on alert for RC-135s, and they saw what they expected to see. Russian air defense pilots would have been briefed. Indeed, one of them was within about 30 miles of the Korean plane at the time of the shooting.
According to the NSA’s own still largely classified history, it recorded the air-to-ground conversations of the pilots and then transmitted them to NSA LADYLOVE, the satellite intercept station in Misawa, Japan. CRITIC cables containing verbatim transcripts were at the National Security Council within hours.
In comparison, the collision between the Chinese and Filipino vessels is relatively shrouded in mystery and much of the “reporting” — and loud screeching mainly on the Filipino side — are based on hearsays coming from a fishing boat captain and his wife (turned Reality TV star by ABS-CBN “News”) and not on hard data generated by observations and quantifiable measurements collected by state-of-the-art surveillance equipment.
In 1983, the most advanced satellites and spy craft of the First World did a little bit to contain the sabre rattling of politicians on both sides. The hope harboured by more intelligent observers of the Reed Bank brouhaha today is that the hysterics of the Yellowtard “activists” and “thought leaders” would be just as ineffective at initiating unintelligent action as their sorry campaign that led to their catastrophic defeat in this year’s elections was. So far, the prospects are promising.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.