How 8 Filipino soldiers are keeping China in check

Screenshot 2013-10-29 09.52.35

The New York Times published an amazing web-magazine over the weekend on how eight Filipino soldiers are keeping the Chinese in check in the South China Sea. The piece is brilliant, and captures the deplorable condition of our troops based in an old U.S. Navy ship.

Here’s a snippet:

China is currently in disputes with several of its neighbors, and the Chinese have become decidedly more willing to wield a heavy stick. There is a growing sense that they have been waiting a long time to flex their muscles and that that time has finally arrived. “Nothing in China happens overnight,” Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, the director of Asia-Pacific programs at the United States Institute of Peace, said. “Any move you see was planned and prepared for years, if not more. So obviously this maritime issue is very important to China.”

It is also very important to the United States, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made clear at a gathering of the Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) in Hanoi in July 2010. Clinton declared that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea was a “national interest” of the United States, and that “legitimate claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features,” which could be taken to mean that China’s nine-dash line was illegitimate. The Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, chafed visibly, left the meeting for an hour and returned only to launch into a long, vituperative speech about the danger of cooperation with outside powers.

President Obama and his representatives have reiterated America’s interest in the region ever since. The Americans pointedly refuse to take sides in the sovereignty disputes. But China’s behavior as it becomes more powerful, along with freedom of navigation and control over South China Sea shipping lanes, will be among the major global political issues of the 21st century. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, of the $5.3 trillion in global trade that transits the South China Sea each year, $1.2 trillion of it touches U.S. ports — and so American foreign policy has begun to shift accordingly.

This is really something you should visit the New York Times to take the full experience.

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • Bert

    “Like, if President Obama wants to take military action against China in defense of the Philippines, the Republicans would be sure to oppose it.”–Joe

    Very unlikely. In the event of military confrontation between the Philippines and China, it could be that the possibility of Pres. Obama and the Democratic Party to engage militarily against China is lesser than the Republican response might be to such an event. Pres. Obama (his Democrats as well) has not been known to be a decisive world leader in responding to conflicts, in fact he’s been tagged by many Americans themselves as the president leading from behind, making America lose some of its luster and reputation as leader of the world. And so, if Pres. Obama should want to engage China in a military conflict, chances are that the Democrats will oppose it, too, considering also that the American people is weary of involving into another war. And so, could be that there is nothing to expect from America if China continues to asserts its dominance of our seashores as long as Pres. Obama is the President. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Well, you know, it is a fine line to tread when, on one hand you are accused of being a war monger and on the other you are accused of leading from behind. President Obama has peaceful leanings and does not believe in nation building ala GW Bush. I agree that it is irresponsible to put the security of the Philippines behind the notion that America will help if the going gets tough. But it is useful to push the alliance up front to keep tne Chinese wolf at bay . . . hopefully. I think Japan is likely to be a more reliable military ally than the US.

    • US Republicans have put partisanship above nation. If Obama is for it, they are against it. The old ideology is history. That pro-corporate Republicans would take the US to the economic brink for political gain, over the protests and warnings of corporate executives, illustrates that the old Republican model is no longer in play. Political advantage drives all.

  • Bert

    Forget America, it’s on its way on a spiraling decline and its government can’t even pass its own budget, next year having the possibility of going down the cliff. Poor guys.

    We must rely on our own resources and as has been proven by that rusted ship, the Sierra Madre, with 8 marines on board, we can hold off the advances of China on our shores effectively without relying on an unreliable so called ‘friend’. who has vowed time and again they’re not going to meddle in sovereignty dispute between us and China.

    All we need are fleets of rusted derelicts like the Sierra Madre and I’ve seen lots of them in the rivers of Malabon and Navotas. Problem solved.

    • I don’t think America is going off the economic cliff, but she might be better called the “Divided States of America” because the partisan dysfunction indeed makes her an unreliable partner. Who knows which senatorial bozo would use the Philippines as a negotiating chip in time of need. Like, if President Obama wants to take military action against China in defense of the Philippines, the Republicans would be sure to oppose it. So right now, NO state can rely fully on the U.S.

      On the other hand, I don’t think it is wise to “forget America”, because that will embolden China. Indeed, I am sure that with each passing moment of partisan horror in the U.S., the Chinese cheer, because they KNOW the U.S. will not be able to get organized to step in and defend other states. So USE America as one card in a full deck. And start building small missile boats as if our lives depended on it.

      • cocoy

        U.S. policy has been, “We don’t want to be in the middle of this dispute” at the same time, they don’t want China to be a bigger deal in the region. That said, Obama missing that last meeting, and having Kerry sub for him? That’s didn’t do America any favor.

    • Kenkoy Estrada

      Another delusional idiot.