Big sticks, chopsticks, and a cake

In World War II Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Josef Stalin forged an alliance to defeat Adolf Hitler. It was a reality sandwich they had to eat – as distasteful to the capitalist leaders as it was to the communist leader – because there was nothing else on the table.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin served a similar sandwich last week. Thank God it was nowhere near as foul-tasting as the sandwich that those three WWII musketeers ate.

Gazmin said, “At this point in time, we can’t stand alone. We need an ally. If we do not do this, we will be belittled by bigger forces. That’s what’s happening now. China is already there, they are sitting on our territory. They are not leaving. What will we do? Will we just wait until they are already by our doorsteps? Right now, they are already at our garage…While we are filing cases and at the same time building up our capability to address our security concerns, it’s important that we collaborate with other countries friendly and sympathetic to us.”

That was a warning to China’s leadership, reminding them that although we may not carry a big stick, we have friends who do and are just dying for an excuse to bash Chinese heads. It’s about time, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, some Filipinos with a weakness for chopsticks believe that the administration’s policy of “speak softly but ride with friends who carry big sticks” is unpatriotic and should be opposed at every turn.

The Communist Party of the Philippines claimed we are “provoking China to be more aggressive in its defense of its territories and push beyond its sea borders”. So China’s behavior is our fault

Bayan Muna’s Renato Reyes tried to scare us, “Is the Philippines really prepared to face a confrontation of that scale? Or will be be dragged into a war between two competing superpowers?” We’re shaking in our boots, Sherlock.

Party-lister Neri Colmenares went jingo-ballistic, “While we should strongly assert our territory against China we should not allow a bully to replace another bully. It also serves the imperialist agenda of the US making its pivot to Asia to reinforce its hegemony and promote the US war industry. We denounce President Benigno Aquino III’s subservience, undermining of our sovereignty and the peaceful resolution of the dispute.The U.S. troops should be pulled out and we will file a resolution to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement.”

He also used Gazmin’s statement to distract us, “This is an insult to our veterans and comfort women who suffered under the Japanese during World War II.” As if scars deserved more attention than the thousand cuts China is inflicting on us even as he speaks.

Gabriela’s Luzviminda Ilagan, thinking she was among pre-schoolers, played show and tell, “What’s in a name? Access arrangements, military exercises or routine port calls – they all mean the same thing, translating into unhampered use of facilities and structures in Philippine territory for foreign military use.”

KMP’s Antonio Flores turned constitutionalist and warned, “The President is courting an impeachment complaint for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for trampling our sovereignty and rabid puppetry to the US.” Seriously, dude, a puppet capable of betrayal and rabidity? I hate to be the guy to break the news to you but Pinnochio was not a real person.

However in fairness to the CPP-NDF there is some bite behind their bark. Yes, there are potential downsides for the weakest member in a partnership where each party has to mind its selfish national interest even in the face of a common threat. Yes, the partnership with Japan and the US could leave us with the short stick.

But we are not going into the partnership with our eyes closed. We know the greater risk is not to do anything, specially in the face of threats from a country that lives by Erap’s code, “A hungry stomach knows no law.”

China will eat us up if we remain defenseless and alone. We need backup for now. Backup that carries bigger sticks than our adversary. That is why Sec. Gazmin enunciated the policy of partnering with bigsticks who also see China as a threat to their national interest.

An alliance with Japan and the US against China may not be the ideal policy but it is the only one on the table. The CPP-NDF has not presented an alternate plan. All it has done so far is to tell us what we must not do and who we must not offend.

I suspect it is because a nationalistic CPP-NDF security plan will simply mirror the administration’s “subservient” plan. Once in power they will find that the Philippines is still the same defenseless little country at the mercy of big powers. It will still be unable to defend itself by itself.

Consequently, all that the CPP-NDF will be able to do is rearrange seating arrangements. Japan and the US will become the threat and the “friendly and sympathetic” country will be China. Sorry but musical chairs is a parlor game, it is not a solution to our national security deficiencies.

I favor a plan that addresses the cause rather than the symptoms of a problem. Let’s stop the flag-waving for a minute and look for the root cause of the territorial disputes. It’s money. There is a lot of money beneath that sea, enough for all of us to live comfortably.

So let’s walk away from the “over our dead bodies” mentality. That insanity only leads to a lot of dead bodies and no money. Let’s all sit-down and agree on an equal-sharing arrangement. Because a slice of the cake is better than nothing at all.

Joma Sison favors Villar over Noynoy: report

Joma Sison favors Villar over Noynoy: report

MANILA, Philippines – The founder of the reorganized Communist Party of the Philippines believes Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manny Villar has a relatively better program of government compared to his rival, Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

In an interview with D.L. Mondelo of Bulatlat.com, CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison lamented that Villar’s programs have been underplayed during the presidential campaign. He said that among Villar’s programs are “land reform and self-reliant food production, expansion of local manufacturing to generate employment, support for small and middle entrepreneurs, peace negotiations, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement, respect for human rights and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations and independent foreign policy.”

On the other hand, he lambasted Aquino and his running mate, Mar Roxas, as “rabid exponents of the US-dictated policy of neoliberal globalization, which has put the Philippine economy in severe crisis and is inflicting terrible suffering on the people.”

Sison said Aquino would probably follow the example set by his mother, the late president Cory Aquino, by paying lip service to land reform “but will actually prevent it in so many clever ways.”

“In the particular case of Hacienda Luisita, he will insist on the scam or swindle called the stock distribution option in order to prevent land reform. He promises a clean and honest government but the Kamag-Anak, Inc. and other vested interests are financing his campaign and are prepared to collect the spoils of bureaucrat capitalism and subservience to foreign economic interests,” he said.

Sison also noted that Villar seemed to be more amenable to reviving peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front. He said Aquino would probably get advice from former senator Wigberto Tañada and Quezon 4th District Rep. Lorenzo Tañada on the matter of peace negotiations. He warned, however, that some elements in the Aquino camp are “rabid anti-communists and pseudo-progressives who will advise Aquino to pretend being for peace negotiations as a way of deceiving the people.”

The CPP founder also defended the inclusion of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza as guest senatorial candidates of Villar’s Nacionalista Party. The alliance has put Sison and Maza on the same slate as Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Sison said Ocampo and Liza threatened to withdraw from the NP slate after learning that the NP would forge an alliance with Marcos and his political party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

“They were satisfied only after Villar publicly clarified that they were not compromised as guest candidates in the senatorial slate by the inclusion of Bongbong as another guest candidate and that the program of the NP remains firm on respect for human rights and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime,” he said.