DU30 should ask Abe: After Hiroshima, how could Japan remain a US ally?

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

“The succession of controversial comments (from President Duterte) and a real climate of uncertainty about the Philippines’ intentions (vis-a-vis the United States and China) have created consternation in many countries, not only in (the US), and not only among governments,” US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russell told Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. on Monday. “There is growing concern in other communities and the expat Filipino community, in corporate board rooms as well. That is not a positive trend,” he said.

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Russell had come to Manila, together with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Kelly Magsamen, to seek a clarification of what DU30 meant when he said in Beijing last week that he was “separating” the Philippines, economically and militarily, from the US, and aligning it with China and Russia “against the world.” It doesn’t look like he got it. Yasay was not consulted before DU30 made his statement, and was in no position to clarify it. Returning to Davao on Saturday, DU30 said “separation” did not mean “severance” of diplomatic relations. But he did not say exactly what it meant.

From Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Yasay on the telephone before the meeting at the Foreign Office. Kerry was in Manila three months ago and had expressed support for DU30’s decision to hold direct negotiations with China, instead of insisting on the ruling of the Permanent Counil of Arbitration at the Hague, which held that the so-called nine-dash line, which China invokes to support its claim on almost everything inside the South China, had no legal basis. The content of Kerry’s conversation with Yasay was not released to the press.

The search for a clarification
Russell tried to assure Yasay that there remains “a deep wellspring of respect and affection between the United States and the Philippines,” and that the US supports DU30’s “independent foreign policy,” if by that he means decisions based on the government’s own assessment of its own national interests, its desire to honor its own Constitution and pursue autonomy, independence and self-reliance. He assured Yasay that the US strongly supports the government’s drive against illegal drugs, as shown by the active assistance extended by the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies in trying to prevent the entry of drugs from overseas.

But he expressed concern about the high loss of life in the war on drugs, now reported to exceed 4,000 dead suspects. Russell underscored the importance of due process and respect for the rights of citizens “as an important part of protecting communities.” Such concern about the drug killings has prompted DU30 to call Barack Obama “son of a whore” and tell him to “go to hell.”

He also cursed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and flashed the middle finger at the European Union for expressing the same concern. He once likened the drug victims to the victims of Hitler’s Holocaust, although he publicly apologized to the Jewish community for the slur. Aside from foreign governments and international institutions, nearly every major Western media organization has attacked the killings.

Advisers in need of advice
DU30 needs sober and sage advice, but those who should provide it seem to be the first ones in urgent need of it. They seem to have a skewed view of things. For instance, a column in the Inquirer on Monday, by my young friend, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, said, among other things: “America reserved the right to define who should be our friends and who should be our enemies. We managed to open diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1974 only after Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger did so. It was US strategic consideration and not Philippine national interest that defined out foreign policy for us.”

Where, in heaven’s name, did he get this? We normalized relations with Beijing on June 9, 1975 (not 1974) before the Carter administration normalized relations with Beijing on Dec. 15, 1978. One of the major issues involved China’s support for the CPP/NPA/NDF: Marcos wanted it cut, and Beijing agreed to cut it. In contrast, today’s coalition government under DU30 expects the PLA to support the building of a socialist state, along with the communist parties of North Korea, India, Peru, Germany, Australia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia.

RH, population control, and foreign policy ‘independence?’
Some other Cabinet members trumpet their support for DU30’s “independent foreign policy” by aggressively pushing the Reproductive Health Law and other population control measures, which have become the primary exports of the Obama administration. They denounce the Americans for their unpunished crimes during the colonization of the Philippines, but they want to impose measures that will result in colonizing the souls of the Filipinos. Proof that only intelligence, not stupidity or foolishness, has its limits.

Russell narrated what he told Yasay, but he gave no indication of what Yasay said in reply, and whether or not he and Magsamen were satisfied with it. In his own press interview, Yasay said he had told his interlocutors that the Philippines only wanted to “expand its trade and investment relations with other countries who share the same principle,” or words to that effect. He was ecstatic about the successful trip. DU30, accompanied by a party of 522, came home with a $24-billion package in investment and credit facilities, prompting one supporter of the President to quip: “How much did the US pay Spain in 1898 to relinquish the Philippines under the Treaty of Paris—a measly $20 million?”

Unsurprisingly unresponsive
Yasay was clearly not responsive. Russell and his Pentagon colleague did not come to ask him why DU30 would like to expand ties with China; this was not only HIS right and prerogative but also a genuinely good move that promised enormous trade, investments, technological, cultural and other South China/West Philippine Sea, which the previous administration had tried to feed on a diet of so much animosity and belligerence. DU30 deserves every credit for it.

But one very important question must be answered. Should the desire for improved relations with China come at the expense of good relations with the US? Did DU30 have to make his China visit the venue and platform for declaring his “separation” from the US?

“It should be addition, not subtraction,” Russell said. “We don’t want countries to have to choose between the United States and China—but we do want countries to have choices, to have autonomy. To make their own decisions in keeping with democratic values and keeping with international law.”

A lifetime experience
The Chinese gave DU30 the most lavish reception he has ever received in his life. He could never forget it. They made him feel like he was the most important person in the world. I wasn’t there to witness the event, but I was part of the Marcos presidential entourage that opened diplomatic relations with China in 1975. It was also a lifetime experience. Aside from being received by Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou En Lai, we were officially attended to by Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, who later became the leader of China after Mao and Zhou.

So warm and infectious was the hospitality that President Marcos, who was an absolute teetotaler, (he neither drank nor smoked) was forced to drink the Chinese mao tai for the ceremonial toast, after our host said, “Between two enemies a single drop of mao tai is too much, but between two friends, not all the mao tai in the world is enough.” Once raised, the toasts continued without let-up, and by the time we were in Shanghai, the wine had begun to show in the abstemious President’s face, and he began to hum along with the Chinese.

That visit became such an important part of Philippines-China relations that on my last trip to Shanghai a few years ago, I suddenly found myself receiving special attention, after someone said that he recognized me from the official photos of that visit in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. I am curious to find out if those pictures are still on the wall.

Bongbong’s and Imee’s presence
DU30 got an added boost from the presence of former Senator Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos and his sister Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, who received a rousing ovation from the Filipinos and Chinese in the audience. This led DU30 to refer to Bongbong as the future Vice President—-should he win his current electoral protest, he added. (Bongbong was leading the vice presidential race in the last elections, until he was mysteriously overtaken by Leni Robredo, the Liberal Party candidate whose presidential standard bearer had lost to DU30.)

But the financial package from China is what would probably make DU30’s visit more memorable than any. It beats Cory Aquino’s historic visit to the US in September of 1986.

Cory’s US state visit
She flew into Washington D.C. to a massive welcome by the US government and the press as the new “icon” of democracy. On Capitol Hill, where she addressed the joint session of Congress, the gentlemen wore yellow shirts or neckties and yellow roses on their lapels, while the ladies had something yellow around them. Yellow was Cory’s political color; the Congress looked like a costume ball.

In her speech, believed to have been ghost written by the future chairman of Smartmatic, Lord Mark Malloch Brown, Cory said, “Has there been a greater test of national commitment to the ideals you hold dear than that my people have gone through? You have spent many lives and much treasure to bring freedom to many lands that were reluctant to receive it. And here you have a people who won it by themselves and need only the help to preserve it.”

Cory received prolonged applause throughout her delivery and a standing ovation at the end. After a day or so, a resolution was moved in the House to grant the Philippines $200 million in increased economic aid. But when the measure went up to the Senate, Senate majority leader Bob Dole called it the “biggest honorarium in history,” and led the Senate to vote against it, 51 to 43.

DU30 did not have to deliver an eloquent speech to get his package. All he had to do was talk about “separating” from the US and the Chinese applauded, while the members of his Cabinet tried to sink in their seats, since there was no space under the table where they could hide their heads.

The Japanese state visit
It now remains to be seen how the Japanese government will receive him on his current visit. The Japanese are not like the Chinese; they are such sticklers for protocol, beginning with the manner of speech and dress. On Marcos’s last state visit to Japan, we were billeted at Akasaka Palace and had to observe imperial protocol. We had a minor crisis on the first day, when we were advised that we would have to wear a morning suit for the first activity, and no one had bothered to pack one for the President. In fact, there was no one on the President’s staff who seemed to know the distinction between black tie and white tie, tails and morning suit.

But DU30’s more important problem will certainly come from his dialogue with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who would like to listen to his grievances against the US. Perhaps DU30 could ask Abe: As the Prime Minister of the only nation that was atom-bombed twice by the Americans during the Pacific War, how is he able to remain America’s strongest Pacific ally? This might change his view of the world, and he might come home a much different man.

fstatad@gmail.com

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21 Comments

  1. Pilandok thinks he owns the Phil..Maybe his cohorts should remind him of Preamble and recite it for him.

  2. That’s easy Mr. Kit T, the Japanese value honor over life.

    The US incinerated and vaporized millions of Japanese in fire and atomic bombings, all that could be forgotten and forgiven by the Japanese as long as the US kept its promise to honor the emperor by not treating him as a war criminal. Which the US did, that’s how Japan and the US became allies ever since.

    The quirk of the Filipino is that we are the reverse we value life over honor, usually. Better to be sidekick of bully China than cannon fodder of longtime treaty ally U.S.

  3. The search for a clarification, you asked Sec. Kit Tatad. Is it clarification you need or creation confusion and doubt among the common filipinoes? You are spinning Mr. DU30 statement and explanation on separation with USA. Mr.DU30 has been clear about his dislike with USA whether because of his leftist leaning or past heinous crime committed by US army. By the way, remember Jabiddah massacre involving the Marcos administration. Mr. DU30 noted a disrespect by leader of great country and esteemed organization to the whole filipino population calling him. the president of sovereign country, a monstrous executioner allowing the genocide of a of people group . The president of the country represent the people of hat country. Mr. DU30’s point he does not care insult on him but he would die for his country and the filipino people. As our national anthem states “ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo”. A nationalistic attribute on the part of Mr. DU30. I can attest to the effect, wherein americans would asked me on the comment of Mr DU30 statement with a look of how dare such a president of a such a country has a gall to separate with a great country like the USA. It make me feel an ungrateful foreign. I have to explain the issues to them. Thankfully most of them does not agree with this american president.

    Mr. DU30 also claimed that he was threaten by the leader of the USA of withhelding aids to the Philippines. I don’t understand, you question Mr. DU30 intentions and statements but you never fact check or investigate the validity of Mr. DU30’s claim. I, myself doesn’t like to be threaten of taking away something to get me succumb to anyone . This would only make me stand up and empower me to prove I don’t need your handouts. I will find me another way to help myself. It is arrogance of a powerful leader another country to demand subservience by threatening to take away aids. Mr DU30 pivot to China is understandable. Economic separation.

    Mr DU30 claimed of being a peacetime president. He has provide the uselessness of obtaining military weapon because of the great powers would like to make war with each other there is no way a small country like my philippines would be able to standup to any of them. How about protecting our interest from country like China? We still need USA to help us. Yes, there is no way we can stand to China. There is always diplomacy to look to. I believe that is wise on the part of Mr. DU30 to do that. He hit ,I would say, 2 birds with one stone. He open an economic path and clarify our claim to disputed island. On the part of military separation with USA, I believe the USA would respect their commitment to My Philippines upon request by the President. I always believe that America and it’s people are the most charitable country in the world. Also again, I will caution about the action of the Obama administration. Remember the red line Obama promise in Syria. Obama never acted on that promise. Let us pray we will have a better usa president. Thank you

  4. Baka naman po simple lamang ang kasagutan sa tanong:

    After World War II, the United States also understood the strategic importance of using foreign assistance and other tools to aid and rebuild post-war Japan. Between 1946 and 1952, Washington invested $2.2 billion — or $18 billion in real 21st-century dollars adjusted for inflation — in Japan’s reconstruction effort. That amounts to more than one-third of the $65 billion in goods that the United States exported to Japan in 2013. (America’s proud history of post-war aid).

    In comparison, the US gave the Philippines $803 million aid and grant from 1945 – 1953.

  5. P.Du30 is compromising the national interest through his seemingly interminable bad mouthing against the US, the EU, and the UN, who questioned his government’s unprecedented EJK record.

  6. How could tatad interfer with another country affair. Are moron Tatad you are growing in a reverse direction. There are alot of much needed fruitful dicussion why you ask about hiroshima it is not the business of our President to ask that question idiot.

  7. Your Question about the A Bomb is beyond Foolish!!

    WWII between the Americans and Japanese was a war of attrition. Over 54,000 dead on Okinawa alone. if the Allies invaded mainland Japan Millions more Americans and Japanese would have probably been killed.

    According to your Stupid Question would it have have been better for you if the Americans never fought to liberate the Philippines from Japan? Perhaps you enjoy speaking Japanese and would Love to Serve the Japanese Emperor today, ONLY IF he had his policies from BEFORE WWII?

    The Americans helped to Rebuild Japan and Germany and the Philippines after the war. The Philippines was no longer a U.S. Territory on July 4, 1946, Japan and Germany are now world economic powers. What happened to the Philippines? Corrupt Government has not helped for the last 70 years.

    I applaud DU30 efforts to make the Philippines a World Economic power in Southeast Asia similar to Singapore and Vietnam. If DU30 wants the U.S. Military out of the Philippines, that is ok too. If China or Russia wants to fly their flags at the Palace in Manila because the Philippines is NOT able to pay back their loans then I hope AFP can fight them off of Philippine soil or you may get your wish of speaking Japanese, Chinese or Russian. Good Luck!

    No reason for DU30 to Burn Bridges with the U.S. because of his own personal problems that he experienced. Either way, I feel the Philippines is cable of being their own power in Southeast Asia without foreign aid or military. To do this they will need to end corruption (DU30 is now trying) and make additional friends around the world without forgetting who has helped them the best they could during the last 70 years.

  8. The SAKANGS’ words are their vows to the point that fingers or stomachs are sliced to show proof of atonement if these words were minced. What THE BRAVE ONE DU30 will hear from them THE BRAVE ONE DU30 will receive.
    THE BRAVE ONE DU30 is a catalyst of sort in this modern times where world status is measured by the number of nukes in the silos, not to THE BRAVE ONE DU30 he has RP strategic location plus citizens that already have suffered much . THE BRAVE ONE DU30 has no nukes hidden but only has the aspirations of millions of Filipinos to seek greater heights in life…I pray for him to succeed….

  9. Maybe you should ask duterte why he wants to visit and deal with japan?
    He made a big issue of the Us killings more than 100 years ago, but during the Japanese occupation in that same war….Japanese soldiers where given bonuses for beheading Filipino’s and catching Filipino baby’s on their manchetes.
    When you refer to killings in the far past, He should refer to this one too.

  10. Koko Celebredo on

    I am more concerned in Duterte convincing Japan to separate from the US as well and join AIIB, and assure them enough gold to aid them in their failing economy if they do shove US away.

    Japan now has negative interests and its economy will surely fall, when the big US recession comes. Japan recently was forced to dump money into Worl Bank to help US in its recession just to keep Japan into another Fukushima incident.

  11. Some time smart columnist become freaking dull, coz everything they just made their paragraph decorated & full of MSG to taste better..

    mr. Tatad do you think Japan bacame an allied to US by just nodding thier head. Like a small boy?
    And after recalling the Hiroshima they have to hate America? What a poor opinion!

  12. why? because first, China and Russia are historical enemies of Japan and she need the US defense umbrella against this 2 regional powers close to its borders. Japan also has territiorial disputes with the 2 powers. However, the Japanese people does not want and like the presence of US forces and bases in their soil. they have been protesting these bases and asked the US forces to leave but the US wont and the Japanese government like them to stay for Japan security and if you add North Korea to the equation it becomes more strategic and necessary. But if without these 2 threats for sure Japan would have asked the US to leave long time ago. the same is true with South Korea. Now has this apply to us in Philippines? your analysis is of course as good as majority maybe for the US to stay.

  13. America did not add Philippine as another state but instead gave the country her independence. Japanese have the discipline that is why they are now one of the one of the wealthiest nations. They were devastated but aligned themselves with democratic countries. Follow their path.

  14. Should the desire for strong relations with America come at the expense of good relations with China? Under the unlamented Boy Sayad administration, the answer was an unequivocal yes. This is what Duterte is changing, and he brought home a 24Billion package. What is there not to like about this, since as you narrated in your article, the Americans even denied a measly $200Million honorarium to their most favored president ever, Boy Sayad’s mother Cory? Duterte has revived the Unfinished Revolution of 1898, and the Brown Americans in this country are apoplectic with rage. Either one is a Brown American, or a modern day version of Los Indios Bravos. If FM were alive, Im sure he would be standing behind Duterte. Is it that hard to decide with whom you will stand?

  15. His trip to Japan is purely economics and trade. If someone on the Japanese side injected the political doctrine of the USA then we will see how good our President to demolished that kind of situation in our budding separation of foreign policy. I admire this President who is willing to sacrifice his honor, life and the Presidency just for the welfare of the Filipinos and to our country. He is the first among the past Presidents and also Ramon Magsaysay in his grave will stand up and applaud for his dedication to be of service to the Filipino people and no other past President/s have done what he is doing during the early years of his tenure. Long live PDU30.

  16. DU30 is a smart man. Japan and the PH leaders will discuss things beneficial to both and will resolve any item between them. The people of both nations want to see friendship become stronger.

  17. To Mr. Tatad : Why did you bomb Hawaii even before declaring war to the United States ? Again to Mr Tatad, iwithout Horoshima, thousands and thousands soldiers will be dead because this force the Japanese to surrender. Also, this shows that US can be mean and ugly too. We thinked it is only Duterte that is mean. Watch the next few months what the US will do to our poor country.

  18. DU30 should be cautious about Japan’s history with China when dealing with the Japanese. After all, he had pledged his allegiance to the Chinese.