Circumspection is urgently demanded of the nation at this hour. If there is anything of value Rodrigo Duterte has achieved in his first 100 days as Philippine President, it is his having, albeit unwittingly, crystallized the true state of affairs the country has been brought into. It needs a level-headed assessment of the Duterte performance to be able to realize the picture of woe and horror he paints.
I think I had greatly sensed this development happening to the Philippines when Syria suddenly erupted in civil strife ignited by a popular call beginning 2011 for President Assad to resign. Assad would not listen to the call but instead countered democratic protests with brute military force. In no time at all, the civil disturbances degenerated into the conflagration that rages to this day.
Moved by stories and photographs of the widespread destruction and deaths in the Syrian civil war – oh, even children and babies getting wounded, maimed and killed in a conflict they in their innocence couldn’t even understand – I wrote a piece particularly for the blogsite Get Real Post entitled Syrian Civil War: Marcos in Retrospect.
The article began with the proposition: “Given the turmoil obtaining in Syria at this hour, Marcos could be the kindest President the Philippines has ever had. What the Philippines was during those four days, February 22 to 25, in 1986 was what had Syria become first quarter of 2011. Decades-old regimes had begun falling across the Middle East either as a result of sheer civil unrest, as in Egypt where mass protests on the streets forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign, or where demos and rallies proved insufficient to force the perceived dictators to step down, a certain degree of armed action became necessary as in Libya where it needed a civil war to topple Muammar Gaddafi and get him killed. Certainly the gravest of all these downfalls was that of Sadam Hussein that required the costly Iraqi war, both in terms of destructions to infrastructure and human casualties, to bring about.
“If, then, Assad were at the helm of the Philippine nation in those four days of February 1986, the country could have been reduced to shambles as many parts of Syria have since the civil unrest early 2011 escalated into a civil war. With Assad’s intransigence in clinging to power, there is no visible end to the bloodshed and devastation that are getting worse in Syria everyday.
“Looking back now, I ask if it was not to the country’s fortune that Marcos did not have that much intransigence.
The nation saw on television how then AFP Chief Fabian Ver was urging President Marcos to have tanks moving in and disperse the thousands that had already massed on EDSA — certainly implying firepower. But President Marcos cut him short, ordering instead to use water hoses or any some such method, but never guns.
“And thus did the EDSA uprising of 1986 go down in history as a peaceful people power revolt. It would be the height of political naivette to believe so.
“The EDSA rising turned peaceful because Marcos refused to use guns.”
Still in light of the Syrian civil war, I regard Duterte’s pronouncements and actuations now with urgent concern. They are virtually Assad’s own.
Duterte, for instance, goes bravely vocal with his cusses of US President Obama, Assad did it to Obama years ago
Interview of Assad
Duterte slams the United Nations, Assad has done it, too.
And now the Syrian civil war is threatening to be the powder keg for exploding World War III. An admission by Pentagon to this effect is contained in an article published in the website Deprogram Yourself www.Facebook.com/DeprogramYourself (which, being an open source, gives permission of reprint of its articles.) Here’s quoting pertinent portions of that article.
“The dispute on the South China Sea has severely damaged the United States relations with the People’s Republic of China. After the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, and its land reclamation activities on islets are invalid and unlawful, the United States has been preparing to sail in the area under a so-called Freedom of Navigation principle (FON).
“This has angered the Chinese. In August, the Chinese Defense Minister, Chang Wanquan told his country’s citizens to prepare for, what he described as the people’s war at sea. Mr. Wanquan was referring directly to the United States planned provocation under the pretext of FON. China has since vowed to take all necessary measures available to protect its sovereignty over the South China Sea, revealing that it had the right to set up an air defense zone on the sea.
“China has also since been positioning and testing its nuclear weapons, and planning military drills on its waters with Russia. Even the United States has confirmed that China has tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, which is capable of striking everywhere in the world within half an hour.
“Moving away from the South China Sea, we arrive in Syria. It is an open secret that the civil war in Syria is a proxy war between the United States and Russia. Russia has even intervened physically on the request of the Syrian government. The United States, unable to get any invitation, has been openly and secretly arming many rebel groups in the country, with open plans to overthrow the Syrian government…
“The United States has announced that it has ended all contacts with Russia in Syria. This announcement by the United States comes as Russia, beginning on Sept. 22, intensified its military operations in Syria, with the intentions to capture the city of Aleppo for the Syrian government. Diplomatic efforts to put an end to the fighting in Syria have collapsed…
Pentagon officials have admitted that WW III is imminent, and that it [is]going to be deadly and fast. The military generals were speaking on a future-of-the-army panel in Washington.
“A conventional conflict in the near future will be extremely lethal and fast, and we will not own the stopwatch,” Maj. Gen. William Hix said.
“His comments were also echoed by Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson and Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, who described war between nation states as almost guaranteed.
In the context of the foregoing, there is an urgent need for the nation not to get emotional on Duterte as we all seem to be in criticizing his every move. The President’s words and actions must not be taken at their face value. Rather, they must be studied as indications of deeper meanings. His foul language, his war on drugs, his cussing of world dignitaries and his threat of shifting alliances in foreign relations – these are phenomena that are not separate and apart from one another but are closely intertwined to make for one cohesive whole.
So the question is now asked if Duterte, by his avowed intransigence like Assad’s in dealing with internal conflicts and in handling international relations particularly with the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, is not early on in his administration bringing the Philippines closer to the civil war scenario of Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin has now openly expressed favor of Duterte’s actions. This is truly frightening. All talks of ending hostilities in Syria between Russia and the US have stopped. Russia has begun asking its citizens in US and in Europe to go home.
If World War III is truly imminent, then Duterte’s falling into the ambit of Russia might just be the spark to bring about internal chaos and disturbances necessary for the Philippines to serve the purpose of triggering World War III this side of the Asia-Pacific region as Syria did it already in the Middle East.