Terms of Abomination: The PH-US-China shuffle

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IF the United States has been Uncle Sam to us Filipinos, since practically the 1900s, then China is the proverbial Big Brother dating back to the 13th Century. But in the current scheme of geopolitics over the South China Sea, the relationships have become more complicated.

Washington and Beijing are now sources of some of our anxiety.

It is obvious the US will not draw its gun in the holster unless its interests are directly threatened by China’s moves, acting with such haste and determination in the Spratlys, filling massive reclamation with sand and building infrastructure so fast that even before the rest of the world can bat an eyelash, Beijing has already cemented its occupation of our territory.

All we Filipinos can do is run to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice and cite our rights under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea, all because Big Brother is behaving aggressively.


Beijing is missing out on global sentiment, not that it couldn’t care less but it sees no pressing need to soothe our–and our fellow Asean countries’– frayed nerves. It is acting out not the sentiment of a big brother but of the neighborhood bully.

In Washington, the Obama Administration is letting loose the canons of rhetoric by saying in no uncertain terms it is “concerned” — not worried — about China’s bullying tactics in the region, specifically referring to the land reclamations. Alas, that is all that Uncle Sam can do for us.

Given our haplessness over what is happening to our sovereignty, the time is ripe for our foreign policy people to get back on the drawing board and come up with a more strategic approach to Big Brother. China’s foreign ministry has said the work in the islands would eventually be for the good of all, primarily because the infrastructure would serve as a safe haven for the shipping industry in times of extremely bad weather.

Can we swallow our pride without choking on it and listen to what Big Brother is really saying despite its blatant disregard of such diplomatic terms as sovereign rights, which in this case are our rights and those of our Asean brethren?

For that matter, can Beijing take on a civil approach toward us?

Based on the latest data from the Department of Treasury/Federal Reserve Board, Beijing is Washington’s biggest creditor holding $1.239 trillion worth of US treasury securities as of January 2015.

We also know that the combined forces of the People’s Liberation Army, People’s Liberation Army Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force is the largest military in the world, with 2.3 million active personnel, an estimated 500,000 in reserves. That is according to the Sydney, Australia-based Lowy Institute for International Policy.

The Lowy Institute also notes that “To a large degree, the modernization of China’s armed forces has been fueled by its rapid economic growth over the last quarter century, with spending on the military increasing every year since 1994. In 2014 China announced a 12.2 percent increase in military spending to $131.57 billion.”

China’s $3.84 trillion in foreign exchange reserves as of end-December 2014, is also the largest in the world, according to data Beijing released in January.

In dealing with Big Brother, we must come to grips with the fact that our own backyard is in shambles, and most of our politicians and bureaucrats are corrupt. The praise releases from Malacañang and its line ministries can never redeem our people from their misery, and international arbitration may take years if not decades to come up with a final decision on such issue as big as sovereignty in South China Sea.

We must come up with a group of technocrats, unsullied by politics, whose raison d’etre shoulders the responsibility of dealing with a superpower that does not care about UNCLOS and international arbitration.

The output of such a group can be measured in terms of progress in getting China to open up in terms of its real motives in the Spratlys, for instance, and how we Filipinos may work with our Chinese brothers in making the world a better place.

This may be a bitter pill to swallow at this point, but it’s never too late especially when the future of our 7,200 islands and 100 million people is at stake.

Big Brother, you must stop acting like the neighborhood bully. You must give us little brothers the chance to grow and be a part of this world order you are trying to create.

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6 Comments

  1. Edwin C. Yanzon on

    How can we modernize our military when our leaders & politicians are so corrupt. Example are DND Sec Juan Ponce Enrile & AFP Chief of Staff Fabian Ver and the leaders before them and of course our leaders of today and maybe tomorrow. So what do we do now? Uncle Sam will not help us unless their interest are threatened. This country needs a cleansing process even if its late. We have the right to eliminate all those who robbed us including those in the judiciary. It is a given fact that the two other branches of government are corrupt a long time ago. Peaceful revolution? No way. The EDSA revolt did not change this country. The buwayas are back with vengeance a long time ago.

  2. Regis Seaman on

    Please get you facts correct. Beijing is NOT Washington’s biggest creditor holding $1.239 trillion worth of US treasury securities as of January 2015. China is the largest holder of FOREIGN owned debt. China hold less than 7% of US TOTAL DEBT, which is $18 Trillion Dollars.

  3. What we have here is a failure to communicate? The interest of the US is to keep the sea lanes open and since 90% of the world’s commerce is shipped over the worlds oceans then it would be the interest of all the countries in the world. If the sea lanes are restricted then the gun gets pulled. China’s terms were communicated long ago and no one listened. Especially, the Philippines. From 1992 until 2012 the PH has not modernized its military one iota. 20 years?!!! Weak, vulnerable and dependent, whose fault is that? If the Philippines had modernized and established its own garrisons on these islands, this crisis would not have materialized to the extent it is right now. Peace is not attainable without a capable military. Here are the terms that establish and maintain peace and national security; treasure, blood, sweat, and tears. The terms of abomination for the PH is to cut a deal with China and they will dictate the terms.

    • right on target john. as long as the crooks run the country it will remain the sickman of Asia with no Airforce and vintage Navy.

  4. sonny dela cruz on

    The United States government is very concernED on what is happening in the reclamation of islet in the China sea. The national interest of the United states is being threathenED because the building of military structure in the islet signified China’s intention to control the international sea lane, ships passing through China sea especially the United States armada when they response to conflict in the middle east war, stop the passage of oil tankers that supply oil to the western world The China government also wants to control the air space above the China sea. These are not acceptable to the US interest. The Philippines should support the US effort to curtail the Chinese wrongful activities by letting all the forces of the US to be stationED in the Philippines. Japan government wants to base their forces in the Philippines to help the country against China if war breaks soon. Definitely there will be war because China thinks they are now superior because of their Military modernization. They boAst that they have millions of soldiers to sacrifiCE. The Philippines should prepare a contingency plan to fight when called upon by the allied forces.

  5. bakit yong mga mahilig mag rally ay tahimik dito lalo na yong mga walang magawa kundi mang gulo sa pilipnas.bantayan ninyo yan tuwing kataapusan ng buwan kung pumopunta ngchina town (ongpin)para kumuha ng check nila .mga walang hiya..