Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Becoming more independent does not mean becoming an enemy of the US

To be an independent country, we don’t just need an independent economy, we need an independent military. We cannot forever be dependent on the US for our defense. President Duterte is starting to break this dependence and it is natural that the US would be unhappy because it means they lose control.

Superpowers maintain control by creating a co-dependent relationship. For instance, before the US “granted” independence to the Philippines after WW II, they made sure to bind the Philippine economy tightly to theirs so it could not survive on its own. No local industries were developed during the colonial period so the Philippines would have to keep importing finished goods from the US.

Becoming more independent does not mean becoming an enemy of the US. It just means building more alliances with other countries so we’re not too dependent on one. Problema sa US, masyadong selosa. Nasanay na sino-solo ang Pilipinas. Problema naman sa ibang pinoy, masyadong starstruck sa ‘kano, hindi maka-let go. Pero tama ang ginagawa ni Duterte, kailangan marami tayong kaalyado—Russia, China, Japan, etc.—in addition to America. Para hindi tayo gawing kaladkarin ng isa.

Problema lang kay Duterte, laging golpe de gulat ang ginagawa niya, in public pa. He should have talked to diplomats and defense officials on both the US and Philippine sides first before publicly stating that he doesn’t want American troops in Mindanao.

This was actually quite a rational decision, but as usual, his spokespersons could not articulate the reasons properly. The AFP said that there are actually only just a handful of American military personnel left in Mindanao (about 100). Now, if the Abu Sayyaf tries to go after them because they are high-value kidnapping targets, dadagdag pa sila sa sakit ng ulo ng AFP. I think our Constitution forbids foreign troops from engaging in battle in Philippine soil, so talagang magulo yan if the Abu Sayyaf decides to go after the Americans.

But of course, neither the local yellow media nor the international media bothered to dig deeper and understand the logic behind Duterte’s statement. Nagwala na kaagad. In a way, I don’t blame them, kasi magulo talaga si Duterte magsalita, pabigla-bigla pa. But this is why his communications team really needs to be on their toes. I’m sure Martin Andanar and Ernie Abella are working very hard and making huge sacrifices. But they really need to add an experienced analyst/strategist to their team because understanding and explaining these complex issues is not their forte.

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