President Rodrigo Duterte said that the Philippines will not be a US lackey. This is good. The only thing worse than being a US lackey is being a Chinese one. China tends to buy governments like that of Vietnam. Next thing, China acted as if it also bought Vietnam and its surrounding waters.
Some are alarmed at Duterte’s nationalism. They worry he may be deposed. That would bring back a disaster (the past 6 years). And yet every government since Garcia’s Filipino First opposed American dictation with varying expressions of emphasis.
Macapagal had a run-in with America, which opposed his plan to invade and split Borneo with Indonesia. (The US invasion of Vietnam was, that early, turning into a disaster already.)
Marcos tried it too (by organizing Jabidah) but somebody (Abadilla) stole the lunch money of the invasion force that was training on Corregidor. So it was wiped out.
But why not fed instead? I don’t know. Might be a Twist on Oliver! (the musical).
“May I have more soup?”
“More?!?!” said Fagin.
Bang. (Actually, as Ninoy found out and I reported in the Free Press, it was more like RATATATATATATATAT, all but one of the Jabidah recruits falling off a cliff into Manila Bay.)
The Cold War was blazing, so Marcos caved in to the US demand for a Philippine military contingent in Vietnam. Marcos knew it was a bad war but you could not say no to Americans then. They toppled you—and worse, like Ngo Dinh Diem. So Marcos was happy when my father, with Agbayani opposed Philippine participation in the Vietnam War before the Philippine Senate.
Pleading the distinguished local opposition, Marcos sent only an engineering battalion without a combat role. But so the Americans /
got the real message he encouraged my dad to visit Red China—no-no at the height of the Cold War. I tagged along to cover the Cultural Revolution. (I met the writer Alberto Moravia and his wife visiting on the same assignment.)
In her fight to topple the US-backed Marcos dictatorship Cory unleashed a wave of such intense anti-Americanism that her Constitution ended up banning the US bases. (I was in the US meeting American officials to assure them of our abiding friendship, deepened only more by their support of Marcos. I’d say anything to suck up for their support against the military. Naturally, I got apoplectic.)
Later Cory refused to join the coalition of the willing for the liberation of Kuwait because it involved the invasion of Iraq. Kuwait is in the south; Iraq is in the north so why invade? She wondered. She pleaded fear for the safety of millions of OFWs working among Arabs. And thereby earned the eternal enmity of Richard Cheney.
American Boy Fidel Ramos did nothing for the Americans but wave to them goodbye as they left our shores. By then America could not care less. The Cold War was over. Russia was an ally. And China was lending money to the United States.
Erap was ignored in his US visit. Clinton had to beg him to stop his All-Out War against the Muslims. On Assignment for ABSCBN, I covered the hugely successfully military thrust to Abu Bakar. Later we’d find out that there was an American plan—GMA’s Memorandum of Agreement (struck down by the Supreme Court) later Noynoy’s BBL (rejected by Congress thanks to Bongbong Marcos’s spirited and brilliant effort) to carve out a homeland in Mindanao for Muslim terrorists friendly to America.
GMA refused to join the coalition of the shilling (British currency) for another invasion of Iraq. But clever she still got a state visit. Bush doubled the honor with a state visit to the Philippines.
Noynoy was a mystery. He seemed as leery of America as he was hostile to China—and friendly only to Malaysia, a long-time enemy of our country.
So, in Duterte’s vow not to let the Philippines be a lackey of America he has plenty of presidential company.
To be sure, he took the added unprecedented step of insulting the US President. but Obama took it manfully on the chin because of Chee-nah.
So for those who worry about Duterte, thinking of Arbenz in Guatemala, Mosadegh in Iran, and Allende in Chile—all dead, and the coup against Chavez that failed, there’s no cause for worry.
As each Philippine president got more assertive toward America, America became more indifferent to the Philippines. The world was changing. Power was no longer in bases but in armadas and in missiles. With each passing decade the United States remains always 500 years ahead of the rest of the world in armed might and technology.
The US has less and less reason to care about a country of less and less military value, and of zero economic importance to the United States.
Our problem really is facing up to the possibility of China allied with America, finding common ground in putting our country on the altar of their mutual advantage.
You see, the Philippines is like sheep in the Middle East: made love to in the evening but eaten as lamb chops the next day.