Wednesday, December 16, 2015

In terms of National Security and territorial integrity, an issue like Chinese aggression should be one of the main focus of those who run for president.



The Presidentiables for 2016. Source: philstar.com

THE STANCE ON BILATERAL TALKS

Right now, there are several candidates running for high office out there who are beating the drumbeat of, "We can't beat China, so let's have bilateral negotiations." It isn't just Duterte. It's Binay, Marcos, Escudero, and a number of others.

The candidates have to be reminded that the Chinese have made it consistently clear.......they welcome bilateral negotiations, but the Philippines must first drop its case before ITLOS and recognized that China has indisputable sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.

If the candidates did not know that the Chinese are taking such a hard line stance, then that is already one strike against the candidate. For them to seek the responsibilities of higher office, then it is their responsibility to know and be aware of such things.


CRUCIAL DECISIONS: POSSIBILITY AS THE NEXT VICHY FRANCE

If the candidates are aware, then the decision is upon them on what to do next. They could claim that they will hold bilateral negotiations, but not give in to China's preconditions. But then that would indicate that the candidate is just plain naive, because the Chinese have made it clear they will not sit down at the negotiating table until the Philippines recognizes China's ownership of the WPS. The only thing you would be negotiating with is an empty chair.

But then if the candidate says that they will give China what it wants to bring about negotiations, then in effect, there will be no negotiations. What would you be negotiating for? You will have just said that the WPS belongs to them, and always has, and therefore the Philippines never had the right to negotiate to begin with. At best, it would be us getting down on our hands and knees and begging the to let us use what by international law should belong to us, but we let them have it. And there is no reason for the Chinese to even sit down and listen.

And this is very much bound to what each candidate plans to do with defense. Whether the nation continues on its current course or decides to "negotiate", the Chinese will still be there, very much at the gates. If the WPS is lost, there will be an even greater reason to arm up.

That is unless the candidate in question wishes the Philippines to be the 21st century Vichy France, and the candidate wants to be the next Marshal Petain or the next Vidkun Quisling.


THE WEAKEST LINK

To be honest, One would wonder whether some, if not all, the ones who want to negotiate don't foolishly believe that they are going to be able to dictate terms to the Chinese. These candidates concede that we are too weak to face offagainst China. But that would be all the more reason why negotiations won't work. Having a weak defense also means that we have no leverage in a negotiation. Add to that, they publicly say that we are too weak (or China is too strong), therefore we must negotiate.......that doesn't sound like asking to negotiate, it sounds more like asking for China's terms for our surrender.

At least if you build up some semblance of a minimal defense.......you don't have to try to match the Chinese gun for gun, fighter for fighter, ship for ship. But you can build up enough of a force to bloody them up and make them think, "Is it worth it to fight for or bully our way around for this rock, this reef, this atoll, this island, this piece of real estate?" It makes talking and being civilized and reasonable a far better option for them.

Sadly, it seems that these concepts of diplomacy, brinksmanship, negotiation, how to gain leverage, maneuvering for a good position........these things are lost on both the powers that be and those who wish to become one of them.


REFLECTION

The majority are simply do not aware what lies in the horizon, something that really calibrates of what defines a leader for a continuous success and failures this country. Speaking of national issues, this dispute, by my own analysis, should be one of the basis to choose a leader, not to mention that these candidates having their own viewpoints in different aspects or issues that plague the society, not to mention corruption, poverty, and criminality.

Furthermore, each decisions a leader makes has its implications that will perceive the overall personality of the nation and its inhabitants, as well as these power projections and foreign policies that determines one part of the country's development alongside economics and the standard of living. Doing it right, and the people commends and will be proud of it. Doing it wrong, and have this nation gone into doomsday with complaints, incompetency, lack of service, and worse, being a vassal state of another nation without full sense of independence.

Therefore, choosing a leader is like choosing whose side this country will be on. That is, getting aligned to the Left tier which consists of China, Russia, Iran, and others, the Right tier like NATO nations, Japan, and the United States, and of course, the neutral side, in which many people wanted this country to be like. However, with this situation, being neutral is almost impossible to achieve. With the impending 2016 elections, in America or here in the Philippines, it's up to the people to decide on the fate that is life or death of this nation.

~ With Notes from Edrick Masangkay

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