Like I’ve said, it is not often that I take a look inside American politics, not unless I find the headline interesting. Interesting is where might be relevant information or matters that could affect Filipinos and the Philippines.
Latest interesting in American politics is the increase of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Possibility is that the Americans might find themselves bled further in there. Then, probability is that they will be drawn in there for long like what happened to them in Vietnam. They’re none of our business, right.
Relevance is that U.S.A. happened to be a friend of the Philippines accorded special Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA] which is not usual treatment, not usually accorded with all other friends and neighbors. Real cosy, people will say of Philippine – U.S.A. relation.
Politics is not always facts and reality. Sometimes it’s all impressions and perceptions. I remember former Senator Barack Obama during the preliminary with Ms Hillary Clinton. He impressed me as one who will pull out immediately all American troops in foreign soils if elected President. Now that he is President, the U.S. continuing acts of troop build up in Afghanistan have straightened that [mis]impression out. No, I did not find the reality any surprising.
A President shapes a nation; a Nation shapes a President
George Bush, Bill Clinton, down all U.S. Presidents, or what everyone was in their time, were each product of American politics and economics, the result or the summary of all interactions by all social forces in American society. A nation exerts on an individual. It will take the strongest will by any President to make any marked deviation from the past by ignoring all the pulls and pressures around him. Personal and party interests might have to be set aside by one to do what he believes is right than follow what he feels is a wrong dictate. Such deviation would be surprising. It would not be unprecedented. But, OK, right and wrong there is matter between the American people and their President.
Marked deviation may be some forms of rectification or they can be revolutionary. One attempt at making a big difference was Ferdinand E. Marcos. He called his visions Today’s Revolution–Democracy [National Democratic Revolution from the Top]. He found himself resisted left and right – by forces who wanted revolutionary change by themselves, and from established political-economic powers that he dismantled and or tried to rein-in and regulate. It was one situation that must have been foreseen and anticipated. President Marcos had Martial law declared at an opportunity as the means. And, with Congress abolished, programs were easily implemented through decrees. There were big flaws with FM’s rule, however, that finally caught up with him in EDSA I.
But, back to Uncle Sam as affecting others, what has Uncle Sam been trying to show the world in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don’t think they’re good ideas applicable in my neighborhood here in Payatas, or for anybody to apply in any neighborhood. I don’t buy and I won’t sell what I’ve seen in there. Like, I don’t think I have rights to barge in any of my neighbors, take side in their internal conflicts and beat up anyone there. Or, just barge in anywhere in the neighborhood and beat up anybody that I dislike or I’m at odds with.
We simply have to wait and see. I hope that President Obama will not be as hostile to international law as President Bush was. President Bush was a swaggering cowboy. I do not know if he had any academic qualifications for the post because he can’t seem to understand international law. The United States cannot act unilaterally unless it has the support of a Security Council resolution. It cannot be the policeman of the world.
By contrast, President Obama has already announced that he has a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq . That is a good sign because Iraq is the Vietnam of our days. That is going to be a deep hole that the Americans has dug for themselves, and unless President Obama seizes the initiative, they might stay in that hole for a long time.// excerpt Senator Miriam D. Santiago, 21 January 09 archives
By the way, maybe you have noticed that I don’t usually insert images with my posts. I like pictures actually. Pictures speak more than all words put together about them. But a picture slows down loading of page especially for connections that use low kbps rate transfer, that’s why. Currently I have 5 posts per Post-page for my setting. [My Media says 33 images in there but except for one, they’re all inserted as links.] The one and only picture you’ll find posted in here is that of President Barack Obama. First, because I think he is one extra-ordinary historical figure who deserves it. Also, I saw the background of the picture to be quite interesting.
I guess, it’s not President Barack Obama’s fault why America has got enemies. And why Uncle Sam has got enemies is Uncle Sam’s business. Maybe Uncle Sam has got rights to pursue his enemies anytime. Maybe he’s got all rights. But, again it’s his business. It is the business of the American people.
Meanwhile, taking Uncle Sam for what he is, I think VFA needs rethinking by the Filipinos. The Philippines has problem with home-grown insurgencies and terrorism already. But as shown by history, Government has very well handled its problem of security. And as always, Jemaah Islamiah, Al Qaeda, et al have no business in the Philippines. Therefore, they, to include all other illegal aliens, are off-limits, too. Our laws have always been adequate against illegal aliens. Our front door has always been wide open to foreigners. The Filipino people can stand or should stand on their own feet. What I’m also up to is, that last thing Filipinos want is when the country becomes a battle ground by all kinds of visiting forces!
Throwing everybody out never meant considering them as enemies. They don’t mean the start of the end of co-operations between and among neighbors and friends. Fact is, we also have our own national interests to protect. We are not at war with any of our neighbors. We have none of them for an enemy. Nor do we have any intention of seeking some.
What is good with US–RP Visiting Forces Agreement for the Filipinos, anyway? There is the rape case of Corporal Daniel Smith for one. And I think the issue is beyond the question of custody of him and his likes. I mean, maybe Corporal Smith and Mr Laden can meet somewhere else but never in Philippine soil. And, Filipinos have already their hands full at domestic war to be playing proxies in some international conflicts.
Don’t you think VFA needs some re-thinking, folks?