My friend W. Scott Thompson is always a good read. A Philippine and Asian expert, Scott has a good pulse on local events and its possible global repercussions. In my April 25, 2010 column (The Yankee Phobic GMA regime), your Chair Wrecker wrote the following backgrounder from Scott’s online bio:
1. W. Scott Thompson was a member of both the Ford and Reagan Administrations, has been adjunct professor of International Politics at Georgetown University and on the faculty of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He also is president of Strategic Research Associates, an international consulting firm, dealing today with issues of corruption, and chairman of the Board of UTICo, a Massachusetts company specializing in repatriation of laundered and stolen funds to clients, including banks, investors, corporations, and governments.
2. A graduate of Stanford and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar from California, Prof. Thompson has regularly lectured on defense, Third World, corruption and communication issues, before various forums including international conferences. He is the author and editor of numerous books and articles on foreign policy and governance.
3. In 1982-1984 he served the Reagan Administration as associate director, US Information Agency and in 1975-1976 was assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He has been consultant to the State and Defense Departments and to the US Navy. In 1975-1976 he was a White House Fellow. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and International Institute for Strategic Studies and numerous other organizations.
4. Dr. Thompson has advised two Filipino presidents, its National Security Council, and four Filipino cabinet members, on the matter of searching for and repatriating funds stolen during the Marcos dictatorship. He has similarly consulted with the Thai foreign minister and the previous prime minister on this, as he has the Attorney General of Indonesia and specialized agencies of the Indonesian government established to seek illegally obtained moneys and properties.
In his April 29, 2012 New Straits Times article (The Philippines wouldn’t mind some Chinese shell shock), Scott felt that China gravely miscalculated in this Scarborough Shoal row. He wrote: “My own feeling is that the Chinese miscalculated. For nine years, the president, the unlamented Gloria Arroyo, let the Chinese have whatever they wanted, in return for personal favors — like the incredible broadband project, which allegedly carried with it a 50 percent cut to the first family (or more) and blew up in their faces.”
Scott added: “Washington has a president whose view of the world didn’t start with Europe, like every predecessor of his. Europe’s shine was dimming anyway. He started in Asia, having spent his boyhood in Jakarta and Hawaii. It gives that global map a different perspective. And interestingly, that perspective corresponded with the real trend in world politics, everything shifting perceptibly to Asia.”
“Now some of the smartest Filipinos are saying that the best thing the Chinese could do for the Philippines is to blast its coast from its vastly superior navy. The country is already showing a rare unanimity and nationhood over the confrontation at the Scarborough Shoal in what Manila calls the West Philippine Sea. If Beijing not only bared its fangs but let loose the cannon, the whole world would react — on Manila’s side. The “work in progress” of building a really coherent Filipino nation would benefit enormously. Already Manila has said that its Balikatan (shared effort) exercises with the United States Navy would proceed, even as Beijing blames them anew for causing the rumpus.” Scott wrote.
Scott further elaborated: “So, when a senior Filipino adviser said that he hoped Beijing “bombs the hell out of us, because then the Philippines becomes a united nation”, he meant it. And of course he knows the consequences. ASEAN tightens up, solidarity all around, and Obama doubles the base in Darwin and Manila, renews long dormant but never dead ties (and tons of military assistance to the Philippines).”
“That’s why smarter people in Beijing are having second thoughts; if for nothing else, for timing. It’s too soon for them to start baring the claws.” Scott closed his article.
Although Scott didn’t mention it, a great deal of the Chinese miscalculation was in underestimating the character of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy). P-Noy has been playing his cards right and maintaining equanimity all throughout this crisis. Evidently, P-Noy is no Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom a European ambassador suspects scuttled the MOA-AD after her trip to China.
China shouldn’t underestimate the impact of great leaders that can inspire David victories against bullying Goliaths. The Chinese can read about Leonidas of Sparta and Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam for starters. They should also read about how the Ancient Roman Empire was shocked when their highly touted Ninth Legion disappeared sans a trace in Caledonia, now Scotland. The Chinese should read what Germany’s Otto Von Bismarck said about God marching through history at certain crucial periods. They might become victims of unseen global landscape changing events.
China shouldn’t provoke Filipino greatness. If the Chinese still believe in the fates of nations being influenced by other unworldly powers, they should review the unusual circumstances that led to the rise of this Philippine president.
Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”
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