How minimal should our 'minimum defense capability' be?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-10-25
Morgan Stanley investment guru Ruchir Sharma said that investments in BRICs (BRIC stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China) are passé and that wise money should focus on TIP — Turkey, Indonesia and the Philippines. An HSBC Research (“The World in 2050”) outlined the basis for calling us a Star Performer. The HSBC “The World in 2050” Report had predicted that our country will become the world’s 16th largest economy by the middle of the century: up 27 places from today.

All these rosy projections are pies in the sky if we continue to be a country that can be bullied by the likes of China. Few will invest in a country that cannot ensure the protection of its own sovereignty. It’s time to carry a very big stick and make good money for all Filipinos.

US Admiral Samuel Locklear III, Chief of the US Pacific Command based in Hawaii, had conveyed to President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) that the US is committed to develop a “minimum defense capability” for the Philippines. Nothing less than a military capability similar to that of Taiwan and Israel should constitute that minimum.

For nearly seven decades now, we have grown wearily accustomed to China’s ranting and threatening Taiwan. If you look at the “tale of the tape” of a China-Taiwan conflict, you’d say that it’s a big mismatch. How come then that China has never applied the iron hand treatment to Taiwan, no different from what they enforced upon Tibet?

The answer is this: China can defeat Taiwan but it’ll be at a very high cost. Taiwan’s military capability, like that of Israel, can inflict serious damage to any adventurer seeking to invade it. You don’t need to match the military capability of China in order to discourage it from bullying you. Just show them that they could get hurt with what little you’ve got and they’ll think twice before bullying you. Then too, there’s the US to reckon with if China invades Taiwan. Taiwan is like a sharp dagger positioned strategically at the underbelly of the Chinese dragon, which symbolizes China.

W. Scott Thompson, geopolitics and defense expert, New York Times and New Straits Times columnist, had noted that the Philippines is a strategic asset to the US and is key to facilitating the protection and maintenance of US military and economic power in Asia. In contrast, Israel is what W. Scott Thompson described as a strategic liability of the US.

Scott drew the dramatic difference between the Philippines and Israel: “Yes, the Philippines lacks the power to blackmail the US government and president, who, as Filipinos will understand, would like to be reelected of (and then guess what his policies will be). The Philippines has something far more important going for it. A long time relationship, shared values, and strategic advantage. Israeli policies are leading potentially to a national disaster for them; Filipino policies are the precise opposite, with a popular president highly regarded in Washington.”

The US has been spending over $123 billion since 1949 to help sustain the state of Israel, a state that never ceases to drag the US into many complicated problems. It’s only fair that we receive a similar support from the US considering that we constitute the center flank of their empire preservation plans in Asia. Without the Philippines, the US might be forced to adopt a defensive posture in Asia against China. In which case, they can kiss their empire goodbye.

Transforming our defense capability to the level of Taiwan or Israel is quite different from the controversial provisions of the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement). In the VFA, we’ve allowed the US to operate in our country. The result of this VFA is that the sovereignty issue bothers us and causes constant friction among us Filipinos. It’s ridiculous to protest against China for encroaching on our sovereignty if we are to allow the US to do the same. Slaves cannot choose their masters.
In attaining a Taiwan or Israel level ‘minimum’ defense capability, we acquire state of the art weaponry and we’re the ones defending our country, not US forces assigned here. In the VFA, we’re mere lackeys of the US. When we attain a Taiwan or Israel level defense capability, we transform into a major military power. With that new status will come stability, international respect and a flood of investments.

We should be alarmed by what US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said before arriving in Tokyo during a recent Asia trip. Panetta stated the dangerous possibility of a Japan-China war over islands that are claimed by both countries and he mentioned that such a Japan-China war could expand.

“I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict,” Panetta said. “And that conflict would then have the potential of expanding.” Panetta added.

Our entertainment addicted media hardly paid attention to Panetta’s warning. They have the time and space for fictional demolitions jobs but not for real geopolitical events that could ruin us.

* * *

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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