Why Obama is better for the Philippines
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-11-08
All Filipino politicians should emulate the gracious concession speech of losing Republican Party presidential candidate, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. This American election ritual of conceding is a reaffirmation of the democratic process. It allows the passions of the campaign to have closure and moves the nation forward for the more important tasks and challenges ahead.

Romney’s concession speech was devoid of the vitriol and muck racking that characterized the recent US presidential election campaign. In every aspect, Mitt Romney was a statesman during his concession speech. Nothing can be more admirable than a man who knows how to lose.

US president Barack Obama won re-election in one of the most closely contested elections in US history. Fortunately, it was not as controversial as the 2000 George W. Bush victory over Vice President Al Gore that was decided not by the American voters but by the Supreme Court. 2012 was a most unusual election where an incumbent won despite the woeful economic condition of the country — such as a 7.9 percent unemployment rate, among other issues against an incumbent president.

Just like his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama relied on the new untapped voting sectors of America — the youth vote and the non-white voters, notably the Latinos and the Blacks. Obama was able to reinvigorate his 2008 support base to come out and vote. A big turnout favored the Democrats. The margins in the key battleground states were very slim but Obama won majority of those states.

About an hour before CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was to announce the network’s projection that Obama was re-elected, Republican Consultant Alex Castellanos was asked on the panel what he felt about the election results that were pouring in — making things bleaker for Romney. With defeat written all over his face, Castellanos blamed the impending defeat to the “silent majority” the Republicans put their faith on. Castellanos commented that the “silent majority” was not only silent but invisible as well.

The Romney debacle leaves the Republican Party at a very critical state of affairs. Major changes are needed but Conservatives are most reluctant to deviate from comfort zones. The profile of American voters that decided the 2008 as well as 2012 presidential elections dictates that a “new improved Republican Party” should evolve. They must redefine themselves in a new electoral landscape where Blacks, Asians and Latinos have found their voting power. The Republican Party that appeals so well with seniors must learn to embrace the younger voters.

Filipinos should be elated over the Obama victory. Forget about those religion-tainted issues like pro-life. Let clerics fight that out with governments all over the world. Our concern should focus on how a fair and more equitable relationship with the US could help jumpstart our economy and help us in protecting our territory from Chinese threats to take it away from us. Thus far, President Obama has been very supportive in terms of sending strong signals that the US will help the Philippines should China opt to be aggressive. Our armed forces are being upgraded, although not enough to discourage a determined China if they wanted to grab Philippine territory.

The President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) government cannot take sides in an American political exercise but common sense would dictate that we’re better assured with an Obama victory. Already P-Noy and Obama have met several times in international meetings. They’re comfortable with each other and are very familiar with each other’s foreign policy, country needs and expectations.

Under a Mitt Romney administration, there is the grey area that we would be facing. We don’t know exactly what Romney’s foreign policy directions would be insofar as our neck of the woods is concerned. This was never discussed during the three presidential. Romney had also promised to cut unnecessary expenses. We don’t know if he would consider the upgrading of our armed forces as unnecessary expense. It’s better to deal with the devil you know than with the devil that you don’t know, as the old saying goes.

It’s hoped that P-Noy would bat for a defensive capability that equals that of Taiwan. Anything less than that of Taiwan and China will always be tempted to grab our West Philippine Sea oil and gas rich territory. The old frigates that we’ve been getting from the US are good only for our local naval requirements. These should not even be sent to engage a Chinese invasion, as that would mean certain death with hardly a chance of winning for our naval personnel.

What’s good with Obama is his capacity for generating peaceful solutions to major problems. Obama would use the military, only as his last recourse when all other approaches have failed and US national interest demand a military action. Nobody in his right mind would want to see the US and China fight over naval control of South China Sea. The less naval ships of the US and China there are in the South China Sea, the less likely an unseen accident could lead to armed conflict.

The small fries like us should discourage these eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations of superpowers.

* * *

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

  Previous Columns:

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Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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