What is there to upset Gloria?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-08-24
It was recently admitted by the Palace that Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) suffered from an upset stomach. It was also one of the few times when a Palace statement was generally accepted to be true.

Why? Well, for one, there are a lot of things happening in her scandal and controversy marred life that can cause more than just an upset stomach, even among those who are known to possess a so-called cast iron stomach.

There were the recent photos on several publications and videos on TV news that suggest that GMA may just have swallowed too much. Internal ailments do have a way of manifesting externally. Ever since GMA returned from a recent face off with Chinese President Hu Jintao, just before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, GMA started looking like a bibingka — that local favorite that is cooked with fire above and fire below.

There is good reason to believe that GMA is now suffering from a relentless bombardment of fire from above and below. The syndrome is common among those who like to sleep with more than just one superpower partner. As we know in life, partners are easily driven to extreme behavior once smitten by jealousy. Superpower partners can be more intensely jealous.

The two fires buffeting GMA from above and below are being generated by the rising superpower that is China and the threatened superpower that is the US. GMA has been playing them all this time — going with US President Bush on the Iraq War misadventure and awarding China all the juicy contracts and concessions to Philippine mining resources. Logically, she did these with a lot to gain from both partners.

Unfortunately for her, dealing with superpowers is not like dealing with your other friends. Superpowers may give you a lot but they also expect a lot more in return — often more than what you can afford to pay. When you shake hands with a superpower, you must immediately check if you still have your fingers and arm.

There is every reason to believe that a US — long under severe pressure to secure its dwindling supply of oil — has engineered the controversial BJE to suit US geopolitical interests and to check the ever increasing threat from China.

Why is the US paranoid over China? Here are some big reasons why:

1. Like the US, China also faces a similar oil crisis — its oil reserves are going to be depleted in 14 years at its present rate of consumption. But the US is seen to be exhausting its own oil reserves even earlier than China — in 11 years. This is the real reason why Iraq was invaded and why the US is poised to attack Iran. Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran have the biggest oil reserves in the world.

2. Iraq and Iran are hostile to the US (despite a friendly regime in Iraq at the moment), the same with Venezuela — all three having 168, 83, 107 years of oil reserves (based on current production), respectively. The US source of oil from Saudi Arabia is considered under threat with so much anti-US sentiment in the Middle East.

3. The South China Sea is estimated by Global Security to have around 213 billion barrels of oil reserves which will prove to be the world’s second biggest after Saudi Arabia. The South China Sea, per the same source, is estimated to be able to produce a minimum of 1.9 million barrels a day (Iraq’s daily oil production is 1.88 million barrels).

4. At full mobilization, the US can muster a 118 million armed force. China can raise a 730 million armed force. Russia and India which are China’s allies can raise 50 million and 468,000, respectively. China and Russia are known to be ready to absorb heavy casualties while the US, with just over 4,000 casualties in Iraq, has been raring to go home.

5. As of 2007, per the CIA World Factbook, China’s real GDP is 11.4% versus 2.2% of the US. In external debt, the US has $12, 250 billion while China has a mere $363 billion. In balance of trade, China has a positive $303.6 billion while the US has a negative $847 billion.

China and the US are headed towards an unavoidable confrontation and the place where this Armageddon is set to take place is the South China Sea where the BJE territory becomes most strategic for US CSL (Cooperative Security Locations) and FOS (Forward Operating Sites) needs.

In the age of quick strikes, missile warfare, nuclear arms equipped aircraft and submarines, the FOS and CSL have replaced the need for big bases like Clark and Subic. Big bases like Clark and Subic are now irrelevant in modern warfare — just as Corregidor and the Maginot Line proved irrelevant during World War II.

China, on the other hand, cannot just sit by and watch the US clip them and undermine their growth via the unhampered operation of US FOS and CSL in the strategic BJE (which can impede the flow of China’s oil supplies from the Middle East and Africa).

In the middle of this superpower confrontation is GMA who made the mistake of ‘sleeping with the two superpowers’ for her own selfish ends.

Just as the US supported Marcos in imposing martial law, GMA will be supported by the US to do the same if that is what is needed to secure their strategic location. If you were the US, it suits your plans perfectly to deal with a weak leader like GMA who is distrusted by the majority of her people. GMA has no choice but to kow tow to US dictates.

But the biggest impediment to such a plan is anti-GMA sentiment in the military which even the USIP paper (Philippine Facilitation Project, 2003-2007) acknowledges. If you were China, wouldn’t you support that anti-GMA side of the AFP to instigate a counter-force? If you were China, wouldn’t you leak details of those deals that are being protected by executive privilege?

When a pro-US and a pro-China AFP confront each other, our nation is plunged into a civil war.

With the way things stand, People Power can easily start in Mindanao. Mindanaoans are not tired of People Power which they have never tried. This will be GMA’s greatest nightmare because 60% of the AFP is in Mindanao and those are the elite units of the AFP assigned there.

This is a time for deep introspection for every Filipino, especially those who prop up GMA, especially those who are still oblivious to what are happening in our country.

This is a time for deep introspection for those Supreme Court Justices who voted favorably on executive privilege (to cover the sellout of national interest and the commission of plunder).

This is a time for deep introspection for the soldiers and officers of the AFP. They will be the most exposed in the line of fire and are constitutionally mandated to protect the people.

This is a time for deep introspection for the Bishops and Cardinals who still cannot decide if they have seen enough evil in the land. It is high time that they take a more Christian, militant stand against that evil.

This is a time for deep introspection among our Muslim brothers who must rationalize if they can really trust the foreign meddler or if they will be better off securing their demands with just their Filipino Christian brothers who share a common heritage with them. Most of their Christian brothers seek a peaceful accommodation. But this is best accomplished if kept strictly among the members of the Filipino family.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

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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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