Avoiding meeting Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) last July and not accepting and returning her recent telephone calls do not indicate that President-elect Barack Obama isn’t a friend of the Philippines.
Far from it, it would indicate that Obama is true to his word when he said (during his acceptance speech in Grant Field, Chicago last November 4) “tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.”
President-elect Obama is wise to avoid contact and association with someone like GMA whose regime has been characterized in the world press for repression, suppression of freedom of speech and the murder of unarmed political activists — not to mention election fraud.
A greater insight can be obtained from Barack Obama’s own article which was featured in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs. Headlined RENEWING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP, Obama outlined his foreign policy views which are consistent with his acceptance speech pronouncements.
In summarizing his world view and preferred approaches to present problems, Obama wrote: “Today, we are again called to provide visionary leadership. This century’s threats are at least as dangerous as and in some ways more complex than those we have confronted in the past. They come from weapons that can kill on a mass scale and from global terrorists who respond to alienation or perceived injustice with murderous nihilism. They come from rogue states allied to terrorists and from rising powers that could challenge both America and the international foundation of liberal democracy. They come from weak states that cannot control their territory or provide for their people. And they come from a warming planet that will spur new diseases, spawn more devastating natural disasters, and catalyze deadly conflicts.”
He added: “The Bush administration responded to the unconventional attacks of 9/11 with conventional thinking of the past, largely viewing problems as state-based and principally amenable to military solutions. It was this tragically misguided view that led us into a war in Iraq that never should have been authorized and never should have been waged. In the wake of Iraq and Abu Ghraib, the world has lost trust in our purposes and our principles.”
“After thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, many Americans may be tempted to turn inward and cede our leadership in world affairs. But this is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, and the world cannot meet them without America. We can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission. We must lead the world, by deed and by example.”
“Such leadership demands that we retrieve a fundamental insight of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy — one that is truer now than ever before: the security and well-being of each and every American depend on the security and well-being of those who live beyond our borders. The mission of the United States is to provide global leadership grounded in the understanding that the world shares a common security and a common humanity.”
“The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew. To see American power in terminal decline is to ignore America’s great promise and historic purpose in the world. If elected president, I will start renewing that promise and purpose the day I take office.”
He provided an insight on how he will handle the Iraq quagmire. He wrote: “This redeployment could be temporarily suspended if the Iraqi government meets the security, political, and economic benchmarks to which it has committed. But we must recognize that, in the end, only Iraqi leaders can bring real peace and stability to their country.”
“At the same time, we must launch a comprehensive regional and international diplomatic initiative to help broker an end to the civil war in Iraq, prevent its spread, and limit the suffering of the Iraqi people. To gain credibility in this effort, we must make clear that we seek no permanent bases in Iraq. We should leave behind only a minimal over-the-horizon military force in the region to protect American personnel and facilities, continue training Iraqi security forces, and root out al Qaeda.”
Again Obama reinforces his commitment to democratic ideals when he wrote: “There are compelling moral reasons and compelling security reasons for renewed American leadership that recognizes the inherent equality and worth of all people. As President Kennedy said in his 1961 inaugural address, “To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” I will show the world that America remains true to its founding values. We lead not only for ourselves but also for the common good.”
There is every reason for us to hope that President-elect Barack Obama will be a true friend of the democracy-loving Filipino people and may even be inclined to help us remove the evil despots in our land.