How Tony Blair can complicate the peace process
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-03-29

An event of the past week demonstrated anew the pathetic state of the national mind and how it fails to see the big picture. Unable to see the big picture, the nation finds itself grasping at straws and clinging to false Messiahs and palliative solutions that do not address our real core problems.

Such is the case of Peace Process Presidential Adviser Avelino Razon’s proposal to engage former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as an adviser for the Mindanao Peace Process. Whether Razon had acted alone or under the order of higher ups does not hide the fact that it is an idiotic proposal.

It is idiotic — oblivious of the facts and the truth — because Tony Blair has not really accomplished anything significant to merit being consulted on forging peace with a Muslim minority. Success in Ireland (dealing with Christian Irishmen) does not in any way ensure success in dealing with Muslims.

Not only that — Tony Blair has a baggage that makes him a liability rather than an asset to the peace process with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Tony Blair was one of the major proponents for the Iraq invasion, on the false premise of weapons of mass destruction, which only succeeded in heightening Muslim animosity towards the American-British global hegemony. So, why invite a prominent member of the Iraq misadventure if it is peace we want with the MILF?

We are a nation that is easily mesmerized by a person’s celebrity and we hardly discern if the celebrity really adds values to our lives and society. Thus, it is not surprising to see many equally idiotic Filipinos jump at the idea of enlisting Blair as an adviser to the Mindanao Peace Process. What were they thinking? Were they thinking at all?

Do they think that the MILF fighters are going to be mesmerized by Blair’s celebrity and agree to anything we propose to them as the final peace document? Do they really think that a people who are willing to fight and die for the Islamic state they want will yield to Blair’s charms and glibness and simply give up their cause? Did Razon and those who bit at his proposal ever consider that Blair’s Iraq baggage will work against our objective to attain peace?

To top it all, Blair even attempts to defend the Iraq misadventure by saying that the world is now safer without Saddam Hussein. Iraq was invaded not because of the desire to liberate Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. The US once supported and used Saddam Hussein (against Iran) just as the US also propped up other tyrants in Asia, Central and South America during the Cold War.

Iraq was invaded to capture the world’s fourth biggest deposit of oil (after Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran). The US and China are going to exhaust their oil reserves in 11 and 14 years, respectively. The two titans are desperately seeking to corner the last remaining big reserves of oil while they are developing alternative energy sources. The oil in the Spratlys is believed to be bigger than the reserves of Iraq.

I doubt if Blair will use his Saddam Hussein rationale for invading Iraq in front of an American, Canadian and European audience. A thousand shoes would have been thrown at him if he did. Amazing that nobody in the Monday forum when Blair said that stood up and demanded an apology for the insult to one’s intelligence.

Totally ignored by these people who do not know the truth is the fact that Blair is a partner of the American-British global power structure and that the British have an interest in Malaysia, a silent but major player in the Mindanao problem. The British will be a beneficiary of the US play in Mindanao to capture the oil in the Spratlys and achieve the capability to control China’s vital shipping lanes.

If the MILF welcomes the participation of Tony Blair in the peace process, it is only because they know that the British are partners of the US — the big promoter of a BJE which suits US geopolitical agenda in the South China Sea. Why nobody in our government saw that angle should alarm every Filipino. Is this an act of idiocy or a betrayal — a sellout?

This MOA-BJE deal has exposed the vulnerabilities of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) in trying to take advantage of both the US and China. She fears the capability of the US to engineer a political upheaval but she is now too deep in her involvement with China not to also fear them.

China can easily expose the questionable transactions of the GMA regime and that will be lights out for her. Can you imagine the impact of crucial documents surfacing that will prove the alleged payoffs or the sudden personal appearance of Chinese executives to confirm the alleged bribes?

The US can easily stir the restive military and GMA will face a popular coup. There is good reason to believe that GMA’s recent siding with the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and ordering the charging of the Alabang Boys and DoJ (Department of Justice) prosecutors reflect that fear.

When the marines reacted to the earlier attempt by the DoJ to unduly penalize Magdalo Major Ferdinand Marcelino, GMA immediately stepped in and made herself the Drug Czar. The move is seen as a tactic to take full control of the messy Alabang Boys case before the DoJ further provokes a military situation.

When the public outcry forced the MOA-BJE (Memorandum of Agreement - Bangsamoro Juridical Entity) deal to be scrapped, a European Ambassador confided to me that it looked more like the government itself sabotaged the peace deal. The way the deal was concocted and suddenly presented could only provoke indignant Christian resistance.

The ambassador and I agreed that GMA’s cozy relations with China could be behind the scuttling of the MOA-BJE peace deal which the US and its allies have been pushing.

China has taken seriously the US threat to control the Spratlys oil and choke off the Chinese shipping lanes with the BJE serving as US access to the South China Sea. Already, we have seen unusual Chinese naval activity in the South China Sea including a soft confrontation with a US research vessel near a Chinese naval base.

Who knows? Maybe inviting Tony Blair to the Mindanao peace process is the government’s new method for scuttling the revived talks.

To one who recognizes how Tony Blair can be a complicating factor, inviting him to join the peace process would seem like an act of madness. But then, there is what William Shakespeare called in “Hamlet” as method to madness.

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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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