Preferred idiocy will kill us
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-08-12

More than what we don’t know — which could be due to circumstances beyond an individual’s control like the lack of a proper education — it is what we refuse to know — preferred idiocy — that will really kill us.

Take the case of this idiotic attitude of Philippine media towards recent developments in our region — an escalating US and China conflict of interest — which could place us in the frontline of possible armed hostilities. We are in denial that the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) and the US real agenda in Mindanao are rooted to this anticipated US-China conflict. 

Note these alarming recent developments on US-China relations which were hardly discussed in Philippine media:

1. China buying more gold, unloading US Dollar bonds 

A June 2010 article ( reported that, within the last few years, China has made major policy changes aimed at obtaining and keeping more of the world’s gold supplies, among these changes are:

• Secretly stockpiling gold — The People’s Republic of China now holds 30 times more gold than it did 20 years ago. 

• Lifting the moratorium on private precious metals ownership — It was illegal for Chinese citizens to own raw gold or other precious metals. Recently, however, China’s government has reversed its position on private metals ownership and is even strongly encouraging people to put at least 5 percent of their savings in gold and silver.

A Feb 2010 article ( reported that China had sold $34.2 billion (B) of US Treasury bonds, alerting analysts that China’s move may suggest a loss of faith in the American government’s economic policy. As of December 2009, Beijing had $755.4 B, compared to Japan’s $768.8 B. Last May 2009, China held $867.7 B versus Japan’s $786.7 B. ( 
2. Tit-for-tat mobilization of military assets in the East Asia region 

• US submarines show up in East Asia ports in show of US military might; message unlikely to be lost on Beijing as 3 vessels turn up in Asian ports [South China Morning Post, July 4, 2010]

• US has to pay for provoking China [Global Times, July 6, 2010] “True, the US has the right to play its war games against the imagined threat from North Korea on the high seas. But the anxiety on the Chinese side will be huge if a US aircraft carrier enters the sea connecting the Korean Peninsula and China — it would mean that major cities like Dalian, Qingdao, Tianjin and even Beijing are within the US attack range.”

• War games, a response to US-South Korean exercises, say analysts [The International Institute for Strategic Studies, July 30 2010]

“Crack warships from the People’s Liberation Army’s three naval fleets jointly exercised in the disputed South China Sea in a move that was hailed by the state media as unprecedented.” 

3. Chinese public sentiments against perceived US “containment” policy 

• Breaking out of US containment [Global Times, August 5, 2010]

“Tensions have been building in recent weeks over events in the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. Many Chinese observers wonder if the US is trying to contain China’s peaceful growth. The US is even improving its relationships with China’s neighbors that were once former US opponents.”

4. Strategic conflict between China and US seen as inevitable

According to the director of Peking University’s Center for International and Strategic Studies (Wang Jisi), strategic mistrust between China and the United States has deepened, for several reasons, among them:

• US domestic politics in the US State and Defense Departments, hardliners on China are gaining ground. China may be targeted as a result.

• Military ties — Military exchanges were normalized when Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visited the US in October 2003. But the US approval of the sale of Patriot III missiles and other arms ($6.4 B) to Taiwan in January of this year has resulted in the suspension of military exchanges and both nations voicing more antagonistic sentiments.

• North Korea — The sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and China’s refusal to support the West in blaming North Korea for the incident have further worsened mutual strategic mistrust.

5. Danger posed by US pledge for RP to get precision-guided missiles (

Reuters reported (July 29, 2010) Washington’s pledge “to provide the Philippines with $18.4 million worth of precision-guided missiles this year to use in its fight against Islamic militants in the south.”

This is dangerous, given the escalating incidence of military exercises by the United States and China during the last two months and the visit of the USS Blue Ridge (flagship of the US Seventh Fleet) to Manila recently. This development also has implications on the GRP-MILF peace talks which will soon resume.

Clearly, both sides are preparing for what they deem as an unavoidable confrontation. China’s shift from the US currency to gold could cause the fall of the US dollar. This might be a financial weapon which China is brandishing in order to discourage US military aggression. We’ll be like the proverbial ants situated right in the middle of two battling elephants in this conflict.

Philippine media are not even alarmed by these developments which should take greater priority over such topics as Robin and Mariel, Kris and James and Ateneo’s loss to La Salle.

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