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China And Filipinos Share A Common Menace

June 14, 2015 10:55 pm

by Francisco Tatad/Manila Times

Consumed by President B. S. Aquino 3rds various moves to preserve his

fast-fading grip on political power, we now stand on the brink of a possible
war against China. We are being made to believe it is something we should
welcome, because we would be fighting with American and Japanese
troops, ships, planes, missiles and guns.
In the Pacific war, we stood shoulder to shoulder with the Americans
against the Japanese. Only Aquinos grandfather and his band of
collaborators had the rare distinction of working for the Japanese while
our patriots died with the Americans. Now under the leadership of the
collaborators grandson, we would finally be fighting on the same side as
the Japanese and the Americans.
What are the real chances of war with China? Where and how is it likely to
begin? What are our chances of surviving? How can we avert it, if we still
Last Saturday, at Annabels restaurant in Quezon City, we asked some of
these questions. To answer them we had China analyst Chito Sta.
Romana, UP Prof. Temy Rivera and Jose Antono Custodio, a military
historian. We had broadcaster-columnist Herman Tiu Laurel to help us
keep them on their toes.
The prospects of war
There is not a single view on the prospects of such a war. War is war, big or
small, and even the most benign view of it brings comfort to no one.
Despite the efforts of various groups to create the unwanted conditions for
war, Sta. Romana says China herself does not believe war is likely to erupt
between herself and the USat least not in the next five years.
Thats a narrow gap of less than one presidential term. PNoy would still be
a young 60-year-old by then, either in prison or in a home, but no longer in
a position to order any reinforcement unit to stand down. But,in Sta.

Romanas view, a short, sharp conflict triggered by accident or

miscalculation by either side could not be discounted.
Rivera and Custodio did not depart from the same view. Rivera believes a
multi-track approach to the Philippine-Chinese maritime territorial
dispute could keep diplomacy going, while Custodio sees the economic
interests of the US and China too deeply intertwined to provide a clear
argument for war. He also sees no military parity between the two rivals.
The US has nine to 10 aircraft carriers, three of them in the Asia Pacific
region, China has only one. Of the worlds total inventory of 15,000 nuclear
warheads, the US owns 7,000, while China owns only 2,000. Russia owns
China not likely to start it
Despite the childish taunts and heckling China gets from PNoy, she is not
likely to be provoked into shooting down a US-supplied coast guard cutter
or a Japan-supplied P3-C Orion maritime surveillance plane to start a
war. The first incident could compel the US to intervene under the 1951
Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty, while the second could put to the
test Shinzo Abes commitment to come to the aid of the Philippines.
This makes the chances of China starting a shooting war rather slim.
PNoy himself might stand a greater chance of starting one, given the
chance to repeat his Operation Exodus Mamasapano experience with the
help of a suspended AFP Chief of Staff.
Can it start in Europe?
Still a much darker view from abroad tends to suggest that war is already
in the making, and may no longer be averted. It could start in Europe and
all it would take is one simple push of a button to spread it to China at the
speed of light.
Russia must pay for annexing the Crimea, and must be made to feel that
she cannot continue to function as though the global sanctions were a joke.
And China must not be encouraged to dream about her mandate from
At the June 7-8 G7 Summit in Elmau, Germany, where Moscow was once
again locked out, US President Obama and German Chancellor Angela

Merkel led the verbal assault on Russian President Vladimir Putin,

raising the verbal hostility to a new level. This disturbed the more sober
political and military leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Anti-war voices in US and Europe
Last Friday, US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno signed an
agreement with Chinese Army General Fan Changlong, vice chairman of
Chinas Central Military Commission, at the Pentagon, establishing an
army-to-army dialogue mechanism to better coordinate humanitarian
assistance and disaster response practices.
In Washington, D.C., Gen. Vincent Brooks, US Army Pacific Commander,
said, We do not see a collision between the Peoples Liberation Army and
the US Army at the present time. We should be building our relationship
while we can, to promote miscalculation and misunderstanding.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told General Fan that he would like to
forge with China a framework on the rules of behavior for the safety or air
and maritime encounters by September.
In Germany, former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schroder
and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier have joined hands to
oppose Merkels rabid attack on Putin.
Dangerous moves
Meantime, the US and Russia have accused each other of violating the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. No details have been
released. The INF Treaty obliges parties not to possess, produce, or flighttest a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of
500 km. to 5,500 km., or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.
The installation on land of vertical launchers similar to the system used to
launch Tomahawk missiles from US Navy ships, even without missiles,
violates the INF Treaty.
Carter announced the US would deploy cruise missiles in Europe to target
military installations inside Russia. At its summit meeting in Wales last
September, NATO agreed to expand its NATO Response Force (NRF) to
include all its military exercises in the Baltic Sea, Norway, Poland, and

Netherlands. This brings NATOs power projection in Europe to a

considerably higher ground.
Air incidents
So far, Russias reaction to all these has been staid. But a number of recent
air incidents suggest that more and larger incidents could occur when
least expected. On May 30, according to CNN, a Russian jet fighter, flying
at high speed, came within 10 feet of a US Air Force reconnaissance plane
in international airspace over the Black Sea. The jet fighter flew alongside
the US plane at the same altitude, broke off, and then shadowed the plane
before leaving the area. It was unarmed, the report said.
Earlier, a US RC-135 U flying a routine route in international airspace
was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 Flanker, according to reports. The
Flanker was similarly unarmed, but it approached the US plane in an
unsafe and unprofessional manner, the reports said.
Earlier this month, the US Navy released a video of a Russian SU-24
aircraft flying past the right side of the guided missile destroyer USS Ross
in the Black Sea.
Because of the sheer number of NATO and Russian aircraft flying over the
Black Sea, the chances are high of routine interaction between them. So
are the chances of a serious incident occurring, with tragic consequences.
The steps being taken by the US military to avoid miscalculations could be
genuinely helpful in broadening mutual trust and confidence.
Are Obama and Merkel in all this?
But Obamas critics see him and his closest NATO allies as the real
threats to world peace. They see him and Merkel as the primary engine of
the campaign to start a war with Russia that could automatically draw in
China, once the missiles start flying.
In America, this thesis is championed by the 93-year-old Lyndon LaRouche
of Leesburg, Virginia, a Quaker educated in the classics, who has run for
president in each of the US presidential elections from 1976 to 2004, and
foresaw the trans-Atlantic economic collapse long before it came. He
suggests that at the behest of London, Obama is pushing for a
thermonuclear war that could prove terminal.

The main objective, in his view, is the depopulation of the planet. This is
consistent with the statement famously attributed to Prince Philip, that
upon his death he would like to be reincarnated as a virus in order to
shrink the population to less than a billion people.
Killing mankind 200 times over
With 15,000 nuclear warheads in the stockpile, the world has a total
nuclear firepower capable of killing all of mankind 20 times over. Military
sources say that each of the nine Ohio-class nuclear submarines
underneath Philippine and adjunct waters carries 24 Trident missiles,
each armed with six nuclear warheads, and at least 200 times stronger
than the US atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the
In Lyndon LaRouches view, Obama and Merkel are the primary
promoters of a terminal war. So while we rage against Aquinos effort to
dismember the country for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and cheer
his temporary inability to railroad the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law
according to his announced timetable, the instruments of Western
propaganda try to drown us in rhetoric about the inevitability and
imminence of war. Aquino has become a major instrument of that
The blessings of EDCA
Thanks to his Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, US
nuclear warships, aircraft carriers, and nuclear submarines are free to
come and go in Philippine waters, without regard to the Constitution,
which requires that EDCA should first receive the concurrence of the
Senate, and which adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear
weapons in Philippine territory, consistent with the national interest.
These weapons of war, we are told, are a deterrent against any armed
attack from China. But China assures us that only the US government
and its puppet, the Aquino government, not the Filipinos, are her real
No dialogue

China wants to talk with, not wage war on us Filipinos. Aquino alone does
not want to talk. Why is he mortally afraid?
To talk to China is not to make China his master in place of the US. It is
simply to allow a free exchange on our respective self-interests. In the face
of this intense rivalry between China and the US, we have to make them
see that we are friends to both, and that we have our own self-interests to
defend and protect rather than theirs. It is only by talking that we can
communicate this.
A wise friend assures me that Aquino will not want talk to China just as
he will not want to talk or listen to us Filipinos. In this respect, our people
and China share a common menace: the false pretender to the office of
head of state.