JPE said a few days back that the 2013 elections are shaping up to be a ‘David and Goliath’ of sorts, with Binay and Estrada’s coalition UNA as David and the Liberal Party as Goliath. While it is obvious that UNA will be racing with LP for majority seats in the Senate, Congress, and, let’s not forget, the local governments, I think Enrile has it in reverse. With a powerhouse line-up of possible candidates, and with the LP as the minority in the Senate, UNA definitely comes out as the Goliath.
But elsewhere, we have another bout between David and Goliath, this time with a certainty about who’s who.
The standoff in Scarborough Shoal has been making headlines in the local papers for the past week, and it surprises me how long the Philippines has dared to defy China over the shoal. With our hand-me-down warships and the confidence that the Panatag Shoal is truly ours, we haven’t blinked. Yet.
Because there’s nobody the Philippines can turn to.
The Americans? Although they are just around the corner, putting on a grand show of military cooperation with the Philippines through the Balikatan exercises, what can they do, really? Some would quote that the US is bound to help us should the Philippines be attacked as per the Mutual Defense Treaty, but the MDT provides no assurance of military assistance at all. In fact, Article 4 clearly states that “Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall be immediately reported to the Security Council of the United Nations,” to which China is seated as one of the permanent members of the UNSC, with the power to veto their way to any decision that plays against their interests.
I doubt that the US would risk the ire of China, their biggest creditor and with an economy slated to overtake that of their economy in the next few decades, over a tiny archipelago they’ve chewed-up and spit out again and again. Especially considering the upcoming US elections, intervention into overseas affairs is not a desirable option for an American president vying for re-election.
ASEAN? Like the US, they’ve been silent about dipping their feet into the issue in the West Philippine Sea. In fact, the whole territorial dispute, despite including other ASEAN members such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, has been left out of the agenda during the ASEAN Summit last month. Only Vietnam seems to remain as our buddy in the Association, and that’s mainly because they’ve been sore with China as well.
The United Nations? The Philippines argues that the territorial dispute in both Spratlys and the shoal should be solved through legal mechanisms. It makes sense for the Philippines to resort to because legal technicalities are the only fight we have against China’s weak historical claims, but that doesn’t say too much either. The Panatag Shoal belongs to the territory of the Philippines according to the UNCLOS, which rules a 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone for coastal countries. The Panatag Shoal is located only 124 nautical miles away from the shores of Zambales, legally fulfilling the stipulation of the Convention.
But again, what can we do if China is one of the big bosses of the international arena? Power and influence rules above all, and this is a fact especially familiar in the Philippines.
With nobody to fend for us but ourselves, I think it’s only a matter of time before the Philippines retreats because China definitely wouldn’t allow itself to blink first.
Realistically speaking, a small, frail boy hardly stands a chance in toppling a giant, especially with the absence of the divine intervention it is banking on to bestow upon him nukes all-powerful, one-hit stones and slings.
I took some time to read this article from The Independent. I have to pass on whether the author and information are credible or just something borne of gossip or assumptions, but either way, it paints a pretty disturbing picture of Dubai.
Aleksandr Yakovlev, adviser to former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev
Just how prophetic has this statement been to the state of transatlantic relations?
I can’t say much about the death of Kim Jong Il. I am in no capacity to speak about the sentiments of both North and South Koreans because, well, I’m neither.
I’m sure I’m not alone with this, but how much do we really know about the successor, Kim Jong Un? Nobody knows if he’s just a mere extension of his father and grandfather, or if he’s bound to become a dictator more ruthless than those deposed earlier in the year, or if he’ll be just another wallflower while someone else calls the shots, or if he’ll finally be the long-awaited hope for Korean unification.
All we can do now is to speculate and watch as things unfold.
Looks like 2011 still has a bunch of surprises up its sleeve. What else can the universe cook up before the year ends?
And we complain about how rotten our elections are?
Here’s an article from the Economist. This is how Russia dougies.
I watched Andrew Niccol’s In Time today, and how timely it is. Aside from tallying how many times the word ‘time’ was mentioned in the film (and in this post), you might notice how parallel it is to what the globe is facing today.
While not reaching the level of Inception in terms of cinematography, script, and mind-fuckery, it has an interesting premise. In fact, at random times during the film would you think, “Hey, where have I heard this before?”
In a gist, In Time is set over a hundred years into the future where the human race has genetically evolved into eternally young (not in a Twilight sort of way) 25-year olds. Now, if today, we work to earn a living, those in the film work to live because the world’s currency is measured in years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. Even if this is the case, the dynamics hardly change.
The peg is Occupy Wall Street. Today, wealthy capitalists allegedly comprising 1% of the population control most of the system’s wealth, while the majority are either unemployed, underemployed, or living under a measly salary. In the film, immortal capitalists own most of the system’s time, while the majority die young from “timeloaner’s” 30% interest rates.
The peg is overpopulation. In a plan to keep the population at a minimum, people “time out” because the cost of living becomes too overwhelming. The immortals make sure of this because of the dilemma of “where to put them” if people continue to multiply. And people argue about how the RH bill is so merciless?
It was a good watch, but doesn’t stray too far from what you see in BBC or CNN. Unless you want to see some action from lovers who flee the authorities and take justice into their own hands by robbing the immortal and giving to the timeless.
Or unless you want to see Justin Timberlake try (miserably) to do drama.
Happy United Nations Day!
If you think about it, we live in a relatively peaceful period in history. No World War. No immediate threat of the use of nukes. No alien invasion. Two of the most hated men in the world
assassinated neutralized in a span of a year, and probably more to follow. People in different corners of the globe coming together in spirit against capitalist greed. More nations granted/may be granted membership into the “global peacemaker.” The US is finally pulling out its troops. International guidelines are in place to outline human rights, but not necessarily to safeguard them.
But despite these, we aren’t necessarily more civilized than we were before.
Okay, fine. Honestly, I’m not in the mood to write. I would love to write about what I think of the world and the UN, but it’s just one of those nights when I just want to drift off and stare blankly into the ceiling.
And for historical records’ sake, this post is for the 24th of October. United Nations day. 66 years of serving the world.
Now I just feel bad that I’m losing my grammar and coherence in such an important post. I sound drunk. Or high. With pot. Even if I’ve never taken them in my life. It’s probably from reading some Stephen Chbosky.
Or maybe I’m just tired.
Happy United Nations Day, by the way.