China has been on my mind a lot lately, and I think it is time for Philippine Commentary to pay more attention to many developments involving the Giant of Asia, said to be awakening.
For example, the Gateway Pundit reports on this week's MASSIVE PRO-DEMOCRACY MARCHES IN HONGKONG
Tens of thousands marched in Hong Kong on Sunday for the right to directly elect their political leaders and to protest against a package of electoral reforms pushed by the city's chief executive and Beijing.At the Falun Gong Data Information Center there are truly disturbing reports of RAPE and TORTURE going on inside China. Their appeal went straight to US President George W. Bush to raise the plight of the Falun Gong and other oppressed religious practitioners in China during his recent trip to Beijing. Many modern democracies have indeed founded their nations on a firm conviction that Freedom of Religion is a God-given right, a quintessential human right, that cannot be deprived without losing the name "Democracy" at the same time.
Of course, this is just the tip of the China iceberg. ZenPundit links to the work of RJ Rummel, a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Professor Emeritus of Political Science in Kaneohe, Hawaii:
RJ Rummel, the noted scholar of genocide and murder by government, retabulated the totals for democide for The People's Republic of China under " The Geat Helmsman" Mao ZeDong:Such a recent history of DEMOCIDE cannot be swept under the rug of China's expanding economy, for it has deep implications for the future of China and the world that already sees it huge markets and stupendous potential for good OR evil in the world. What perhaps people do miss is that it is China looking at the world as a huge and stupendous market...
77, 000,000 Dead
This total is twice as large as all combat deaths for the Russian and Mexican Revolutions,WWII, Korean and Vietnam wars combined. It may exceed all combat deaths in the 20th century and puts the maniacally genocidal exertions of Hitler ( 20,946,000) and Stalin (61,911,000) in the shade. (All figures here are Professor Rummel's). Only Pol Pot, in the percentage of population category, approaches Mao in sheer savagery and bloodlust.
HERITAGE FOUNDATION'S Asia expert, Dana R. Dillon, dissects the recent geopolitical and geo-economic moves of China with respect to her Asian neigbors in an article last October:
Beijing has already made significant progress on the trade front. At a Beijing-inspired summit meeting in Vientiane, Laos, in November 2004, China, Japan, South Korea, and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached a consensus on an “ASEAN+3” trade framework. The outcome of the Vientiane summit was an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework that pointedly excluded the United States.This sounds like the beginnings of China's new East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. And Dillon bemoans the tepid nature of US policy in this important region
The new architecture came in the form of China’s proposed Free Trade Area with ASEAN countries, which invites each ASEAN nation separately to negotiate a bilateral FTA with China rather than leaving it to ASEAN as a whole to negotiate multilaterally with China. This individual negotiation strategy enabled Beijing to “divide and conquer” the ASEAN states, with the pro-China countries, such as Thailand and Burma, moving ahead with separate deals and others like Malaysia and Vietnam going along because they feared Chinese retaliation.
In essence, the China–ASEAN Free Trade Area grants a period of duty-free entry for each ASEAN country’s goods into the Chinese market—generally a three-year period known as “early harvest”— after which time Chinese goods will have reciprocal free entry. As one ASEAN diplomat pointed out in 2003, this means that a particular ASEAN partner will be granted three years to compete in China’s market in raw materials, agricultural products, and minerals, which China does not produce. However, after the early harvest period, China’s manufactured goods will have full tariff-free access to the markets of its Southeast Asian partner.
In comparison, American efforts are bilateral and tepid. The United States has an FTA with only one ASEAN country—Singapore, which was already one of the world’s freest economies. The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has begun negotiations looking toward an FTA with Thailand, but no other FTAs are in process with countries in Southeast Asia.Hey, and where is the Free Trade Agreement for the Philippines? But Dillon continues beyond economics...
In contrast to China’s focused expansion of diplomatic and security relations with Southeast Asia, the U.S. Department of State is actively downgrading the security relationship with ASEAN countries. Despite the fact that no Secretary of State has missed an ARF meeting since 1982, Secretary Condoleezza Rice skipped the July 25–29, 2005, meeting in Laos (her first opportunity to attend an ARF meeting) and sent her deputy instead.CHINA-PHILIPPINE RELATIONS come in for painful scrutiny under Dillon's glass and gives a whole new meaning to upcoming ASEAN summit that the President is attending at mid month:
China is also gaining influence in the Philippines. Following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Philippines in 1992, the U.S.–Philippine alliance atrophied for 10 years. After September 11, 2001, however, terrorist cells active in the Philippines received urgent attention from the Pentagon, alerting U.S. policymakers to the necessity of counterterrorism cooperation with the Philippines.Wow, and I haven't even discussed the contents of Vic Corpus' presentation, or his record as Intelligence Chief under GMA-I. . . Well, okay, just one link to give everybody a hint: GRACIA BURNHAM SPEAKS
Since then, however, relations between Manila and Washington have improved markedly. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was one of the first world leaders to declare solidarity with the U.S, immediately after 9/11. Manila was soon receiving more than $100 million per year in economic and security aid to fight the war on terrorism. Philippine and American armed forces cooperated in a series of operations against the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, driving it from its home base on Basilan Island. In return, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched in 2003, the Philippines participated by dispatching a 60-man medical unit to Baghdad.
Although President Arroyo looked great from Washington, bad economic policies, tax increases, and allegations of corruption and vote rigging at home seriously damaged her reputation and ability to govern. When a Filipino civilian was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004, President Arroyo tried to win back her flagging popularity by abandoning the long-standing Philippine policy of not negotiating with terrorists. She withdrew the contingent in Iraq to win the release of the Filipino truck driver. Many American commentators denounced Arroyo’s capitulation to terrorists, and Congress decreased American foreign aid from the $130 million authorized for 2005 to $96 million in 2006.
In a tactic that Beijing is perfecting around the world, China stepped in to aid the beleaguered Arroyo. “Within six weeks of pulling out of the Iraq coalition,” one senior Administration foreign policy official lamented, “our Filipino ‘allies’ sent President Gloria Arroyo to Beijing, completed reciprocal visits for their and China’s defense ministers, and signed a confidential protocol with China on exploitation of South China Sea resources.”
Additionally, China offered the Philippines $3 million in military assistance to establish a Chinese language-training program for the Philippine military, donated engineering equipment, invited the Philippines to participate in naval exercises, and opened five seats for Filipinos in Chinese military courses
A recent post related to the brouhaha with Thailand' Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is:
Gold, Silver, Bronze Black Eye
UPDATE (1420) The CONCLUSIONS that Victor Corpus came to in AMERICAN CROSSROAD are contained on pp. 117 -122 of the PDF:
• United States stands at a crossroad.I guess this is pretty self-explanatory. (And the first 116 pages weren't half bad as a kind of geopolitical gedankenexperiment).
• One road leads to world domination.
• Using military might, it can strike at any perceived threat, change sovereign regimes at will, grab precious mineral resources, and control local economies with its transnational corporations.
• But the road to world domination is full of risks, and what is planned on paper may not turn out as dreamed of.
• Pursuing this path can ignite the outrage and hatred of people all over the world.
• The other road leads to world leadership. The U.S. can choose to use its power, wealth and influence to sincerely do good for the people on this planet.
• It can lead in easing or obliterating the debt burden of developing countries.
• It can focus on the fight against poverty or the fight against drugs, or the effort to save the deteriorating environment of planet earth.
• By gaining the world’s sympathy and support, terrorism directed against Americans and the U.S. mainland will be greatly minimized if not totally eliminated.
• The alternate road, in fact, is the key to defeating the phenomenon of “terrorism” gripping the world today.
• If the U.S. chooses the latter, I am confident that America will gain the hearts and minds of all of humankind.
• Then it can be a true world leader. Only then can it maintain its preeminent world status.