Monday, August 13, 2007

Peace Talks Ain't About Trust--But Compromise Over Permanent Interests


2007 is a year that will live long in Philippine History, I reckon, because real events since the July 10 Basilan Beheadings will force the country and its leadership to now confront certain dearly held delusions and misconceptions about "the peace process" in Mindanao, over which there is such rampant moral and intellectual confusion all over the Media and Punditocracy.

That is nothing compared of course, to the somnambulism of the political leadership of the Palace and the Congress. The President did nothing for a month. The Senators preen themselves and squabble as the Military fries. Worse, it is not clear any more what Rules the Judiciary intends to play by. The Chief Justice has called the war on terrorism "mindless" and the anti terrorism law "a knee jerk reaction" in a highly political speech poisoning the law enforcement aspect in precisely the manner that the Judicial Code of Ethics intended to prevent.


But take for example today's PDI editorial Dying in Sulu. Noting that "too many" Philippine soldiers have died recently in hunting down the beheaders and the foreign terrorists they are harboring, the editorial asks, "What did they die for?" and answers--

They died in pursuit of the remnant Abu Sayyaf, and especially of two Jemaah Islamiyah leaders: Dulmatin and Umar Patek. That they were killed, in all likelihood, by members of the Moro National Liberation Front, an organization the government signed a peace accord with a decade ago, makes their sacrifice all the more heartbreaking.

Or all the more pointless—if, that is, we credit those who have never believed a lasting peace with Moro separatist groups was possible. For them, every armed encounter, every ambush, is fresh proof that Muslims cannot be trusted.

For those of us who believe in the possibility of lasting peace in the South, however, every armed encounter, every ambush, is proof positive that the peace process is as necessary as ever.

Necessary as ever? I think, if anything, recent events have shown that even the achievement of a peace accord, which is the end of the "peace process" has not been SUFFICIENT to bring about peace. Perhaps that is bacause there is NO PEACE without JUSTICE, as even the Moros assert. But it certainly makes the NECESSITY of peace talks a questionable thing, if even its successful conclusion is NOT ENOUGH to make peace.

For some reason, the editorial is not convincingly heartbroken over the sacrifice of the Marines, nor were their deaths pointless. The point is they are heartbroken the 1996 peace accord did not prevent the deaths and disastrous debacles that they are now forced to report on the front page. But the Peace Talks ARE pointless if we cannot sign a peace accord with anyone that is in any position to guarantee the peaceful future actions of those who DON'T literally sign some piece of paper in front of the Malaysians bribing them with some substantial portion of the sovereign territory.

But the essential confusion displayed by the editorial is over the question of TRUST in the matter of peace talks: Peace talks ain't about trust, because they are really about BOTH sides compromising certain permanent interests they each have. Unless there is a willingness to compromise over such interests, on both sides, there is really no basis for "peace talks".

But some people, including the editorialist, evidently believes that peace talks are really a matter of whether we trust the other side or not, whether we believe in peace enough to make it happen EVEN IF the other side does not want it. That is naive to say the least, and reveals a dangerous and entirely false premise that the government side CAN make peace happen if it just wants too badly enough. Here is more confusion from PDI:
Certainly, the government’s iron fist must come down hard on those who coddle the JI terrorists and the Abu Sayyaf bandits. But the government must do so without losing sight of the true national interest: not merely to pursue the terrorists or to punish those who offer them sanctuary, but to establish the basis of a lasting peace. As President Macapagal-Arroyo said in the first of three statements she released over the weekend: “The military offensive against the Abu Sayyaf must continue, not as an act of vengeance but as a strategy to win the peace.” Much about the offensive in Sulu remains confusing, and confused.
You got that right, PDI, and I expect your many imitators and plagiarists to sow even more confusion in the next few days as these arguments are used and re-used to befuddle the public even more about what ought to be done.

What is not widely recognized is that "the Enemy" has no such moral or intellectual confusions evident in the daily newspapers and broadcasters, columns and editorials. Certainly not since the local secessionist and separatist warlords and intellectuals linked up with the Global Jihad. The latter process has become largely complete under the cover of peace talks and the low-level warfare that most people in Manila can safely ignore as part of the Mass Media's way of selling more cellphone load.

What I am afraid of is that the utterly clueless political and social leadership of this country, and the rest of civilization, will be now be forced to accept the de facto establishment of BANGSMOROSTAN, a fundamentalist Islamic Republic right in the heart ASEAN, just south of the only Christian country in Asia, as a new homeland for Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and the rest of the Global Jihad. Now here is Afghanistan and Pakistan put together as thousands of little island universes and archipelagoes of terrorist redoubts from which to threaten all of Asia, even resurgent, Olympics-bound China! Here is Al Qaeda in its old element when the Maguindanao Confederacy and Sulu slave traders did ample and lucrative business with the Muslim potentates and sultans of a vanished Islamic Empire. Perhaps it is already there and we just do not know it.

But the arguments and debate over PEACE TALKS will continue because loudly calling for them is the most comfortable way for the Moral Copout artists in the government and Civil Society to distance themselves from the real problem that perhaps "the other side" is just not interested in peace and is prepared to make all-out war on civilization itself. They are determined to have their own piece of the Archipelago, to have their own THEOCRACY ruled in the name of Islam by Al Qaeda.

I do not believe we are dealing any more with Philippine Terrorists, but with the Base itself. There is no negotiating however with this Bunch, because here it is a question of PERMANENT VALUES, not just "interests".

It is an unfortunate fact that our dyed in the wool pacifists will have to accept: there is no compromise possible between theocracy and democracy. NONE!


john marzan said...

Dean, why do I get the feeling na you're the one being targetted by the PDI with their editorial, even though they mentioned no names? if so, salbahe naman yung editorialist na yon.

I do not believe we are dealing any more with Philippine Terrorists, but with the Base itself.

"The Base" = Al Queda

So I guess you're advocating WAR now with the MILF, MNLF too?

And you think it's still a good idea to treat this as a "criminal" or a "police matter"?

Pero mukhang hindi kaya ng current Military Leadership ni Maam Arroyo ang kalaban na ito. too incompetent and corrupt. they're known more for their loyalty to arroyo more than anything else.

I think more direct US military assistance may be needed this time.

DJB Rizalist said...

you hit the nail on the head john. I can already foresee the coming disaster.

Again the U.S. will have to clean up our mess, because this time, it'll threaten everybody directly...the Malaysians, the Indonesians, the Australians and the Americans.

I'm beginning to think Barack Obama has got something when he says he wants to focus the war on terror more on Asia.

manuelbuencamino said...


Please volunteer to fight the WAR.

talk is cheap. fight your own WAE don't let others do the fighting for you.

we don't need any more propagandists. what we need are boots on the ground. start marching buddy!

DJB Rizalist said...

well mb,
out of ammo again huh? can't u come up with just one decent argument WHY the peace talks are still a good idea?

or here's one better: what exactly would you do in a situation like this?

manuelbuencamino said...

Why should I ? I never said it was a good idea to begin with.

Now that's not to say that peace talks are inherently bad, maybe we are just going about it in the wrong way.

But I am not advocating all out war either. Not that we shouldn't but maybe we are going about it the wrong way also.

You see DJ, I am not as absolutely sure as you are about these things so I am giving this whole thing some careful thought.

But one thing I know I would do if I were as morally certain as you, I would hop on the next flight to Sulu or Basilan and fight the WAR I want everyone else to fight for me.

That, to use one of your favorite expressions, is the only truly MORALLY CONSISTENT thing to do when someone advocates war.

What's the problem DJ, you prefer the ratatat of a keyboard to a machinegun?

Would you rather be a cheerleader and a griever instead of a warrior?

Your rhetoric... really!

It sure sounds like chickenhawk talk to me.

It's time for you to walk the talk.

Do you see what you are doing fanning the flames of war from the comfort of your home?

DJB Rizalist said...

mb, you know what they say...the pen is mightier than the sword. That is still true, and more so because now
the real battle IS in the comfort of our own homes, to which the war will surely come. But I am disappointed that you don't think my own position is also the result of a long period of confusion and contemplation that has undergone its own evolution to come to a conclusion. Which means that if I could convince only one other person of the perspective I've attained, then I shall have done my duty. Let us have no illusions whatever about our ultimate usefulness.

My loyalty is to the Aristocracy of the good in mankind, whose duty is to fight the evils it finds, even in the comfort of our own homes, safely festering away but hidden in bad ideas, wrong beliefs, attitudes moulded not by conscience and discernment, but propaganda and ideology.

It is harder than you think to be a "warmonger" -- most especially if you believe in peace.

I think however that the big mistake is to think of war and peace as opposites.

But if "peace" is physical and mental health, then "war" is just medicine, often bitter medicine, or bloody like an operation.

But we don't think of health and medicine as opposites do we?

As for actually fighting in Sulu, it is hardly wise to go there, since the war is coming HERE, to the comfort of our own homes.

This is the beginning of a major chapter in Philippine History MB.

This incident is not going away like your droughts and your elections. It is the contagion that is sweeping the world, and perhaps long after George W. Bush is gone, you will realize that he was right, even if only in the sense of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

manuelbuencamino said...

Chickenhawk rationalizations,

You are agitating for war from the dafety and comfort of your home.

DJB Rizalist said...

well you know us armchair warmongers. Home is important to us, as much as comfort, which some call security.

You on the other hand, have nothing but the copout called liberalism. Where you can choose sides but won't say which, because you honestly don't know, I guess!

DJB Rizalist said...

But if you should think of some rational argument that can stand up in an armchair without self-destructing, please feel welcome to expound on it.

manuelbuencamino said...

To clarify issues os okay, but you cross the line when you agitate for war whicj you don't evem have to courage to fight yourself.

DJB Rizalist said...

your argument is just a form jingoistic ad hominem. i will ignore it.