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US shows naval force amid Asia arms buildup

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A few weeks ahead of the visit of President Barack Obama to four of the United States’ Asian allies, including the Philippines, on April 28-29, to sign an enhanced defense agreement that would give the United States wider access to Philippine military bases, the US Seventh Fleet sailed into Manila Bay on March 17 in a show of force to impress upon its allies its commitment to defend them against China’s aggressive encroachments on disputed territories in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Posted: April 14th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

US tells China: Don’t use Crimea land grab model

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In its strongest message since the standoff between Manila and Beijing over the disputed Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal) in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) on March 29, the United States warned on Thursday that China should not doubt the US commitment to defend its Asian allies and the prospect of economic retaliation should also discourage China from using force to pursue territorial claims in Asia, in the way Russia has done in the annexation of Crimea.

Posted: April 7th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Senate clash seen over US bases access

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Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, warned on Friday that a new security agreement with the United States, which would expand US forces’ access to Philippine bases, would run into a head-on clash with constitutional restrictions on American military presence in the country following the closure of US bases in 1992.

Posted: March 17th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

China rides roughshod on neighbors

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The Philippines and the United States on Saturday jointly expressed concern over recent incidents in the South China Sea that “threaten freedom of navigation in disputed waters,” an apparent reference to China’s increasing assertiveness in pressing its territorial claims in the region.

Posted: March 10th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Sotu and Super Bowl

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I was in Washington, DC a week ago when US President Barack Obama delivered his annual State of the Union (Sotu) address, the American counterpart to our own President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Reflections on the ‘polar vortex’

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I remember visiting the United States during winter some years back and driving into the subdivision where my sister and her family lived in Virginia. It was early evening, and the scene was straight out of a Currier and Ives print. Roofs were blanketed in snow, the spindly branches of trees sported twinkling necklaces of ice and frost. “Ang ganda (How beautiful)!” I exclaimed, as the car crunched its way through the snow-covered streets. My brother-in-law, who was driving, snorted: “Not if you have to shovel through the snow.”

Posted: January 7th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Manila mutes US spying outrage

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China and several Southeast Asian nations, except the Philippines, have demanded an explanation from the United States and its allies in reaction to media reports that US and Australian embassies in the region were being used as hubs for Washington’s secret electronic surveillance worldwide, according to an Associated Press report from Sydney on Oct. 31.

Posted: November 7th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The two powers

The high-profile summits held this week in Bali and then in Bandar Seri Begawan were described in many media reports in stark, dualistic terms—an absent United States, a rising China. In fact, the leaders’ meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in Indonesia and of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its regional partners in Brunei showed that a multipolar world was truly emerging. But the world’s two biggest economies and military powers dominated the discussion.

Posted: October 10th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Stubborn poverty in the US, too

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September is the month when the US Census Bureau reports the official poverty statistics for the previous year. Last Tuesday, it gave out the disappointing news that there was no improvement in household incomes and the proportion in poverty in 2012 compared to 2011. Reuters reported that “U.S. poverty rises despite economic recovery,” to contrast the stubbornness of American poverty with the gain of 16 percent in Standard & Poor’s 500 index from last year.

Posted: September 20th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Realities of conflict in Israel

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THIS Aug. 21 citizen journalism image, which has been authenticated based on its content, shows an old man mourning the dead after an alleged poisonous gas attack by regime forces in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. The chemical-weapons attack killed more than 1,400 people. AP

From Aug. 26 to 31, when images of US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were being beamed all across the globe, talking about the inconceivable horror of Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people and priming the public for what seemed to be the inevitability of US military intervention in Syria, I was wandering the Old City of Jerusalem. I was trying to make sense of a longer, albeit similarly intractable conflict—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Posted: September 14th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Talk of the Town | Read More »

Negotiating rights

Government officials have taken great care to describe the so-called negotiations between the Philippines and the United States to increase American military presence in the country in soothing constitutionalist or strategic terms. It is what is not being said, however, that worries us. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, for instance, assured the public that the meetings [...]

Posted: August 14th, 2013 in Editor's Pick,Editorial | Read More »

Hole in the head

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It’s one of the sublime ironies of this magic-realist country that the only time we did not have a US military presence here was during Fidel Ramos’ rule. Which was from 1992 to 1998, the period shortly after the Magnificent 12 booted out the US bases in 1991 and Erap’s Senate approved the Visiting Forces [...]

Posted: August 14th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

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