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By Amando Doronila
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.
By Cielito F. Habito
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).
By Rina Jimenez-David
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.”
By Amando Doronila
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.
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.
By Mahar Mangahas
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.
By Karen Pimentel Simbulan
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.
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 [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
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 [...]
By Hermenegildo C. Cruz
The commentary “Bases access accord will boost US arms sales” by Bobby Tuazon (Inquirer, 7/19/13) is based on the familiar thesis that US foreign policy is driven by the US military-industrial complex. It is a one-sided presentation, because by now China also has its own military-industrial complex.
By Bernie Lopez
Both China and the United States recently conducted war games in the Spratlys, showing off how loud they could roar. But the exercises were insignificant psywar tactics that have now been forgotten. Because America has no territorial stake in the Spratlys, the Philippines had to be part of the US naval exercise. After all, we are the landowner. And yet, if we consider size, not ownership, where there are two giants and we are ants, we are mere fence sitters. In truth, the United States is using the Philippines as a pawn for a larger geopolitical plan under President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” policy.
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
The bases access issue. We do have a Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States. And yes, we also have a Visiting Forces Agreement with that country. The preamble to the agreement notes that “from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may visit the Republic of the Philippines….”