Is America on the brink of war?
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Last Friday, the United States President Donald Trump was about to push the red button to start a war with Iran but hours later he stopped and cancelled the airstrike.

While US military officials reported that the US aircraft was shot down in international space over the Strait of Hormuz, Iran claimed otherwise. As we all know, the US and Iran are hostile with one another due to the failed nuclear deal. So, any wrong move made by either camp can easily trigger unwanted actions such as this.

If Trump didn’t play his cards right, we would have seen the beginning of a “war.” But did he play a bluff on us? At this time and age, I think leaders ought to really think twice. A war is not a joke. It can be very damaging and costly. Someone’s got to swallow ‘pride’. In this case, we know who did. But it ain’t over yet. Let’s see what happens next. We don’t really get to hear the detailed talks in the “war room.” In a matter of seconds, the US President may suddenly shift gears and continue the airstrikes.

Don’t forget, what Trump said, “Iran made a very big mistake” in shooting down the US military surveillance drone.” Abangan!

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I know that the former Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Albert Del Rosario’s recent experience in Hong Kong is a very touchy topic especially since he is a well-loved diplomat. I’m glad to know that the DFA is cancelling all diplomatic passports issued to ex-top diplomats. It just makes such situations more complicated because having a diplomatic passport should mean that the holder is still an official representative of the country. In the case of Del Rosario, he wasn’t. He went to Hong Kong on private business. Even Article 40 of the Vienna Convention doesn’t seem to protect Del Rosario because he is not a working diplomat anymore (since 2016). Article 40 states that “a diplomatic agent is entitled to inviolability and such other immunities as may be required to ensure his transit or return through a territory of a third state.”

By now we should know the Chinese better. Del Rosario should have learned from Morales’ experience. Isn’t it quite obvious that his non-entry was linked to the ICC (International Criminal Court) communiqué? Didn’t both Del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Caprio Morales file a communication against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity?

Whether you like it or not, the Chinese will do what they want to do and no one can dictate on them even if you talk of what is right or wrong. It’s pretty clear that Del Rosario and Morales are not welcome in their land. I remember my late father who wrote against the Vietnamese government. He was enlisted as “persona non grata.” C’est la vie! Such is life!

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The real problem we have is the stand our country has against what China seems to be doing to us. Here we have two people standing up for what is right and trying their best to fight for our rights and then we have a President who seems to be playing games on us. Is Duterte representing the Filipinos in his stand on China?

Our country is suffering from a disintegration of morality. President Duterte should be clear about his position on China. What is his “paninindigan”? Can he stand up for the Filipinos? Mr. President your SONA is fast approaching. We don’t need another drama. Keep it simple and straight to the point. But most important, keep it real!

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Last week, my Uncle “Eki” Cardenas passed away. I really feel saddened by his death although it was a peaceful one. I know that he has joined the ones who have gone ahead including my late father Maximo V. Soliven who was like a cousin to him.

If there was anything “Eki” Cardenas everybody credits for, it was his unflinching and tender loyalty. His friendship was abiding and forever. And he was paid back in kind more than he must have fully realized.

In Erap Estrada’s time, he was Deputy Executive Secretary. He and his boss Ronnie Zamora backstopped and served behind the scene with loyalty. They were efficient and quiet administrators, never involved in the incompetence and backstabbing that was slowly eating up the regime then.

When Erap fell from power, they kept their peace. They did not rush to the other side. Yet, “Eki” became the target of ugly intrigues in 2003. He was implicated in the Oakwood Mutiny. His house was raided by a military group. It was unfair.

My dad, the late Max Soliven stood up for him and went to President Gloria Arroyo to plead his case. A good man was being ruined and badly needed help. “Eki” was not a man to beg for it. It was my dad who helped the president prevent Oakwood from being blown up by the rebels, ruining Makati and the country itself.

He knew “Eki” would not be part of such an outrage to the nation and history. “Eki” weathered the storm. He and my dad became closer than ever up to the time the latter departed forever in 2006. They were both good men of what Max Soliven always proudly called Ilocoslovakia. Their roots go back to Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur. But it was ideals and friendship that bonded them most. Politics was never everything.

They were Ateneans to the hilt. After college they went to graduate school in New York, dad to Fordham and “Eki” up in Cornell. They both loved books and history. They saw the world and knew how to have fun.

“Eki” has not been well. He was alone in his last years. When his dear mother passed away, the pain was obvious. I feel so sad that he left for good when my mom and I were away and we could not bid goodbye.

“Eki” was “Eki.” I am told that he went to a number of wakes of close friends and relatives just before he himself was gone. He seemed well and few suspected he would be next. That is how I remember “Eki”. He was always there when you needed him. It feels just right to think of him as always loyal and true to the end.

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