What if America leaves the Philippines alone?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - September 22, 2016 - 12:00am

Reflecting deeply on the current anti-American pronouncements made by our president, it is our considered view, with all due respect, that such an impulsive stance may not be sustainable in the long run. Whatever emotional expressions of irritation, passing spite or momentary anger manifested relative to the alleged US criticism of our domestic anti-drug campaign, whatever misunderstanding we have for the moment should not become the defining factor of our foreign policy. Yes, an independent foreign policy is not only the right thing to opt for, but even an imperative principle of a sovereign nation. But in choosing that option, do we have to break a long-standing friendship with our closest treaty ally?

Supposed the US government decides to distance itself from our country. Can we stand alone given the propensity of China to bully us and rob us of our territorial domains? Can we secure our territories from the mad incursions of predators in Asia and the Pacific and from the nuclear threats poise by North Korea? Does having an independent foreign policy necessarily mean that we have to antagonize a long-time and often reliable ally? Well, yes, the USA is not a perfect friend. It has a lot of imperfections and even many excesses. But do we have a better alternative? Are we really prepared to cut our ties with Uncle Sam? Or, is it better said than done?

We can never rely on China because it has long coveted our territorial domains in the West Philippine Sea, which is being claimed to be more of a component supposedly of the South China Sea. China poses today, as it has always posed since time immemorial, an unfair trade competition to our economy and our business sectors, as it has always been flooding our country with cheap but unsafe and unhealthy products.

China has mercilessly executed all our nationals who are allegedly convicted of being involved as couriers in the illegal drug trade. And yet, most of the drug lords inundating the Philippines with shabu and other illegal drugs are Chinese.

Neither can our country rely on Russia, despite our leaders' open admiration for President Putin. Russia does not have a track record of helping our country in good times and in bad. Unlike the US that has always stood behind the Philippines in many natural calamities and man-made turmoil and disasters. With all its tendencies to impose its politics and ideologies on us, with its propensity to make us their clones on their libertarian principles on human rights and civil liberties, the US is still our most reliable friend. We have millions of Filipinos in the USA, from Hawaii to New York, from Seattle to Florida. We cannot afford to antagonize the Americans.

The US is far from a perfect ally. It has a lot of tendencies at condescension. It has some records of taking advantage over our past leaders' naiveté and lack of foresight. But then again, America also has done a lot for our country and people. Our two countries have more than a century of being together against many common enemies and common problems.

The Americans have never abused our women like the Japanese did. They never oppressed our forefathers like the Spaniards did for 377 years.

It is not perfect, yes, but what matters most, it is America and no one else that stood by us when many invaders ravished our land and massacred our people. We have no friend like America. Thus, it is a folly to pick a fight with the US. It is even unthinkable for the moment.

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