Read their lips
Read their lips
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - March 15, 2019 - 12:00am

The United States is not going to rush to the defense of the Philippines in case of an attack by another country. The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty entered into by the two countries, which considers an attack on one as an attack on the other, does not specifically require an act of actual involvement by America, only some form of aid in the defense of the Philippines.


Besides, a treaty entered into at the height of the Cold War was more with American defense in mind than the defense of the Philippines. The Philippines had no real enemies at the time, and in fact continues to have none at present. It is America that has always had enemies, hence the need for it to have as many defense pacts as it can have.


Of course, being so puny militarily, the Philippines would like to reassure itself that with the shadow of a mutual defense treaty with the United States looming in the background, some adventurous power with things on its mind might be dissuaded from trying to find out if the treaty works according to its words.

But that is wishful thinking. America is not going to come rushing to the defense of the Philippines, especially after we so unceremoniously kicked it out of its bases in the country. It may provide arms, equipment, intelligence, and tactical advice. But if you think it is going to commit warm bodies, you might as well perish the thought. It will still be Pinoys dying in a shooting war.

And even more so if China is involved. The closest thing to a war that America might want to engage China in is a trade war. Beyond that, America is no longer the brave global policeman it used to be. With its intelligence and surveillance superiority, do you really think America did not know what China was up to in the South China Sea at the outset?

From the first spadeful of sand China excavated to start its island-building spree in the South China Sea, America already knew what the Chinese gambit was. Yet it did nothing to stop China. The way it did nothing to stop Russia in Crimea. All it was ever good at was make noise after the fact.

Thankfully for America, its commitment to the Philippines will never be tested. And that is because China is not going to attack the Philippines. It does not have to. Why attack when it can just take. And build where taking might do more harm than good. And all the while that China is doing all these, all America can muster is whimper and whine.

President Duterte is being accused of everything, from cowardice to treason, in light of his response to the South China Sea situation. But if even America steers clear of China, why must the Philippines be any different. Yes, China has taken what is rightfully ours. Does that mean we go to war and lose more? Only Duterte has seen to make the best of a very bad situation.

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