When the superpowers collide, the small nations suffer

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 15, 2020 - 12:00am

The collateral damage in these current tensions in the Middle East are being inflicted on the smaller countries which are dependent on Iran and other Gulf countries for oil. The other very serious damage would be on the two million OFWs working in 16 countries in the region.

The tempest in the Middle East is not just a conflict between the US and Iran. This turmoil can escalate into a war involving China and Russia which are also behind Iran. The US will be fighting in this region hopefully supported by UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other NATO countries. The allies of USA in the Middle East are Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. But there are conflicting interests and the US may end up fighting alone. Iran has Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon on its side. China is very much interested in protecting Iran because China's number one need is supplied mainly by Iran, and that is oil. Russia too has found in Iran a natural friend. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.

Iran has a population of 82.25 million. Its supporters include China which has 1.4 billion, while Russia has 146.80 million people. Arrayed against them is the USA with a population of 328.23 million. Iran has 873,000 military personnel, a total of 509 fighter aircraft, 1,634 combat tanks, and 2,345 armored fighting vehicles. Iran has 398 naval assets, 34 submarines, and six frigates. Its defense budget is US$6.3 billion. Russia, (Iran's main supporter), has 3,586,128 military personnel, 869 fighter planes, 1,450 attack planes, 21,932 combat tanks, 50,040 armored fighting vehicles, 4,485 self-propelled artillery, and 3,860 rocket projectors. Russia has 352 naval assets, with one aircraft carrier, 13 frigates, 13 destroyers, and 56 submarines. Russia's defense budget is US$ 44 billion.

China has 2,893,000 military personnel. 3,187 warplanes, 13,050 combat tanks, 40,000 armored fighting vehicles, 714 warships, one aircraft carrier, 52 frigates, and 33 destroyers. China's defense budget is US$ 224 billion. The USA has 2,141,000 military personnel, 13,398 war planes, 5,760 battle helicopters, 971 attack helicopters, 6,887 combat tanks, 39,223 armored fighting vehicles, 992 self-propelled artillery, and 1,056 rocket projectors. America has 415 war ships, 24 aircraft carriers, 22 frigates, 68 destroyers, and 68 submarines. The US defense budget of US$716 billion exceeds that of Iran, China, and Russia.

If and when the tensions in the Gulf should escalate into a war, the greatest losers are the small and poor countries like the Philippines.


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