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China versus USA in the 2022 presidential polls

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

We should stop being too naive in believing that next year's presidential elections will just be a normal political show of forces between the bets of the outgoing Duterte administration, and the emerging opposition to be led either by the LP of Vice President Leni Robredo and Franklin Drilon or the ragtag but audacious 1Sambayan, led by septuagenarian Antonio Carpio and his octogenarian cousin Conchita Carpio-Morales. The truth is: it will be a make-or-break showdown between Washington and Beijing.

The bone of contention is the South China Sea. This body of water is where one-third of China's global trade passes through, including 80% of its oil imports. If China is denied passage along this sea lane, the whole China economy shall crumble like a house of cards. On the part of the US, its influence and its financial investments in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, and other ASEAN member-nations are in grave and imminent danger. The balance of power in this region has been tilted in favor of China, not only because of Beijing's aggressive hegemony and expansionism in this part of the world. It is due to Washington's own neglect and even default, by error in judgment or by design, of the region under both the Obama and the Trump administrations. They have allowed China to gain control over the area, particularly in the Paracels, the Spratlys, and Scarborough Shoal.

With these as premise, I dare say here and now that the US will most probably support the candidates that shall commit themselves to reverse the Duterte administration's pro-Beijing and pro-Moscow policies, and move back to the US axis of influence in the region. China is now in control of Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, and is courting very hard Vietnam and Thailand back to its fold. The US has only Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei, while Indonesia is trying its very best to be non-aligned. But if the Biden administration is really serious in reversing the setbacks suffered by Washington in this region, they should act swiftly and expeditiously. Time now is on the side of China, having established its civilian, economic, and trade presence in the Paracels, and also strong and massive military infrastructure build-up in the Spratys specifically in the islands of Subi, Mischief, and Fiery Cross. With Paracels under Beijng, Vietnam can easily be bombed as these islands is the strategic launching ground for a missile attack. This is how China shall force Vietnam to yield.

And if Washington is going to intervene in our polls, Beijing will not be far behind. Even candidates for senators are bound to get funding from both the USA and China. Of course, these two superpowers are going to deny this as a far-fetched speculation of a crazy and unknown journalist from Cebu. The politically correct thing for both to do is either to ignore and not glorify this political thesis of a novatus or to issue a general denial that they have better and more important things to do. But I tell you that this not only important. This is really crucial to the economic and geo-political interests of both America and China to invest in the political contests of 2022. If Bongbong Marcos, Isko Moreno, or Pacquiao, or the group of Carpio and Morales are going to win, then we shall really go back to the US in 2022. But if the likes of Inday Sara or Bong Go will prevail, then Beijing will dominate the South China Sea and the Philippines in the next six years or even beyond.

This is the game of the giants and we are merely micro pawns in the global arena. When the elephants quarrel, the small mice and rats are going to be trampled. We do not have the wherewithal to wage war against China, which keeps on bullying us. Even if we shall be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, we have no other choice but to opt for the lesser evil, which is Washington. I, for one, would rather rely on the Americans. With all its shams, trickeries, and Machiavillian tactics, the USA is still much better than China. The Duterte's pro-Beijing shift was the greatest strategic error that this administration ever committed. And we should all work with the party that shall pledge to reverse that seriously flawed course.

FRANKLIN DRILON LENI ROBREDO
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