Fri. May 27th, 2022
Cartoon courtesy of Craig Stephens | South China Morning Post

A lot of fanfare and media hype is greeting the “largest-ever” Balikatan military exercise between US and Philippines forces that commenced on Monday, the 28th of March.

While Balikatan means “shouldering the load together”, the spectacle of the US supplying puny arms to Ukraine, abandoning Ukraine and denying action for a “No Fly Zone” in the US fight to the last drop of Ukrainian blood against the Russians, is an insight into how much shouldering the US does in an actual fight.

The same lesson was learned in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021 leaving behind hundreds of thousands of US-dependent human assets to the wrath of the Taliban who were, thankfully, not as blood-thirsty for vengeance as they were feared to be.

However, the US did leave behind their Afghan interpreters, drivers, maids, fellow soldiers to their mercies.

Please watch former US. Marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter on Grey Zone tell how the Americans “always leave their allies” in the lurch when the going gets tough, starting @12.20 minutes:

WATCH: Georgia experience and more, ‘You said you’re gonna be there…’

8,900 Filipino and American soldiers are participating in this year’s Balikatan Exercise. Military officials say the number of military participants is the largest ever to engage in a command post exercise to plan, command, and communicate with each other, and bolster the collective security and defensive capabilities of the alliance based supposedly on the Mutual Defense Treaty.

To make the war exercise more palatable, civic assistance will be conducted which begs the question, why not just have the civic assistance without the military exercise?

Opposition from Provincial Governor and people.

US-PHL military cooperation for civic assistance would really be appreciated as the province where the Balikatan exercise is being conducted this week is still one of the poorest in the country.

In the most recent data from the National Statistics Authority that was reported in 2020, Cagayan province reported a “double-digit increase of 15.4 percent” in poverty.

Cagayan is among the farthest of the northern provinces of the country still needing countless infrastructure development, including the rehabilitation of the Cagayan River to boost agricultural production.

Dr. Manuel Mamba (medical physician), Cagayan Province’s current governor has been holding public office for and in the province since 1995, first as mayor then as representative for twelve years. He is on record as opposing the Balikatan “live fire” military exercise saying, “That’s live fire. They’re going to test all armaments.

What will happen to our relationship with our neighbors, especially China? We are trying to reconnect ourselves with China… It may cause a diplomatic row… We don’t want to anger China here in Cagayan. We see that we could get help from them.”

Gov. Mamba expressed his concern that the military drills “may derail the economic blueprints… anchored on the idea of maintaining a peaceful and productive relationship with adjacent international partners.”

At the same time, lives and properties of Cagayanons may also be endangered by the live-fire drills including those in Fuga and Babuyan Islands and even seafarers of other nations plying the waters of the Luzon Straits and Bashi Channels, the strategic interests of the US military that we will explain.

PDI and Balikatan’s Anti-China maleficence

Gov. Manuel Mamba has focused his concern on protecting the welfare of the people of Cagayan and caring about the foreign relations of the country vis-à-vis its friendly and helpful neighbor China.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) dubbed Gov. Mamba in its headline as, “Pro-China governor opposed PH-US live-fire drills.” The poisoned PDI headline and reference exposes its deeply maleficent motives that sees this issue immediately in the jaundiced light of US vs. China as the real US intention in the exercises.

Foremost in the mind of the US is “China, China, China” and its containment of the rise of the giant Asian nation that has never shown any hostile intent towards the Philippines. Since the time of the Tang Dynasty in the 9th century AD through the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties, China has always been a friend of the Philippines.

In the Philippine anti-colonial revolution, China was an ally, and it was also likewise in the anti-Japanese War. China, Asia, Asean, and the Philippines today are together in the great mission of building the Asian Century ready to surpass the economic prosperity of the West that the US seeks to destroy.

Filipinos and Asians should not belittle the maleficence behind the activities of the US, while the Philippine military has no choice today but to go along with these malevolent US projects like the Balikatan due to American underlings scattered all over the Philippine political class and bureaucracy.

The ilk of Grace Poe, Babe Romualdez, Teddy Locsin, Albert del Rosario, Antonio Carpio persist in doing the bidding of the US, and badgering Duterte to twaddle on his independent foreign policy. The fate of nations that blindly follow the US into war ventures has now been monumentalized in Ukraine and E.U.’s destruction.

American and Pilipino training in war games involving equipment the Philippines do not have.

Fuga, Babuyan Islands, Luzon Straits targeted

Why is the US initiating this Balikatan military drill in the farthest northern region of Luzon in Cagayan Province?

Above that province are two strategic sea choke points of naval passage between the Philippine Sea westward and the China Sea eastward.

These are the Luzon Straits and Bashi Channel, and the island of Fuga and Babuyan that are like sentinels at the crossings where Chinese naval might may pass through to reach the Western Pacific to counter US-Australian threats; reportedly new Chinese bases may arise soon at the Solomon Islands.

The Fuga Islands could generate billions in revenues for the Philippines in terms of trade, tourism and industry if Chinese investments have not been blocked by US-backed Philippine political and business interests.

Alas, however, as happens frequently, the Filipinos’ economic welfare is obstructed by US interests and aggressive security intentions.

The Fuga Islands are just a short distance from Fujian Province and Taiwan, a perfect offshore haven for Chinese rest and recreation if the billions worth of hotels and facilities already proposed by Chinese investors had been allowed to become reality.

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) was organized to provide economic and administrative development, planning and organization to the region with investment agreements from Chinese commercial, travel and industrial entities.

It had up to $3.9-billion worth of investment commitment from Chinese firms for such projects as smart cities, industrial parks and manufacturing enterprises, but these have all been frustrated by the obstructionism of corrupt local political dynasties identified with US political loyalties.

US aggression silently rising

One of the most advantageous developments for Asian countries is the emergence of open-source intelligence monitoring of the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) established in 2019.

The SCSPI used satellite and other data to track the naval aggression of the U.S. across the China Sea and counter the misinformation and disinformation regularly churned out by the US government’s Asia Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) that were misused and abused regularly by Carpio, Batongbacal, Heydarian and other Amboy pseudo intellectual-patriots.

The US has been stepping-up its “gunboat diplomacy” in 2021 as the SCSI 2021 report on “US Military Activities in the South China Sea in 2022” reports. Here’s an excerpt from its 47-page narrative:

“… The US carrier strike groups (CSGs) and amphibious ready groups (ARGs) entered the South China Sea 12 times, more than twice the frequency in 2020. At least 11 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) deployed to the South China Sea and its surrounding waters throughout the year, among which the Seawolf class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) even “struck an underwater mountain” in the northern waters of the South China Sea. In addition, with a significantly stronger focus on China, the US military has given more emphasis to ‘great power competition’ with respect to strategies, tactics, concepts of operations (CONOPS) and weapons research and development.”

China Sea with the Philippine navy. Photo: AFP


We still can’t tell how 2022 will impact on the Ukraine war.  How will the self-inflicted economic and financial crisis in the US influence its self-defeating proxy war, And how will anti-Russian sanctions impact its original priority of “Pivot to Asia”?

However, the US will certainly find it more difficult to increase its budget for aggression in Asia now. US inflation continues to surge beyond 40-Year highs; already, this is eating into its augmented 2022 $ 770-billion defense budget and the US $ dominance threatens to collapse as half of the world is moving away from trading with US Dollars.

China, the Philippines and the right side of history

While the U.S. agitates the World that it thinks it still sways, it is actually continuing its reduction of friction with China in some fields. The U.S. has restored tariff exemption for 352 categories of goods from China ranging from bicycle parts, electric motors, machinery, chemicals, seafood and duffel bags.

In the trade war that Trump launched, the jury is already as the US trade deficit with China is soaring higher and higher through the period of the trade war. The U.S. just can’t win, and it will do even worse after its sanction war with Russia as higher fuel and mineral prices impact the E.U. and the U.S.

China will continue to rise further in 2022 as some of its major manufacturing competitors, Germany and the E.U. in general, suffer the downward spiral from the Ukraine crisis and sanctions war with Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia will be boosting economic relations with China, India and the rest of Asia. Already, China has been requested by all parties in the Ukraine War to help mediate in the conflict as everybody’s friend and trade benefactor. And this presents the question for Filipinos and the leaders of this nation – are we going to be on the right side of history too?

Signed in 1998 and ratified in 1999, the VFA provides legal cover to American troops temporarily deployed in the Philippines to participate in military activities including joint exercises. (AFP)

This writer hopes the 2022 Balikatan will be the last such military exercise between the Philippines and the U.S. The U.S. has never brought any good to the Philippines: only the brainwashing of 134 years under the same period of colonization and neo-colonization to this day has done the U.S. any good memory for the Philippines. The right side of history is the vision of the multipolar world where no single superpower exists and all nations, therefore, treat each other equally and beneficently.

The Balikatan Trap and the MDT must end

The U.S. strategic thrust has always been to deny security to and create wars in other regions to keep its own country completely safe. The Ukraine crisis is rooted in the NATO alliance that “keeps Germany down, Russia out and the U.S. in” to dominate Europe; meanwhile, NATO expansion is to provoke Russia and use Ukraine as a quagmire for it.

Exhausting Russia is a step towards confronting “peer competitor” China while the Philippines or Taiwan (or both), will be used as pretext for war with China. US denies that Russia and China have any rights to buffer zones while the U.S. has the Monroe Doctrine and the Pacific and Atlantic as buffers.

The Philippines was colonized by the U.S. as a stepping stone to the China market; now it’s a stepping stone to the next war. Only President Rodrigo R. Duterte stopped the progression of the U.S. strategy for the Asian proxy war using the Philippines.

But the Amboys have caused the delay in the final liberation of the Philippines to be a fully independent nation to help pursue the world and humankind’s promise of a global community of peace and sharing a future of prosperity. There’s still time: the Ukraine War helped us all buy some more time.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has done his part, while the left-behind Amboys have caused contradiction and confusion in his final “separation” from the U.S.

We hope the next administration will deliver the “coup de grace” to the Mutual Defense Treaty that has kept resetting this Balikatan Trap year in and year out since 1991.

The danger of war and destruction by the U.S. “false flag” and readiness to fight its adversaries, in this case China, “to the last drop of blood of the last Filipino” is ever present while the U.S. is here.

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