Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Philippines and the New China

[MacArthur returning to the Philippines 1945]

From the Times today -
Official Chinese news organizations reported on March 20 that the government intended to bolster its naval presence in the South China Sea by sending six more patrol vessels to the region in the next three to five years. The official reason was to “curb illegal fishing.” But the announcement came after tensions with the Philippines rose in March over the disputed Nansha Islands, which the Filipino government claimed as its territory in a law passed on March 10.

Remember the Philippines demanding and getting the closure of the Clark and Subic Bay naval bases in 1991? You wanted the American imperialists out? Now defend yourselves without us you ungrateful pricks.


  1. Damien8:20 AM

    Hold on a minute there Jack, of course the Philippines has the right to sovereignty, opposition was fierce at the time to any leases or "aid" packages which would enable an extension of American occupation in them bases. The Philippines has every right to full sovereignty and protection from the international community in the face of a potential Humanitarian crisis, same as every state, (not that I see this developing into a crisis). Are you some kind of far-right Neo-Conservative or something? Would you rather America have bases there for nuclear weaponry and imperialist ambitions because lets be honest, the U.S. couldn't have given two flying fucks about the Philippines and their bases there after the collapse of the Soviet Union, their agenda had, for the most part, switched to the Middle-East. Islam had replaced Communism as the West's new adversary at this stage thanks to Congress influence as well as influential lobbyists. To be honest, I don't think you are an neo-con by any stretch of the imagination. I suspect your Westernized vision for the Philippines and apparent anger at the withdrawal of American military then stems once again back to the source of your ingrained hatred for all things, your religion. You'd rather an American presence there due to the Jewish community which populates the place? You would rather deny full sovereignty to the Filipino people, just like the plight of the Palestinian people, because of a small Jewish population which inhabits the area. What a bitter petty man you are. I'm glad I have a rational mind and see beyond the bullshit of all religion when I see waffle like what you write in your blog, because it clearly has a severe effect on you and your opinions, as Dawkin's quite aptly says, "a virus".

  2. I love it how Damien raises ignorance to an art form.

    The Clark and Subic Bay bases were built in the 1950's when the Soviet Union had no navy to speak of. They were there to protect not against the USSR but against the possibility of a recrudescence of Japanese militarism, against Chinese expansionism (within months of the communist victory in the civil war, China invaded both Tibet and Korea, the latter with devastating effect), and against Indonesian aggression (As expected, Sukarno pressed confrontation with Malaysia to outright invasion a few years after the bases were built.)

    But Damien is content to stand in a crowd and shout his ignorance. "Imperialism! Imperialism!" he cries, not knowing that first 20th Century post-colonial state was the Philippines, because the United States Congress cut them loose in 1935.

    The American Montesquieu, Tip O'Neill, once observed, "All politics is local." To which I add, "All international politics is regional."

  3. Damien6:07 AM

    I'm well up to date on my South-East Asian history, but thanks anyway Jack. And while you're right, I was very quick to mention the Soviet Union, the fear of a resurgence in Japanese Militarism had little to do with them bases when they were being stockpiled up. Japan was already "changing its image" in America, the American's no longer portrayed them as monkeys in popular culture but rather, the innocent new Japan portrayed as a mother and child. Japan was co-operating and happy to build up as an economic power. With MacArthur looking after things there, the U.S. were sufficiently happy that Japan posed no real threat, maybe Australians would beg to differ and memories were very raw there over bombings like Darwin for some time to come, but we all know Aussie's are supposed to be racist towards the Japanese anyway (An interesting article on the very topic, Australia's post WWII attitudes to Japan greatly differed, maybe its because Oz's constitution was founded on racist laws... http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25378168-5013404,00.html). Communism in general and North Korea were the threats though, (I should have clarified, Soviet influence, rather than the Soviet Union). It was also very active during the Vietnam War. There was a serious armory in those Island's to be fair Jack, and I think its naive not to consider the possibility that they had nuclear weaponry strategically built there to counter both the P.R. of China and the Soviet Union. The closure of them bases was a result of the crumbling Soviet Union, if you refute that your an idiot, obviously the volcanic damage done to the area as well as the cost to maintain such strong and yet needless weaponry also had correlative effects. Subic Bay has oft been considered "the last vestiage of American colonialism", and I'd agree. It denies the Philippines the right to exercise legitimate authority within its borders, thereby denying the Philippines its sovereignty. So no Jack, I am not shouting any ignorance. The pull-out after the collapse of the Soviet Union was no coincidence, and you never explained why you were so angered by this pull-out, I'd be genuinely interested to know this? Maybe my initial assumptions about religion were wrong so do please explain the source of your anger?

  4. I agree. And if their sovereignty is so fucking precious to them, let them defend it themselves without American assistance.

    I am sure you are right that there is no question of any but white people being aggressive toward smaller weaker neighbors. And no doubt you are right in assuming that none of China's announced ramping up of public spending to deal with the global economic disaster will be spent on China's military. And of course China will have no interest in Philippine raw materials, nor view it as a market for their exports and investments, nor use their growing military to protect their economic position. Only white people ever do that.

    "Oft been considered..." Has it ever crossed your mind that such phrases mean only that the "journalist" is just venting his prejudices and pretending he is reporting something.

    By that standard I can (and do) report that "sources say" that Damien is a moron. I have read it repeatedly. Which, if you believe those brain-dead assumptions about imperialism and colonialism, is actually true.

    Just in case you really don't understand - colonialism is when one country captures the markets and raw materials of another country and holds them by force, explicit or implied.

    Where the colonialist country is suffering a balance of payments deficit with the colony and the resources of the colony are as cheap or cheaper in the free market, expect a flag raising and some nationalist twit being sworn in as the new president of the new republic. And a lot of hypocritical bullshit about sovereignty, of interest only to the uncritical.

    Do you imagine the British gave up their empire out of altruism? They left when, after the war, it became a net cost rather than a net gain.

    The main Philippine raw materials exported to the US, sisal and hemp, became worthless with the introduction of nylon rope in the 1950's.

    The Philippines was always a net loss to the United States and the bases were an outright expense. The volcano cleanup just amplified the costs. Which is why they didn't just bribe the eminently bribeable Philippine government to keep them.

    From which it follows that the strategic reasons given for the bases were likely the actual reasons.

  5. Damien7:55 AM

    Jack, yet again you continue to make wild assumptions and fail to a) read my argument and b) answer any of the questions I raised? I thought it was pretty obvious that I am talking about the Philippine's sovereignty, as I stated in my very first line under this blog post, which is the Phillipines right to exercise legitimate authority in it's own territories. As often is the case in post-colonial states, also occurring in my own state's history, the colonial power keeps bases in these areas thereby denying the newly formed state it's sovereignty, this is what is meant by the last vestige of Colonialism. I am fully aware of what a colony is but thanks for the break down. You are really clutching at straws here for the sake of trying to win an argument and its mildly amusing but a little tiresome. Why were you so angered about the pull out after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I still can't figure out the source of your anger that possessed you to post up this bullshit (which dare I say sounds like a completely imperialist attitude)?????? Yes, cost was a big factor (if this was the sole reason for the pull out then surely you would have been an advocate of America's withdrawal and not have such an attitude towards the Philippines?), but this cost factor also existed throughout the Cold War period. To say that the pull-out of these areas is unrelated to the collapse of the Soviet Union is completely inaccurate. You've assumed that I am unaware with the concept of colonialism, that I am advocate of Chinese foreign policy (something I deplore even though it is you that says the Philippines deserves everything it gets), you also assumed that I think only "white" states are capable of acts of violence on other states (who knows where you dragged that inane drivel from). In the past you have assumed that I am an anti-semitic sympathizer of Hamas because I am equally disgusted with Israeli war crimes as I am with Hamas war crimes, you have assumed that I am thief (something you later found out to be incorrect) and low-life scum because YOU rented out a house to 7 students on a summer working-holiday (needless to say, a very convenient quick cash fix for yourself) and didn't get the house back in immaculate condition. You should drop your constant assumptions and prejudices about people because not only do they turn you into an archetypal grumpy old man but they are also wholly inaccurate. However, some of my assumptions of people living in the Bay have been proven, that is that they live in a smug self-righteous bubble of their own importance and self-worth, I'll not tarnish ye all with the same brush though, that wouldn't be fair though I did encounter a lot of this over there. You really should critically look at yourself sometime, could do you the world of good.

  6. Christy1:06 PM

    "Do you imagine the British gave up their empire out of altruism? They left when, after the war, it became a net cost rather than a net gain."

    Just thought I'd comment on this one. Since the early 1700s Ireland has been a drag on Britain economically and politically, the only advantage Ireland offered Britain was the chance to give a few aristocrats a few estates and a strategic military base in case the Spanish or French fancied a backdoor into old Brittania. Yet even though Ireland was a net loss, Britain hung on to her are an integral part of the Union from 1801 on --> A Home Rule settlement would have sorted out the ethnic and strategic advantages Ireland gave the Empire, yet this was rejected and rejected and rejected, leading one to come to the conclusion that the British Empire did not hang on to Ireland for purely economic reasons.

    The case of India also applies, the wealth it generated was useful but was just as plentiful under the East India company. The heavy British involvement in that region was primarily cultural - the attempt to create a mini England far to the east, an attempt to create a lasting British majesty in the orient. It was almost entirely a cultural, 'Look at us' effect.

    So I highly doubt the reasons the British Empire dissolved was because it became a net loss. It never was a real net gain - free trade made the Empire great and London the finest city on earth. (And made the Brits roughly twice as wealthy as any competitor in the 1870s) The reason Empire dissolved was because the cultural attachment to it had faded, because Europe had emerged from a terrible war and Britain saw itself in its new weaker role on the world stage.

  7. I think Christy somewhat answers his own objection. "Britain hung on to [Ireland as] an integral part of the Union from 1801 on" If the British saw Ireland as an integral part of their country rather than as part of their empire, that would answer his objection to the British imperial system being seen as largely economic in purpose.

    Any country will have richer and poorer parts. To some extent the poorer parts will be a drag on the richer. But that hardly means that one automatically wants to sever them. The north of England is poorer than the south yet no one speaks of cutting Yorkshire and Northumberland loose. Even if they did, within the rump they would find that Kent is not as rich as London and so on.

    In our country no one thinks to sever Maine, Montana, or Mississippi from the country. In the case of the latter, in the 19th Century we went to some considerable trouble to prevent them from leaving our Union.

    So I don't think Ireland is germane. India however is. As I understand the history, the reasons for what we would now call the nationalisation of the East India Company were both that it was corrupt and brutal and also that it pursued policies so narrow and rapacious that they defeated Britain's national economic interests.

    Notably the stripping of Bengal of all its silver currency benefited only the officers of the Company. But it undid Bengal's ability to import British goods.

    As I understand it, the custom was for sons of gentry families, or younger sons of aristocratic ones, to pull strings to be appointed collector for Rumblejumblepoor (as an Austen maiden called such places), and come back rich in ten years.

    Free trade was indeed the policy of the Empire, but freedom of investment was not. Railroads in the British Empire somehow were never built with German, French, or American capital. Nor were plantations, nor banks, nor mines, nor any other such businesses. One needs a flag and a governor and a few troops and bureaucrats to manage that. Which is just what they had.

    It was her overseas investments which made Victorian England rich. And it was the liquidation of those investments to pay for the Great War which made her poor.