The USA has been crooning the 70 years of dominating the Philippines as a smaller member of the military alliance as ‘rich people to people ties, including a vibrant Filipino American diaspora, and a long list of shared security interests.’ They did not want to remind the Pinoys that the relations went back even further, to 1898 when they invaded and colonized the Philippines and the massacres of the Pinoys by the Americans. …We also remain one of the Philippines’ strongest economic partners, the current stock of US foreign direct investment stands above US$4.7b’.
The 4 day visit by Duterte to Beijing has led to US$13.5b of agreement signed between the two countries with more to come. And it revives the centuries old relationship between the two countries and the people to people ties built over the past with more than 2m Pinoys with Chinese ancestry and many millions more with Chinese blood in them.
After all these years of manipulation, coercion and behind the door arm twisting, all the American effort and scheming came to nought on 20 Oct 16. The US$30m spent on the farcical kangaroo court proceedings and rulings went up in smoke. Would the Americans now send the bills to the Pinoys? All the cloak and dagger hustling behind closed doors in Asean minister meetings to fix China with the Pinoys as the point man now looked so ludicrous. It fell flat.
As they said, man proposed God disposed. Someone up there just said enough is enough and the chapter of American conspiracy to divide the Asean states against China must come to an end. The most crucial piece of pawn in the American game plan, the Philippines, called out. And Duterte even suggested an alliance with Russia and China, and to tell Putin ‘that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.’
The changing dynamics of the Asia Pacific balance of power would look very different going forward. What would the Americans be thinking of doing? Brewing a military coup against Duterte or an assassination bullet? Would there be more punitive measures against the Philippines or more carrots, like throwing a few antique museum pieces as gifts to the poor brown brothers’ navy for Christmas?
The whole initiative to the new development came out of the blue, in one man, in Rodrigo Duterte. He wrote the script and played the key role to change the course of history of the Asia Pacific region. Now this is powerful.
The American camp is in total disarray, not knowing what happened or what hit them. Obama, you still there? Abe, where are you? More joint naval patrols, freedom of navigation in the South China Sea without the approval of China and the Philippines?
To quote Foreign Secretary Yasay, ‘The US Philippines alliance is the most profound and problematic institutional manifestation of this colonial legacy of arrested development…The US held on to invisible chains that reined us in towards dependency and submission as little brown brothers not capable of true independence and freedom.’