The Spratly Dispute
Our one Filipino nation has intimate cultural ties with the one Chinese nation. These historical ties are built upon the strength of common blood ties as well as by the pull of national necessities that flow naturally from the geography of our growing region.
Because of this, it is very difficult (but not impossible) for me to visualize our one Republic in open armed conflict with the People's Republic of China (PRC). And I am reasonably sure that the PRC feels the same way.
Armed conflict between any nation is truly an option of last resort and one not to be entered into lightly.
Therefore, what we must guard against is the unnecessary escalation of tension.
It is vital that reporting (from all sources) on the Spratly dispute respects and represents this fact of our national life - peace is our prerogative. No one in his or her right mind would want our whole region to descend into open war.
This is our first and foremost consideration - War serves no nation.
We are duty-bound both by honor and charity, to repel all threats that impugn the sovereignty of our one Republic however - and this consideration above all is what must drive our will to see to it that this issue is resolved - properly and using all available means.
Indeed, every citizen of every nation is bound to the common defense of their Country from every and all elements that threaten their peace and good will both internal as well as external.
Defense is a reaction. So what are we reacting to in the case of the Spratly issue?
There really is only one worthwhile cause for a shooting war - a clear, imminent and direct threat to the life of our nation i.e. our population and its posterity. This cause above all other causes absolutely compel the conduct of the defense. For it is the very cause of our existence as a nation.
Everything else must lie squarely within the realm of statecraft and diplomacy - until it fails and we have to go to war. God-forbid this should happen but it has happened before in the history of our nations - and many, many times.
Personally speaking, I am not convinced that we are presently reacting to a clear, imminent and direct threat to the life of our nation.
But if we remain confused or undecided about how we might as a Republic react to this threat, it might come to pass that we shall find ourselves treading a path we did not set out to take. Fear is only good if it keeps us alert to the truth.
What is in our hearts, my honorable compatriots, matter. We can not react passionately about this issue. Nor can we allow vague sentimentalism to rule our love of Country.
The Republic we serve is real, the people it shelters is all too real. As regards to the Spratly issue, there exists also a real threat - but the conclusion most favorable to our nation (and therefore, to all nations in the long-term) depends on how well we are able to penetrate today the confusion that must surround it.
Defense is a reaction. How well we handle ourselves matter above all because how well we handle ourselves (especially in the midst of adversity) is a reflection of how well we know ourselves both as a nation and as a Republic whole. And according to how much we know ourselves, we are able to glimpse also into the humanity of other nations as well.
Here is my analysis on the matter:
There are in reality two States that serve the one Chinese nation. For our intents and purposes, we shall refer to them as the elder and the younger States i.e. the mainland and the island ones.
The elder State is authoritarian in form. Her language therefore, will reflect this form. She is a Republic and therefore, very protective of her own. But so are we.
Though she does not always represent the actual desire of her nation - fact is, the elder State is still representative of the authority to represent that desire. If we know ourselves, we know to understand what this desire is.
But since we are a fully functional emerging democracy - the way by which we intend to achieve the end for which this desire exists in our people is very distinct though not different from her.
Where this desire intersects is where the common ground for the Spratly dispute may be found not in its distinctions.
Since this is a dispute, we can not meet her at her language. We have to stay with our own. We must reiterate the facts without inflaming the passions that underlie the tension. We must agree to use a common terminology that is neutral.
We have to consolidate our own collective will to preserve our peace and use this opportunity to press forward with our own internal national reconciliation processes strategically synchronizing these with our national development agendas (their tactical requirements as it were, including the modernization of our AFP, PNP, BFP, BJMP, etc.) without which our Republic can not obtain to its fullest potential.
ASEAN has a large part to play in this, of course. I am mystified as to why the knee-jerk reaction is to fly to the US and not to our partners in the region first. Our region is important enough to consider and one that is collectively possessed of interests of its own - more importantly, these interests are shared interests and they must be represented by our ASEAN.
The US is an ally (and a valuable one too) but she is not the only one. We have to learn to place a real value on our friendships with other nations as a matter of completing our remembrances.
The US is in principle an ally of the defense - and so are all the other nations (each to its own degree) of our one family of nations in the United Nations, China included. Our own worst enemy here at the moment is the perceptions we create in ourselves and therefore in other nations.
We must be clear and we must be resolute, above all we must base our thinking about the matter on relevant facts and our understanding of its favorable resolution on the force of law.
We must take to the side of the defense and undertake to properly understand it and the peace that it serves.
War serves no nation. I am not saying that fighting for the defense of our nation is not good, I am meaning precisely that. Fighting for the defense is good and when it is, it ultimately leads its nation to victory.
What we presently need here is an order of business not an order of battle.
The contested areas are not viable population centers in the near to mid-term therefore, the core of the dispute is really and specifically economic in nature.
There is a great possibility that the area is rich in petrochemical resources. I am of the conviction that diplomatic tact and business acumen not military force will best serve the national interests of all parties concerned as well as preserve the stability of the greater region.
We must specifically and strictly confine the Spratley dispute into the realm of strategic, regional economics. We may ask ourselves, "what regional economic goals may it serve?"
And this strategy must be geared towards the eventual de-militarization of the region.
Owing to the times, the actual causus belli of the Spratly issue - i.e. the resources - is limited by time itself so that the further we remain indecisive on the matter, the less and less probable that any nation will succeed in harnessing and therefore, profiting from the true potential of the area.
Research is parallel to available information and in the age of information, sans the paradigm of War, research will only go exponentially fast. And all research is driven by necessity.
My thinking here is that if we sit on this issue long enough without actually going to war, it will probably go away (at least in terms of significance).
And it is most likely that this is the outcome, disadvantageous though it may be (in terms of economic gain for the entire region), that is most advantageous to all parties concerned, if the region remains indecisive.
If we remain divided on the issue - the best outcome is to prevent an open, armed conflict. If we are to find some common ground on the issue - the best outcome is an economic one. Therefore, the less politics involved the better it shall be.
The Culture of Death
A famous saying goes, "home is where the heart is." This is true because a house is not always a home.
Now, the culture of death is like a house built on four foundations.
- Heretical Materialism - the social doctrine that both the goal and the substance of life is purely material because the physical universe is really all there is.
- Atheistic Secularism - the religion that imposes the belief that there is no God because Man is independent and self-sufficient by himself alone.
- Moral Relativism - the lie that believes that justice is arbitrary because there are no moral absolutes as both good and evil come in convenient shades of gray.
- Social Darwinism - the lie that believes that brute force is the singular social requirement, in the absence of virtue and truth, that measure the excellence of nations or individuals.
A culture of death is a culture of contempt for Sacred Life. This is the house that breeds the darkness that sustains the Beast of War.
It is a house that must rely on division being held up purely by its opposition to the truth. It is therefore, a house built invariably on persecution of whatever form and spirit.
It harbors a great disregard for our common humanity.
It must necessarily hold the universal spirit of Mankind in utter contempt, disrespecting the virtues embodied in its heroes - all our patriarchs, prophets, judges, kings, queens, apostles, bishops, martyrs, virgins, doctors, saints, holy personages, leaders and teachers - from all times and from all peoples, known and known to God alone, all those who are particularly beloved of every honorable religion, and therefore, to one Creator of all Sacred Life in all His revealed mystery.
It abhors wisdom in all its forms and seeks to scandalize the common people and undo the peace of the nations.
This is not our house.
Another thing about the culture of death, this house is parasitic. We only have to return to our original foundations and work to reverse its lies in ourselves to find our home (away from Home) once again.
The difference between a monarch and a president is one of election. The similarity is that both of them still have to make the surrender of kings - an acceptance of a life of service to the nation as a rule above all rules.
Now, the peace of the Responsible State are like sheltering wings - everybody is engaged from the center in a lateral hierarchy that embraces the nation.
This is a liberating embrace - one that both preserves the dignity of the individual citizen as well as unleashes their promise in the service of the national good - everybody ascends with but one ascending to the vision of Country being in itself true to the first principles of nationhood.
The opposite is the grip of a tyrant. And we all know this from common experience.
This is the shelter we are presently trying to obtain for our nation - not for winter's sake but for the spring. This is the cause of our allied generations begun in 2009 (prior to 2009 there was no choice and after 2012, this choice will be no more).
(Completing our EDSA)
To all our national communities, Peace -
A significant part of the peace of the times, my people,
as it concerns our nation, the Philippines,
involves bridging the gap between generations
and between administrations.
There are specific moments in our history
that we need to re-examine in light of these times.
And we shall do this not to scatter
either our belongings to each other
or our remembrances together
but to more fully gather them together
in and amidst ourselves.
For if we know ourselves as ourselves,
we can no longer be a nation
swayed hither tither by a dark night.
If we find confusion in our hearts about the past -
especially from 1986,
now is the time to re-examine these pivotal events.
And we shall do this with a view to establish the facts
upon more familiar grounds of fundamental truths
we have now re-discovered about ourselves as a nation
as well as about our nation in the context of its God-given right
to prosper and advance
under the peace of a Republic undertaking of Country.
Look upon these present times yourselves, my honorable compatriots,
and see the coincidences for what they are - signal graces.
My intention here is to guide you -
but you have to let yourself be led.
And not by me.
- selah -
All our Presidents have had something to give to our Country.
It is up to us to discern what good there is
that we have inherited from past Presidencies.
For if we remember only the problems,
we shall fail to build on the strength
of previous administrations.
It is only natural for every generation
to inherit a degree of evil
(to test their strength and commitment to the truth)
but sufficient for this evil - always -
is the good of the prevailing day.
We have come to remember
the faults of our Presidents
and may God allow it to serve our vigilance well.
But to the point that we tend to almost always forget their virtues,
we are consigning ourselves to a labor of unending beginnings.
For it is these virtues that connect our lineages together
and it is by the strength of these connections that we prosper.
If we are wise, my people,
and if the LORD, our God, blesses us,
even what darkness there is may lead us to the light.
Only those who are without remembrance remain in the dark.
Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! God bless us all.
The Circular Relationship of the Four Causes