Friday, May 11, 2012

View in Review 20120511

While there are other note-worthy articles I should like to include in this Review, for today, I am going to delve exclusively on the one issue that seems to loom in the horizons of my mind - Scarborough Shoal.

(I initially did not expect this incident to become so protracted...)

Scarborough Shoal is NOT a population center.

It is an economic resource.

For what else is it?

There is a difference here, a subtle but significant one.

- selah -

Sovereignty lies chiefly in the nation - in the reality of we, the people who under God and before our laws and constitutional ideals are ordered and arrayed (in time and dimensional space) as one nation.

And from the nation extends to those spheres proper to our Republic undertaking of Country.

Why is it then that in the issue of Scarborough Shoal we are becoming so willing to undertake with China (PRC) burdens proper only for the defense of a population center?

Sovereignty has degrees just as equally as defense has depths yet sovereignty in all its places must be equally well-defended.

How we undertake this defense - against War, against each other - lies chiefly in how we must succeed in its conduct.

If we do not succeed in a diplomatic course of action as history has always been so eager to point out, we shall have no other recourse but an armed confrontation - a low-intensity conflict, as it were.

In this particular outcome, if we allow it to be, we shall be in control with China (PRC) only of how much damage we shall each be willing to sustain, for in this particular outcome, all parties would have already lost even before formal hostilities will have already begun.

We can not subdue China (PRC) neither can China (PRC) subdue us.

In this particular outcome, the longer view of things both obscures itself from our vision and denies itself from our foresight.

For we certainly could pursue the Scarborough Shoal issue through to its military means but to what ends, my fellow Filipinos, to what uncertain ends?

So instead of going into that exercise in sheer futility that in this particular case is armed conflict, it is to our common benefit with China (PRC) to find a way to share the advantages as well as inherent responsibilities of maintaining a common marine area as a mutual resource meant for the peace of both our peoples.

There is a middle ground to be found here. War shall not avail us anything.

And this middle ground has got to be found, recognized and commonly agreed upon through the use of an innovative approach that seeks to let go of old and antiquated ways of thinking... for the times are truly changed.

My personal position here (in support of President Noy) is to clarify, communicate, compromise, recognize, coordinate, legislate, and conform - exhaust every means, take every opportunity to transform this unwanted incident into an achievement of good worth to our nation (with armed confrontation only as a means of last resort in the conduct of the defense) - all for the greater good of our common regions in Asia, for the good of our Asia, and from our Asia to our needful world so much in need of respite and repair.

Moreover -

Scarborough Shoal is well within our 200 nautical mile EEZ or Exclusive Economic Zone (a compensatory advantage of our Archipelagic nature) and its continuing and responsible maintenance as an integral part of our territorial seas is sanctioned by UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

Of the substance of this truth, lettered in international law, and witnessed by many of our kindred nations, we may indeed constantly rely.

It is more costly, in terms of the national wealth, for the PRC to do what our naval forces and maritime law enforcement agencies must be able and indeed are able to accomplish in these waters. This is to maintain the law of our Republic and extend forth the sovereign peace of our one nation into this maritime territory - not to make it ours - but to preserve it as a resource for the good of our nation.

The PRC's over-extension (inherent in its claim to the whole of these waters west of our Republic) is also a cause for concern among other Countries in our world whose vital interest it is to keep those international shipping lanes within and beyond our EEZ free; whose nations need assurance that these sea lanes are kept open and available as a common trust of all nations.

However, the law by itself is troublesome if we ignore the fact that that the PRC is laying a claim to Panatag or Scarborough. This is why it is important to meet the PRC in the middle and preserve not only the dignity of both our Republics but also the viability and value of the shoal for the use of our future generations.

The US commitment to our defense may only be as strong as our own commitment to our own defense.

We must be able to take this in principle: Our primary defense in the context of the common defense and in concert with the mutual defense of our allies is always our responsibility.

We must be a friend to our friends and they shall be a friend to us.

The old mold of our ASEAN, however tenuously, may still understandably prevail.

That our ASEAN of late may still feel itself a random and accidental falling together of unrelated interests within our region instead of that purposed, principled, unified, Providential gathering of kindred nations into one focused and decisive regional force for collective peace and human community within our Asia may be evident in the uncertain stance that our own region is now taking here in our own region.

Therefore, we, as a defense partner with the United States and as part of the one ASEAN Neighborhood, must take both of these vital considerations arising from this unwanted incident as an impetus to spur forward the transformation of our Republic as well as that of our region with ASEAN and recognize its potential as an integral part of our diplomatic initiative.

We must do everything in our power to amicably resolve this standoff with the PRC.

Mabuhay! God be with us all.

The Human Cost of War

my fellow Filipino compatriots,
the first ones to suffer the pains of War 
are ever the weak and the vulnerable.

- selah - 

Not our politicians,
not our able soldiery, 
not our middle classes,
not our wealthier classes, 
not even the criminally inclined, 
it is our small fisherfolk 
and their humble, hungry families 
who bear the brunt of this stand-off.

People whose minds (and stomachs) 
dwell furthest off of this brewing crisis!

We must bear in mind and heart 
that the human cost of this deadlock 
begins with them and is now counting...

   War will not cease
   until all of us
   - from least to strong -
   are made weak and vulnerable.
   For the spirit of War is a devourer of peoples!)

If we who are able
do not consider their plight 
to lend to our sense of urgency 
a deepening sense of justice
we might find ourselves taking stands 
on the wrong foundation.