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Our ambassador to Washington can’t be a toady to the US

Last of 2 parts

INDEED, an ambassador to the US or any country in the world is addressed as His (or Her) Excellency, the highest honorific title, to emphasize that he is the alter ego, the representative of the only official carrying that title here, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who represents a sovereign state.

Yet in deeds and in words, our ambassador to the US, Jose Romualdez, appears to be acting as if he is representing a vassal state.

As I explained in my column last Monday, his telling then-President Duterte to restore the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) so the Moderna anti-Covid vaccines, already paid for, would be released to us, is not what an ambassador would recommend. He would instead have told Duterte to complain to the world that this hegemon, the supposed champion of a rules-based international order, was violating basic commercial laws to gain a geopolitical advantage against its emerging rival, China.

Check out Romualdez’s regular columns in the Philippine Star; it has been so much a propaganda sheet extolling US virtues and demonizing China. Romualdez has spent in his column thousands of words defending United States policies and world views more than that country’s past two US ambassadors here and their information officers. Indeed, the title of his column is a slip of the tongue: “Babe’s eye view from Washington, D.C.” Did he ever think that that title could mean not just views from the Philippine Embassy but the White House, that he is relaying to us, like a good messenger, what the US positions on issues are? “

Romualdez has even sung more glowing praises to US President Biden than the White House spokesman. Take his column last Monday, titled “Biden: ‘It’s never a good bet to bet against America’.” Biden was actually referring to the last-minute deal he struck with Congress to evade a debt default that would have triggered financial collapse not just in America but in other financially linked countries.


That triumphalist idea of an always-victorious America has been a decades-old US propaganda line. In his column, Romualdez was, in fact, claiming that the US would win against China, so the Philippines should be betting on an America that always won in the challenges it had faced.

That idea has been totally debunked. The South Vietnamese bet in the 1960s and 1970s on American military strength to defeat the North, and lost, with US marines leaving from its embassy’s rooftop to flee for their lives. Iraqis — or at least its elite — bet on America to get rid of a dictator and usher in a prosperous democratic Iraq. The country is in shambles, nearly bombed as an American general boasted at the start of their invasion, back to the Stone Age. Afghans bet on the US to save it from the Taliban. The US abruptly withdrew in August 2021 with the embarrassing, horrific images of desperate Afghans trying to cling to US transport planes taking off.

Perhaps Romualdez hasn’t really eased out of the worldview he had as a PR man, although he may be confused about who is his primary client “to PR” — the Philippines or the US.

When he was first appointed by Duterte as ambassador to the US, the American-funded Rappler reported: “Known to have cultivated relationships with US officials, Romualdez is chairman of several American multinational companies such as Weber Shandwick Philippines and FCB Manila.” Weber Shandwick has been the world’s second-biggest public relations and marketing firm having Top Fortune 500 companies as its clients, with global operations. FCB is Foote, Cone & Belding, one of the largest global advertising agency networks. Duterte made Romualdez his ambassador to the US to counter his growing unpopularity there because of his anti-US statements, in short, his PR. “Some pundits labeled Duterte’s appointment of Romualdez and then former foreign affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. as master strokes because it left him free and clear to make it appear he effected a paradigm shift in his initial anti-US Philippine foreign policy while retaining the services of two of the country’s top pro-American journalist-diplomats,” said an article in the popular blog GetReal Philippines.


Romualdez was a shoo-in to the post when his cousin Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won in the presidential elections of 2022, although there were reports that he wanted the foreign affairs post to crown his career. A cousin though made this Facebook post: “Romualdez na naman. Mahiya kayo.”

Because the most profitable period of his working life was when he was an executive of global US corporations, it is no wonder that Romualdez is very pro-American. That of course is against his primary task as a Philippine ambassador, which is to implement his president’s foreign policy.

And what is Marcos’ foreign policy? Capsulized, it is “to be friends to everyone, enemy to none.” In his columns though, Romualdez echoes the US propaganda line of an aggressive China out to grab Philippine territory in the South China Sea. Contrast his open belligerence against China with the quiet, neutral stance of our ambassadors to China, who never have remarked on the US-China disputes.

Romualdez’s deep brainwashing with regard to the US-China struggle is starkly revealed in his Asian Times interview (the first part of which I published last Monday). He reduces the complex geopolitics involved in the US-China “cold war,” as some refer to it now, as a struggle between “democracy” (the US) and “authoritarianism” (China), and therefore we should align with democracies, i.e., the US.


Romualdez in that interview pontificates: “The bottom line for us is this: Which side do you want, do we want to be on as a country? What kind of system of government do we want? Freedom and democracy, which are very important for us, or the autocratic government?”

This, of course, has been the old, old US imperialist propaganda, that it is not out to control governments, especially those of developing countries, but to spread democracy. US President Biden has been using that lie as a last resort justification for why the US is attempting to stop China’s rise and role in Asia. As was reported in the online magazine War on the Rocks:

“On his recent trip to participate in Group of Seven NATO, and EU meetings, Biden put democracy front and center. He argued that ‘market democracies, not China or any other country, will write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology.’ The president has so frequently cast US foreign policy as a contest between democracies and autocracies that some are calling it the ‘Biden Doctrine’.”

That idea, of course, is total hogwash, proven so wrong even in just the past decade, when the US invaded “authoritarian” states Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria on the ground that these countries deserved democracy. Those countries instead have become living hells, although the American/US military-industrial complex having produced weapons at unimaginable profits. What country has China invaded in that same period?

If Romualdez believes that “democracy vs authoritarians” is a pillar of our foreign policy, he does not have any business being in the diplomatic service. He cannot overrule Marcos’ — and most other non-imperial nations’ — basic foreign policy, which is to respect all nations’ political systems, and treat them as equals.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dorina S. Rojas

    Babe R. needs his position to survive for himself since he desires to be like that forever, even if the Filipinos suffer or he is hated by everyone. That is pathetic because he is hurting PBBM and staining his presidency although if Babe R. died any minute he would not be missed even by the Americans because they pay him a lot.

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