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Is he mad, and a warmonger?

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AT a security forum in Singapore on Friday, a delegate asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr: If a Chinese water cannon killed a Filipino soldier, would he consider that a red line and invoke the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty?

Marcos replied as if he were a president of a superpower: “If by a willful act a Filipino — not only serviceman but even a Filipino citizen — is killed … that is what I think is very, very close to what we define as an act of war, and therefore we will respond accordingly.”

He noted that Filipinos had been injured in recent clashes, but none had been killed yet. “Once we get to that point, we would have crossed the Rubicon. Is that a red line? Almost certainly, it’s going to be a red line. (That idiom, meaning making an irreversible decision, is derived from Roman general Julius Caesar and his army’s crossing of the Rubicon in 40 BC to rule as strongman of the Roman Republic.)

A more rational president would have replied that water cannons are not classified as fatal weapons, and the Philippine government would have to determine its appropriate response or ask Asean to intervene. Whether it was a braggadocio, whether he had not had enough sleep or had a hangover from something else, Marcos’ immediate answer was shocking: that he would go to war against China — “a Filipino killed is an act of war, and therefore we will respond accordingly.” Needless to say, China is the only country likely to have a Filipino killed in some kind of incident.

A Chinese military spokesman, in effect, responded to Marcos, “Game!” as a BBC article quoted him: “If only one personnel was accidentally killed in a conflict or accident that triggers war, then I really believe it’s a belligerent country.”

Insanity

I don’t need to rattle off the facts on the Chinese and Filipino militaries to conclude that war against a nuclear superpower is insanity. This makes me conclude that our president may be mad.

Marcos: ‘War as soon as a Filipino is killed’

Marcos reminds me of Argentinian junta leader Lt. Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, who, in order to reverse his unpopularity and distract his people from the country’s recession, insanely led his country to war in 1982 against the United Kingdom in order to wrest control of the Falkland Islands, off Argentina. Galtieri’s people concocted similar catchy slogans to raise jingoism among Argentinians, such as Marcos and Aquino III’s “What is ours is ours!”

Galtieri, like Marcos, thought that the US would support him since the Argentinian military undertook a ruthless “dirty war” against communists, encouraged and backed by the US CIA, that had 30,000 Argentinians killed. The US, of course, was loyal to its most trusted ally and its mother country, the UK. Argentinian forces were routed, resulting in 649 of their soldiers killed and their Navy practically destroyed, including their prized aircraft carrier and a submarine.

The allegation that Marcos from the very start of his administration has been merely following the US playbook in its belligerent stance against China has been bolstered by the fact that his “we-will-go-to-war-if-one-Filipino is killed” talk on Friday is the new propaganda line introduced by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on his visit here last April.

Austin

Marcos said that in his talks with the US defense secretary, the American official said: “If any serviceman, Filipino serviceman, is killed by an attack from any foreign power, then that is time to invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty.” Marcos apparently was unaware that the US defense secretary does not make foreign policy.

Marcos in revising Austin’s statement to expand “who is killed” to mean any Filipino, is obviously playing to the crowd, and appeasing his mercenary force the Atin Ito/Akbayan that has been giving fishermen groceries and diesel supply, as a bribe to pretend to swarm the Chinese-controlled Scarborough Shoal.

Marcos’ idea of going to war against China if a Filipino is killed is not just extremely foolish; it is shockingly ignorant. Countries do not wage war just in order to avenge their citizens. Wars have been waged due to geopolitical factors, among them the need for natural resources, expanding territories, and defending themselves from encirclement by an alliance of countries that eventually would want to control it, as in the case of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the US and NATO’s pawn.

In the South China Sea, there have been two major military clashes between China and Vietnam, resulting in substantial casualties:

Paracel Island

In January 1973, Republic of (South) Vietnam forces clashed with China’s People’s Liberation Navy vessels in the Paracel Islands. One Vietnamese ship was sunk, three were heavily damaged, and 100 Vietnamese sailors were killed. China’s ships were hit by Vietnamese fire but didn’t sink, resulting in 18 Chinese deaths. The US did not come to defend South Vietnamese forces, which at that time it was defending against the North Vietnamese.

In March 1988, forces of the two countries again clashed in Johnson Reef in the Spratlys, with the Chinese sinking three Vietnamese ships and killing 74 sailors. The US did not go to the aid of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with which it was in 1987 close to concluding a deal to get information on the whereabouts of Americans missing in action in Vietnam in exchange for war reparations or economic aid, which had become a burning issue for Americans during that time.

With its victory in Johnson Reef, China went on in 1988 to occupy six of the seven reefs it occupies today.

These clashes did not result in China and Vietnam declaring war against each other. The two countries, in fact, over the years have developed friendly ties that Vietnam is now the biggest recipient of Chinese investments, foreign aid and tourists.

War

Marcos wants war as soon as a single Filipino is killed. He is ignorant of the fact that the Chinese, with their advanced technology and bases in the artificial islands they built in the Spratlys in 2012 to 2013, can wipe out in a day’s time our entire Navy and Coast Guard vessels while the US Congress deliberates — as it is required to for its president to declare war against any country — whether to assist us in an area which the US has declared is disputed territory, which the mutual defense treaty categorically does not include. But you’d have to be unhinged to expect the US to go to war over the killing of one Filipino — or even thousands of Filipinos. The US can’t even go to war against Russia to defend Ukraine, whose direct and indirect casualties have totaled 500,000. All the Americans have been doing is to give Ukraine weaponry — to the delight of its defense conglomerates.

I hope going to war with China, if only in symbolic way, is not a crackbrained idea to use as a justification to declare martial law, as Marcos Jr.’s father did to justify another kind of communist threat. That kind of excuse certainly won’t wash now.

Something for Marcos and his clan to think about: Galtieri was deposed by his own generals a few months after Argentina’s defeat, and was sentenced by a military tribunal to 12 years in prison, although he was freed by then-president Carlos Menem.

While Marcos, I hope, isn’t foolish enough to undertake a war against China, the “Cold War” of sorts he has started against it will be met by that superpower with an array of economic weaponry, such as that it used during the 2012 Scarborough stand-off. It got our fruit shipments to rot in Chinese ports on the flimsy excuse that these had to be checked because of a report these had insect infestations.

When the economy goes down, and I’m sure it will if Marcos doesn’t promptly reverse course, our elite will promptly undertake his removal — as it did with his father in 1986.


Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

X: @bobitiglao

My website: www.rigobertotiglao.com

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. edwin nemeno

    By declaring war if one Filipino is killed . . it could mean bringing one convicted Chinese and drown him off on the shores of masinloc reef (savage imagination)

  2. The Asian Zelensky, Bonget Kutingsky, who has the same polvoron addiction as the Ukronazi version, really needs to be gurgur’ed ASAP before he gets the economy destroyed and citizens killed in a US-instigated containment and provocation strategy.

  3. River Dweller

    Does Lil’ Snort really hate his people that much, that he will reward the overwhelming mandate they gave him in 2022 by pushing the country into war?

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