By Dr. Giovanni Tapang
National Chairperson, AGHAM
It is a clear example of opportunism and intimidation by the US to send in the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, and its warships to Philippine waters. Fearing the effects of typhoon Frank/Fangsheng in its dock in Hong Kong, the US has used the pretexts of helping typhoon-affected areas and relief efforts ongoing in the Western Visayas region to enter Philippine territorial waters.
Not only is an aircraft carrier group in our territory an overkill, it is also a mockery of the anti-nuclear weapons provisions of the Constitution, the presence of which the US neither confirms nor denies in its war ship. Furthermore, it is a subtle form of intimidation to President Arroyo while she visits the US: not to ask too much and continue to tow the Bush administration’s line or else face the reality that an aircraft carrier group’s main purpose is to wage war and not effect humanitarian aid.
An aircraft carrier group is a mobile military base that can project military might over a big area in the ocean. Its presence in our country reflect the need for the US to project visible and psychological presence and underline their “commitment” to a country or region. Military presence is a reminder that one does not need formal political control over its territorial sovereignty to exercise political and economic control over a country.
It can be likened to a loaded gun pointed at the government and to us as a people. Its message: take our “aid” whether you want it or need it. Their mere presence intimidates and gives coercive power for the US to gain concessions from the host country and allows it to interfere, in most cases with impunity, in internal affairs
That the US calls the Philippines its “second front in the war against terror” and that it has periodic and overlapping joint exercises with it is not an accident, it does this to strengthen its position in this country for the purpose of being in the position to grab and control the resources of Southeast Asia.
We do need international aid at this time but we do not need the opportunistic military projection by the forces of the US. If the US government and other countries are indeed serious in helping out, they could help our civilian disaster efforts by providing material and technical assistance.
We close our doors on a gun-toting thug who wants to enter our homes, even if he is saying that he wants to help you. In this case, it is in these times of national tragedy that we should exercise national sovereignty in asking for international help. We should not allow the emergency to be used as a pretext for other countries to push their own agenda. #