Passing thoughts on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the May 7th, 2014

“As with any agreement, neither gets 100 percent of what it wants. Basically the US wanted the rudiments of forward basing, prepositioned military equipment etc. Forward basing and prepositioning is US strategy in line with a defense assessment made over a decade ago, an acceptance of the fact that it does not have the wherewithal nor the domestic and foreign political support to maintain huge permanent foreign bases anymore. The Philippine government for its part stated what it expects/wants from the set-up. Over the next ten years we will see whether both parties want to continue with the arrangement.

The argument of the antis against the EDCA is this: The US got what it wants, the Philippines got promises.

It’s not as simple as that.

EDCA is an agreement between two unequal states. Practically any agreement we have and will enter into with many countries will be between unequals, more often than not with a more powerful state. In the game that nations play, we will always end up holding the short end of the stick. That’s a fact we have to live with until we become big enough to get the longer end.

We play with what we’ve got, we do our best to get the most out of what the more powerful is willing to give ika nga ni Thucydides more than a thousand years ago.

So I would appreciate an assessment of the agreement based on reality, not on a fantasy that we entered into an agreement between two equal powers and that anything that reminds us that we are the weaker party must be obliterated from the agreement.

Absolutely wala bang pakinabang ang agreement? Absolutely wala bang mapapala with an alliance with the US? Do we have other options within the next ten years?

I read the antis and wala akong makitang binigay nilang alternative to the agreement that was signed. Magbigay sana sila ng mas magandang paraan.

I’m not fully satisfied with the agreement either kasi siempre mas maganda kung kaya natin tumayo ng mag isa, kung hindi natin kailangan manghingi ng tulong, kung hindi tayo kailangan umasa sa bulok ng gamit.

Sana, sana, sana. Pero, pero, pero.

Kung sana walang “pero”, “but” at “however” pag tayo ay nagpaplano at naghahanda para sa atin national defense, diba?

So anong alternative to alliance with the US and its friends, habang wala pa tayong armas?

Di naman pwedeng neutrality, nakita na natin ang nangyari sa Melians. Ala neutrality ng Switzerland sana, pero hindi na unique ang Switzerland, wala ng cartel na humahawak ng lahat ng kayamanan ng mundo, ang dami nang ibang depository ng wealth, ang dami ng mayaman sa maraming lugar at ang pera nila ay nagkalat na sa balat ng lupa.

Neutrality is not an option for us, not when another country is threatening our territory. Because neutrality is not a one sided option, it requires consent by others.

Kailangan lumagay tayo. Saan tayo lalagay?”

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