Sunday, December 3, 2023

Philippine democracy is in danger

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Several analysts think that Philippine democracy is in danger. Why? Because many Filipino politicians swear allegiance to our neighboring superpower, China. 

Don’t get me wrong–there is simply nothing wrong with China, especially the Chinese people. We Filipinos have maintained strong relations with them even before Spanish colonization.

I, myself, am an admirer of the Chinese revolution. In my studies, China’s development model under Socialist thought is a model for underdeveloped economies such as ours. It is best to follow.

What I do not like about China right now is its propensity to project itself as a superpower. No, China does not need to prove itself equal to the United States of America.

The world is becoming multipolar, with neither China nor the United States being the global hegemon. Many countries are emerging from their economic rut, like Brazil.

China should project itself as a Pacifist power with the sole intention of modernizing humanity. It vows to pursue Socialism and, therefore, must not lose track of its mission.

Mao Tse Tung warned his people never to become an imperialist power. Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor, also warned young Chinese Communists not to brag about their superiority over others.

Under a globalist economy, China does not need to project military superiority to other smaller states to maintain its economic dominance. China must continue improving itself, especially its products and services, and the world will surely recognize its contribution towards humanity’s advancement.

China is taking the wrong path insofar as its ongoing discursive struggle with the Philippines. The West Philippine Sea (WPS) is an issue that China needs to deal with properly. Otherwise, China risks opening itself up to Western intervention, similar to the one that led to the Opium War against Great Britain.

A reprise of the Opium War is impossible since, militarily, China is at par with the United States. China may be at military parity with the United States regarding armanents, etc. China may have more planes, more sophisticated war equipment, and even have their nuclear weapons, like the US.

In the next war, however, countries will still use conventional weapons. What will matter most is different from how sophisticated your weapons are–a state’s more tremendous advantage would surely be its exercise of moral authority or soft power.

China may eclipse the United States economically and in other areas. China’s leaders may well decide among themselves what is most important– economic stability through continuous international support. Or become a pariah, which is the end goal of its enemies.

A highly critical international community also affects China’s economy. Being dependent on globalization, China’s leaders know that a war or conflict with a neighboring smaller state such as the Philippines poses more unknown risks than manageable ones. First, a fight in the West Philippine Sea will disrupt global trade, punishing China more than the West since most of its products pass through this watery channel.

Second, a war with the Philippines would surely damage the international reputation of China. Whichever way China sees this, and even if its legitimacy claims are valid, the world will still look at China as an imperialist bully, possibly increasing Sinophobia across the globe. Who would now do business with it? The West can survive on its own. Several Southeast Asian countries are also–since their economies are far smaller than China’s. How would China’s leaders manage the horrible international anger of an armed confrontation with the Philippines?

The best solution to the WPS issue is for all involved states to declare the entire area as a common resource area. Create then a regional security community so that every coastal state would benefit. China may well consider this option instead of saber-rattling before a small country such as the Philippines.


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