Tuesday, 14 February 2012 10:19
Americans are our friends. But, let us all be wary every time Uncle Sam’s top officials and representatives visit the country. . .
In May of last year, I wrote about the “visit” of US Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and William Thad Cochran (R- Mississippi) to the country for a “possible return of the US naval base in Subic.” Of course, the US embassy here denied this and that the visit was “to see the economic progress in the Subic Freeport area that has been made over the years and to ask how the US can collaborate.”
And, could it be that the said visit of the two elder senators from the US Senate Appropriations committee was to test the water, so to speak of what could be the reaction of the populace?
It has been ten months since that visit (translation – ocular inspection) and there seems to be a follow-up on the matter now that the Pentagon is seeking to cut about $490 billion from projected defense spending over a decade.
“The Obama administration now intends to send about 4,500 US Marines stationed in Japan to Guam and to rotate an additional 4,000 through Australia, Subic Bay and perhaps a smaller base in the Philippines and Hawaii.”, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan hasn’t been announced. (Source: Manila Standard Today 2/4/2012)
Now that the cat is out of the bag, for some, this could be a new development but for us who is keenly observing the confluence of events, this is not new.
As I have said in my last guesting (last Friday night) over at Global News Network of Destiny Cable at the show of Mentong Laurel, US troops never left and they are using our military camps as portable bases via the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). In this way, they are actually saving a lot of dollars because in reality the annual joint military exercises has benefitted them a lot more than our Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Actually that “smaller base” in the south has been there as the aftermath of Bush’s synthetic war on terror. And now, according to reports, Uncle Sam will send its marines and navy men in Subic Bay on rotation with its other allies.
Speaking of portable base, Washington has plans of deploying of what they call “floating base”, first in the Middle East this summer. According to news release from the New York Times online dated 1/27/2012 – The conversion of the Ponce, which had been scheduled for retirement, would be an interim step to providing the military with its first afloat staging base.
The Pentagon’s new budget proposals, unveiled Thursday, included money to turn a freighter hull into a full-time floating base that could be moved around the world for military operations or humanitarian missions.
Seriously? That familiar line again – for humanitarian missions?
*Is there anything new?
Methinks that this upcoming floating base will visit our ports in no time at all once it sails and could possibly bring more headaches in this side of the Pacific than for humanitarian reasons.
This writer has been consistently warning this administration to be cautious in dealing with foreign friends and/or allies because historically we have been shortchanged by leaders who thinks more for what’s in it for them than for what the country will gain for such agreements. I hope, if not the President himself, maybe the people in his loop will guide his decisions when it comes to national security.
Let us not forget the warning of Sen. Miriam Santiago that we might be the “lightning rod” in the region if we will not be careful enough to realize that we are actually attracting more enemies of Uncle Sam in the process.
Let’s get our acts together!
By Erick San Juan
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