A New Doctrine of war.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, July 31, 2002 | Go to article overview
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A New Doctrine of war.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Byline: Hector R. R. Villanueva

"The essence of war is violence, and moderation in war is imbecility."


JUST as President George Bush Sr., with great flourish, heralded the ushering in of a "new" world economic order after the Desert Storm victory against Iraq in 1990-1991, when General Colin Powell was the then Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff, now comes President George W. Bush, son and former Governor of Texas, introducing, with Secretary of State Colin Powell, a "new" doctrine of war which the catastrophic bombing of the World Trade Center building in New York and one wing of the Pentagon on that Sept. 11 Day of Infamy had precipitated.

In his speech at West Point, President George W. Bush launched his "doctrine of preemptive action."

Thus, issues regarding the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and criminal jurisdiction over erring military personnel while on peacekeeping duties must be viewed in the wider perspective of the new doctrine of war against international terrorism, or any imminent risk that Americans perceive may endanger US mainland security and the American way of life.

The bottom line as far as the Americans are concerned is, "take it or leave it," but the Americans prefer if we take it, i.e. accept their intentions and anti-terrorist policies, if we know what's good for us - isolation and the ire of the American hawks.

Hence, in the context of global priorities, the MLSA, Spratleys and VFA, etc, the Philippines is insignificant but Filipinos can make themselves a world stage player if only we knew how, and in fact we do, but we are not trying very hard because we are too engulfed in and preoccupied with domestic politics and parochial thinking. That is the tragedy.

In the meantime, while it is true that the Americans are groping in the dark fleshing out their new doctrine; their solitary role as the world's policeman; anti-terrorism czar; and the world's most powerful economy, the Americans, nevertheless, are not in the mood to tolerate non-cooperation and grandstanding on issues involving military security and global terrorism.

That is the clear message that the US is sending to countries all over the world, including the Philippines.

That is, the US will come in with the full force of its military might, with or without formal invitation, in hot pursuit of international terrorists.

In short, the VFA, the MLSA and other agreements are mere formalities and conveniences to avoid future misunderstanding and hurt over sovereignty sensibilities but which the US can do without, if necessary.

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