sophomoric

22 February 2011

In a press briefing, Binay said China’s unprecedented decision to postpone the execution of the 3 Filipinos could be a recognition of the upcoming EDSA People Power Revolution that restored democracy in the Philippines.

heard vp binay on tv news last night saying he was so happy about the stay of execution granted without anything asked in exchange, he forgot to ask how long the stay would be in effect.   well, kung talagang walang hininging kapalit, it would be logical to assume that the executions will proceed in march?   when we’re done celebrating EDSA?

but if the stay proves to be longer than that, then expect intense negotiations behind the scenes, whether or not the aquino admin admits it, because china would definitely be wanting something in return, like senator miriam says:

“You cannot expect China will simply suspend the execution just because we said so. Hihingi yan ng kapalit sigurado.”   She said China may ask a number of things, which include an agreement on their stand on theSpratly Islands, the termination of the US-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement, or a joint program between the Chinese and the Philippine armed forces.

and like alex magno says:

By offering to postpone the executions, China very politely rejected Manila’s demand for a commutation of the sentences. Even as China did not concede anything in the last analysis, they allowed Manila to save some face. The Binay delegation was briefly received, not by the highest authorities we should point out. Not even by this political counterpart, the Vice-Premier. The Binay delegation was, very politely, downgraded.

The Aquino administration, which has so far demonstrated great shortage of diplomatic sophistication, might have not noticed the downgrade. If it did, it tried very hard to play it down. What was important was to have Binay received in Beijing and extract even the most token of concessions from the Chinese.

…This might seem trivial. But for a nation with 4,000 years of statecraft, the semblances matter immensely. Now that we have allowed ourselves to be treated like a vassal state, we would have difficulty exacting full diplomatic parity in the future.

For the privilege of treating us like a vassal state, all Beijing had to do was to postpone three executions. For that ultimately meaningless concession, we were so ready to sacrifice our place of parity among nation-states. The Chinese paid very little for us to lose so much.

Our government spokesmen were quick to put a positive spin on what happened. The postponement of executions was “unprecedented” and “unusual” we are told. The Chinese ambassador, only too happy to oblige the sophomores, reinforced the spin by so patronizingly saying this was a rare “consideration for a friend.”

That all sounds fine: until we put text in proper context.

These guys have such keen insight on how our culture works. Having been given such a rare “consideration”, we now owe our friends a debt of gratitude. Beijing will collect on that later. Trust them to do that: these guys have a 4,000-year tradition of statecraft.

The costs for President Aquino’s blundering blubber just continues to mount. Had he not linked the lives of Filipino drug mules in China to our unprincipled boycott of the Oslo ceremonies, we did not have to bend this low.

This humiliating episode is by no means over. Unless President Aquino articulates a clear and principled foreign policy, we will be dragged by the contingencies of individual events and the winds of populism every which way. There is little in what he has done so far that indicates he is capable of doing that.

Our people might help this administration behave more maturely in the global arena by not burdening the national leadership with capricious expectations — such as saving the lives of Filipinos who committed crimes abroad. Sure, narratives about the sanctity of human life and descriptions of erring Filipinos abroad as victims of poverty may be compelling ones. But we should be old enough to recognize that other countries have laws and we ought to respect them.

taiwan is a different story.   according to private emissary mar roxas, the chinese there are very angry, understandably, and unrelenting in their demand for an official apology.   maybe we should send vp binay instead?   and maybe we should apologize?   lalo na if mainland china ends up executing the drug mules anyway?

Posted in diplomacy

9 Responses to sophomoric

  1. February 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    tama si sir magno, hindi napansin ng mga dipolmats natin na tinatrato tayong cheap. Artista kasi si Pnoy, importante ang kasikatan, ang popularidad sa masa, second priority nalang kung naayon sa foreign policy natin yung pinagagawa nila. Minsan kulang ang effort lang, mas maganda kung gingabayan ito ng diplomasya.

  2. February 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    “But for a nation with 4,000 years of statecraft, ”

    Typical Magno. The People’s Republic of China is only 62 years old. Prior to the overthrow of the emperors, China’s interaction with neighbors dealt mainly with trade. As far as statecraft or better yet diplomacy is concerned, well in those days it was invade or get invaded. China is an old country but it does not follow that it has been practicing diplomacy as we know it for the last 4000 years.

    And Magno has the “exchange of favors” ass backwards. PNoy boycotted Oslo. China returned the favor by delaying the execution of the drug mules. What is it going to collect on now? Actually they still owe us one. We deported those scammers to China instead of Taiwan.

    To be honest, I dislike Magno. I don’t like worms.

  3. February 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    “Actually they still owe us one. We deported those scammers to China instead of Taiwan.”

    so you think those taiwanese scammers should have been deported to taiwan…

  4. February 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    angela,

    No. They had Chinese IDs. Besides Taiwan is not a sovereign state. However, Taiwan insists it is and any form of recognition, however small, like deporting chinese criminals to them, would be a boost for their claim.

    And of course we had the option to deport them to Taiwan. We are a sovereign state after all.

    So yes China owes us for reaffirming the one China policy.

  5. February 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    PNoy boycotted Oslo. China returned the favor by delaying the execution of the drug mules.

    Fair exchange?

    Wonder what we will do to delay the next schedule.

  6. February 24, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    “Wonder what we will do to delay the next schedule.”-ricelander

    I have a suggestion: Since there is no more conference to boycott, we can threaten China to deport to Taiwan suspected mainland Chinese criminals here.

  7. February 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Hahaha, oh bert. you’re a genius!

  8. February 25, 2011 at 11:03 am

    thanks, ricelander. not really, that’s coming from my puwit, :).

  9. February 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm
    UP nn grad

    ellen tordesillas blogsite mentions Spratlys as trade for the mules.

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