Mar 082013
 

ANGELO AND FOREIGN POLICY:

A POSTMORTEM

I – FACTS

 

 

  1. Angelo dela Cruz

–        OFW, went to Iraq from Saudi Arabia

–        held hostage by Iraqi militants

–        condition: would be beheaded unless RP humanitarian contingent in Iraq withdrawn

–        was freed upon withdrawal of RP contingent

  1. RP Government

–        became a member of the Coalition of the Willing when US decided to invade Iraq – without UN consent

–        contributed a 51-member humanitarian contingent for pacification of Iraq, upon US declaration that war was over

–        confronted with demand to recall troops, RP agonized, then withdrew the troops

–        decision to withdraw criticized by some but supported by the majority of people

  1. Coalition of the Willing

–        formed by US upon denial of the UN Security Council of use of force by US against Iraq

–        among others, members are UK, Australia, Philippines, Spain and some other small states to give “international” image to US campaign

–        US protested withdrawal of RP contingent; US Ambassador to Manila particularly patronizing when he lectured Manila not to confuse friends with enemies

–        Australia verbally and virulently attacked RP decision

–        US dropped RP lately from Coalition; Status of RP as non-NATO ally hangs on balance

II – ASSESSMENT

–        military action by the Coalition led by Bush-Blair tandem was WITHOUT the consent of the UN; it was therefore an UNJUSTIFIED war

–        Coalition invaded Iraq – without provocation; there was no casus belli; it was therefore a case of naked AGGRESSION

–        even as pre-emptive strike, it was bereft of any justification

–        being an unjustified war, it violated UN Charter and present norms of international law

–        Coalition members, especially US, UK, Australia, Philippines legally liable for consequences, under international law, for this unjustified war

–        Even granting that Iraq possessed WMDs, in the absence of provocation, no attack was justified. This point has to be made for countries like Iran, Syria and DPRK, dubbed by Bush as “Axis of Evil”. (of course, Iraq, Iran and Libya, who are approached by RP every time there is oil crisis, stand resolutely against Israel). The world knows only permanent members of UN Security Council and Israel have WMDs.

–        Bush invaded Iraq obviously for oil and Israel

–        Angelo Episode is but a small incident; but is pregnant with far- reaching implications or possibilities

–        Handled correctly, GMA would not have only Angelo and the 51-man humanitarian contingent back home safe and sound; she could have also announced, upon receiving official report of Angelo’s abduction and the demand of the Iraqi militants – that she was withdrawing the troops from Iraq;   that, moreover, RP was withdrawing from the Coalition; and that, finally, having   deliberated on the US Senate Robertson Report, RP was withdrawing  from all campaigns against War on Terror; (but,  sadly,  the President did not have the needed political will and the right grasp of history).

–        Then we could say that, after Angelo, or with fundamentally changed circumstances, there was an urgent necessity to overhaul or review Philippine foreign policy, as dictated by our primary national interests.

–        US action to drop RP from Coalition, and possibly from list of non-NATO allies, blessing in disguise

III – CONCLUSION – IMPACT ON RP

  1. Domestically

–        Arroyo Government made a sane and correct decision

–        with the RP contingent out of Iraq, the magnet for hostage-taking greatly reduced, if not completely eliminated; after all, OFW goodwill sown from early 70s still respected in Iraq

–        hence, saving Angelo saves the many Angelos still going to Iraq, with or without government ban, in view of grinding poverty in the country mainly caused by population explosion

–        national interest in Iraq: employment, support for OIC and Group of 77 in UN system; oil

–        decision supported by great majority of the people; others, particularly the Filipino Right and ultra conservatives, mouthing CIA lines, reminiscent of  Gunga Dins, were still noisy even after their patrons were already silent

–        Government conducted intricate diplomacy to insure success of negotiations

–        Both Angelo and the 51-man humanitarian contingent are back home safe and sound; Government deserves congratulations for work well done

  1. Internationally

–        World at large understands RP decision

–        Some coalition members have protested, but heir action is understandable

–        US, in particular, may continue to sulk, but RP really loses NOTHING. Nothing gained before or after the Visiting Armed Forces Agreement; or MBA; or Bataan and Corrigedor. That’s the “special” aspect of RP-US relations.

–        But they left something in Clark and Subic: contaminated waste

–        US of course has refused to clean the areas; after all they contended once that US owned these bases

–        Australia is boisterous on RP withdrawal; Australia may take over RP as the Tonto to World Constable Bush

–        RP withdrawal is not without precedent; Spain, a more active member of the Coalition, withdrew ahead of RP, upon change of government, hence, of its foreign policy; no loud noises were really heard from the rest of the world; but surely, Germany, France etc applauded it

  1. RP Foreign Policy

–        RP foreign policy proceeded well; it acquits itself commendably in Angelo dela Cruz

–        Angelo episode, admittedly, is not a major event or incident

–        It does, however, provide a chance that the Arroyo Government de-couple itself from Bush in Iraq, and all his wars on terror

–        in diplomacy, the only guide – the only thing that matters is NATIOAL INTEREST; it is more or less constant; implementation, however, needs refocusing

–        Foreign policy itself needs little adjustment; it is the vision of those executing foreign policy which needs re-direction

–        In our system of Government, and under international law, only the President makes foreign policy; he alone executes it.

–        Congress consent, of course, is needed in case of war; Congress has to initiate recommendations on foreign policy and has to force debates on them

–        Incidentally, Senate does not ratify treaties; it merely concurs in the ratification thereof by the President

–        Congress, as keeper of the purse, limits or modifies implementation of foreign policy

1)    Angelo dela Cruz case

–        The Angelo incident is unlike major events around the world, like fall of the Berlin Wall, death of Mao or Deng, or even Tito (of Yugoslavia). With these events, we ask the question: What do we do after?

–        Angelo is a small incident with big or great implications, of course. Handled differently, it could have triggered a chain of events that could have toppled the nascent Arroyo Government

–        And, with serious deliberation, RP could have gotten out of Bush wings in the Coalition of the Willing, or better, in Bush’s wars of terror

–        But it needs a President with strong mind and correct vision

        2)     Arroyo Government

–        decision to join the Coalition of the Willing is a patent mistake on the part of the government; it is inconsistent with our primary interests

–        joining the Coalition, even before it was asked to do so, is an ABERRATION

–        campaign to strike Iraq is without UN sanction, and against the sentiment of the majority of peoples around the world; internationally, without legitimacy, it is an act of aggression

–        hence, RP, together with other members of the Coalition, could be held liable for this unjust war; RP should not have accommodated the US on its request from exemption from jurisdiction of the International Criminal tribunal, or from requests of other countries for extradition of erring US personnel

–        RP should have withdrawn not only from Iraq, but from Coalition itself, the moment the US Senate Robertson Report was out, disowning President Bush on Iraq; or the moment the Iraqi militants demand RP contingent pull-out

–        There was no cowardice or disgraceful act on this;  after all only national interests matter. US withdrew from  Subic and Clark upon the dictates of its own national interests; even with bended knees of RP, US would not have changed its decision

–        RP and US used to have “Special Relationship” from l946 to l972; from l972 to l986, it was “Close Cooperation” continued up to 2001 when suddenly it became “RP-US ALLIANCE”.  And RP believes that the US is seriously treating her as an “Ally”

–        The present Iraqi Government is viewed as US-installed and logically considered as a puppet regime, not unlike Diem (during Vietnam War), and Marshall Petain (Vichy) and Laurel governments during WWII; Iraqi militants seen as freedom fighters of Resistant Movements

–        Born out of an unjustified war of aggression, the present Iraqi government should not be accorded recognition immediately by RP

–        Dropping RP from Coalition and from list of nn-NATO allies, blessing in disguise; but RP forfreited chance to deliver message to US.

NELSON D. LAVINA

Ambassador (Ret.)

Tel. 6319810

nlavina@lycos.com

 

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on August 28th, 2004

 

 

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