By Hector R. R. Villanueva
“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” — Winston Churchill
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has the correct and sensible attitude towards China though the unbridled romancing with the rapidly emerging world power carries long -term political and economic implications and consequences.
When it comes to international geopolitics, and dealing with superpowers, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is an amateur, naïve, and a student of geopolitics with insufficient erudition and historical background in the vagaries of international geopolitics.
To add to the aggravation, it has been cynically said that “one cannot soar like an eagle in the pursuit of national interest when one is surrounded by turkeys.”
However, the show must go on.
Thus, Cambodia is an example of an ASEAN member country that is reluctant to join an ASEAN collegial resolution on the South China Sea territorial dispute and commiserate with the Philippines, as Cambodia is deeply indebted to China for investments, long-term loans for infrastructure, grants, and technical services.
On the other hand, China, which claims the entire South China Sea as its inland waters, and Taiwan as a province, cannot annex the island as Taiwan, formerly Formosa, is not only industrialized and prosperous, but is also militarily aligned, like Japan and South Korea, with the United States.
At other end of the world in the Alps is Switzerland which has remained neutral by staying out of European wars for the last 300 years.
It is land-locked and is one of the world’s mineral-poor lands with neither iron ore nor oil nor coal to call its own.
Yet, Switzerland is among the most affluent countries in the world with per capita income comparable with the world’s richest nations and with a strong and stable currency to boast.
Somehow, over the centuries, hordes of invading armies had criss-crossed and by passed the mountainous nation.
Thus, without a credible navy and air force, and still struggling to eradicate poverty, and industrialize at the same time, there is an urgent need for the Philippines to have a paradigm shift in strategy and vision.
There is a need for radical changes in the current culture and mode of self-serving vested interests, burgeoning population growth rate and excessive politics.
Summing up, there is a need to rationalize both our foreign policy especially with China vis-à-vis the Untied States, by assembling an elite group of scholars, senior diplomats, legislators, academics, and the best and brightest experts into the government on a contractual basis instead of the haphazard way recruits are being hired today.
When all is said and done, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte needs advising and direction profoundly.
You be the judge.