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Obama's "strategic interests" call to SE Asia's notoriously corrupt leader

Obama's "strategic interests" call to SE Asia's notoriously corrupt leader

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Published by jesusa
A discussion of the impact of the call made by United States President Barack Obama to his Philippine counterpart, the notoriously corrupt Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries. The call, made last March 14, 2009, is linked to the recantation of "Nicole," the Filipina who proved in court that she was raped by US Marine Daniel Smith. The discussion is contextualized within the imperialist relationship the US has continued to wield on the Philippines since President McKinley ordered the colonization of the Southeast Asian archipelago at the turn of the 20th century.
A discussion of the impact of the call made by United States President Barack Obama to his Philippine counterpart, the notoriously corrupt Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, on the Visiting Forces Agreement between the two countries. The call, made last March 14, 2009, is linked to the recantation of "Nicole," the Filipina who proved in court that she was raped by US Marine Daniel Smith. The discussion is contextualized within the imperialist relationship the US has continued to wield on the Philippines since President McKinley ordered the colonization of the Southeast Asian archipelago at the turn of the 20th century.

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Published by: jesusa on Mar 29, 2009
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05/10/2014

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by 
Jesusa Bernardo
First published at Newsvine, Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:37 PM EDT 
It's all over the news. Proudly propagated by the PR, nay, propaganda, machinery of Philippine President Gloria MacapagalArroyo. United States President Barack H.Obama called Arroyo last March 14, 2009to discuss the critical importance of thetwo countries' "bilateral relationship and...strategic interests," specifically theVisiting Forces Agreement that spells amutual defense understanding. The callhas long been sought after byMalacanang. Finally, after dodging her huge efforts to speak or meet with and usehim for political photo-op her not once,not twice, but thrice, Obama decided to end the hide-and-seek game he played with Arroyo, theleader perceived to be the "Most Corrupt Philippine President" in history.Obama is the 44th US President who campaigned on a mantra of "Hope, Change." He hadsuccessfully bested Hillary Clinton, the first viable female president in American history for theDemocratic presidential nomination. He then went on to soundly defeat his Republican opponentfor the presidency, John McCain, in the November 2008 polls.In his inauguration speech, Obama indicateda foreign policy seemingly inimical to thoseleaders "who cling to power throughcorruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent ...on the wrong side of history." Hiscounterpart, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, wassworn in as the 14th Philippine President atabout the same time as his predecessor George W. Bush. Arroyo took officefollowing the paraconstitutional change of  power afforded by the EDSA II "PeoplePower" of 2001, which was described byinternational media and analysts as the"opportunist coalition of church, businesselite and left,"' and as "mob rule or mob rule as a cover for a well-planned coup."
 
From practically Day 1 of Arroyo's administration, she has been besieged by an almostendless litany of illegitimacy andcorruption issues. Scandals after scandals have hounded her. Toname just some: the IMPSA power plant deal; "Hello Garci?"wiretapping expose of cheating inthe 2004 presidential polls; bribery of congressmen andgovernors at Malacanang; theBolante fertilizer scam; the kangaroo court "guilty" verdict on the Estrada plunder case; and theabrogated NBN-ZTE deal. The latest, divulged only in January this year, is the collusion betweenroads project contractor and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, alleged in a report made by no lessthan the World Bank. No wonder that in October 2007, surveyed Filipinos expressed their perception that Arroyo is the"Most Corrupt President in Philippine History." Malacanang's current occupant has faced anumber of unsuccessful challenges, including four successive impeachment complaints, two or three military mutinies, and a rectifying "People Power" exercise, EDSA 3, which sought torestore the presidency of the deposed but democratically elected Joseph Estrada early on in her term. Only in February, 2009, ten military groups of retired and active servicemen paid anadvertisement declaring their support behind a brigadier general on court martial trial for theFebruary 2006 uprising.
Jetset Stalking of Obama
Arroyo had gone on an aggressive seeking of theopportunity to meet up and try forging close relationswith (translation 2: stalking) Obama as early as June2008 when he was yet the presumed Democratic presidential nominee--apparently to ensure the politicalsupport of Bush's successor to her precarious presidency.Her first attempt came via an expensive, 10-day, non-state visit to the US in the midst of the American presidential electoral process, but which failed to obtaineven a glimpse of his charismatic presence. The nextstalking came in November when she went again to theUS on the pretext of attending a UN-sponsored"interfaith dialogue," even as she futilely chased Obamaall the way to his Chicago hometown. The third time, inJanuary this year, she suddenly diverted to Washington,DC, instead of flying home after attending the Davos
 
World Economic Forum, just to be in the National Prayer Breakfast graced by Obama. Despitespending millions of the Filipinos' money, despite literally going out of her way, and despite breaking basic rules of protocol and even self-respect, Arroyo was humiliated the third time bigtime, as she failed to get any face time with Obama. Not even a word acknowledging her  presence before the forum crowd of some 4,000 guests.The costs of Arroyo's desperation-level jetsetting to stalk Obama have been very high for the Philippines. The June2008 junket, the largest in the country's history, wasenjoyed by no less than 60 solons and 10 cabinetofficials. It went on despite the battering that TyphoonFengshen inflicted on a considerable part of thePhilippines. The third time proved too much, as not a fewtook notice and assailed her for 'wasting public fundschasing Obama.'
US interests in the South China Sea
This author has been pleasantly amused by Obama's initial refusal to be used by Arroyo or be associated with her corrupt governmentearly on, but is history smart enough to know that that it was only amatter of time before he starts dealing with her. For some threemonths, he managed to keepthe controversial PhilippinePresident at bay, and project aclean-as-promised image tothe world. Less anyoneforget, however, Obama isduty bound to uphold "US interests" first and foremost.After all, in a period following the expulsion of the US bases by the Philippine Senate in 1991, America hasneeded to exert greater efforts to steer Manila's policies inline with Washington's strategic and economic interests inits former colony. From the time America colonized thePhilippines at the turn of the 20th century until about thetime of Ferdinand Marcos, Manila was a virtual pawn of superpower Washington.
"Special" Fil-Am Friendship, Sealed by the CIA
The US and the Philippines have historically enjoyed a longstanding "special friendship." Itsupposedly began on a spiritual plane, on the night of October 24, 1898 when US PresidentWilliam McKinley arrived at the decision to colonize the Philippine Islands after the "voice of God" told him "to take them all, to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and Christianize them."

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