TO DUTERTE – HOW TO DEAL WITH CHINA * Bread not bullets the key to peace * Lessons for the Underdog * eastwind journals

Bread not Bullets is the Key to Peace
Lessons for the Underdog
Recently, Mr. President, you declared you want a deal with China on joint exploration of oil-gas. This is your best move yet. The PXP-CNOOC deal (Philipppine and Chinese corportions) on joint exploration is now being negotiated. Both China and the Philippines know the PXP-CNOOC will open doors. It can be a model for future deals, hoping it is not one-sided, if we stand our ground. We have to insist. We, as ‘landowner’, deserve a just piece of the pie, and China as ‘tenant’ must consider this. Economic cooperation is the way to peace, not militarization.
Show fangs underneath our smile
Be agreeable and disagreeable all at once
In poker, it is called SIGN OF WEAKNESS. A player’s body language shows if he has bad cards, and the others can trample on him. We have shown China this ‘sign of weakness’, so in all future negotiations, they know we are under their thumb. 
Mr. President, we still have options of re-evaluating China policy to gain a better POSITION OF STRENGTH. What has happened so far? –
We did not protest when China ignored The Hague. Instead, you visited China, where they gave you a red carpet and adored you. They adored you for ignoring The Hague and offering the dove. China can now go to any disputed territory at will. They know there will be little or no protest from us. We have shown that The Hague is no longer important to us. 
We are implicitly giving up our territorial rights in return for economic favors. You came home from China, proud that you got agreements on billions of pesos in trade, their reward to you for being agreeable. China got its way on a mere promise of trade, mostly on paper and mostly unfulfilled to this day. True, trade will eventually bear fruit, but we did not have to tie it to territorial issues, which China did. They stopped millions of tons of banana exports from Mindanao when we filed the case in The Hague. They saw our weakness.
Mr. President, you told the press fighting a giant is suicide, and we have to court China – a major sign of weakness. We are not ‘fighting’ China. There is no suicide to talk about. There are no major military encounters. We don’t have to ‘fight’ China, just negotiate with some position of strength. China can smell our fear. We have to show some fangs underneath our smile. It’s a tight-rope walk. 
If China ignores our right to be ‘landowner, let’s cook up some belligerence, like what Vietnam did. When China put up an oil rig 200 nautical miles from the Vietnamese shore, Vietnam sent patrol boats. They had daily fire hose skirmishes. Then Vietnam launched an effective nationwide boycott of Chinese goods. China backed down. The oil rig was withdrawn eventually – too much risk for China to spend millions on an oil rig that Vietnam had the balls to shoot down. All this happened without US intervention. There is value in such David-Goliath kind of independent belligerence avoiding the help of giants.
Mr. President, it is not too late. THERE MUST BE A BALANCE BETWEEN ACQUISCENCE AND BELLIGERENCE IN OUR FOREIGN POLICY. It’s a tight-rope walk negotiating with a giant. So far, we have exhibited very little balls, and China knows it. That makes a lot of difference. China boycotted our bananas, whereas Vietnam boycotted Chinese goods. China can still push us around agriculturally, but not as much if we show some belligerence. Let us learn from Vietnam which had been at war with China for a thousand years. But we have to be careful. There are risks. We have study it well and be ready. It is a complex chess game for an underdog. It’s not a simple sling shot affair. 
by Bernie V. Lopez,
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