The 'China candidate' and US electoral interventions

The 'China candidate' and US electoral interventions Featured

BETWEEN Marcos and the Chinese candidate, whom do you choose? This query was a private message sent by a reader of my column. Obviously a Bongbong Marcos fan or a longtime Marcos loyalist, he tried to make a case for BBM's presidency. But what is intriguing is his perception of Sen. Bong Go as being China's presidential bet — if indeed there is one. This column will follow this line of reasoning and speculate on the possibilities of foreign governments pushing for candidates in this current 2022 election campaign.

In international relations, the government of the day's very existence sometimes rests on the choices of its current administration or set of its political leadership and its associated bureaucracies. This is based on the perceived interest of that government ultimately representing the aspirations of its people as interpreted by its leaders and politicians. This is a legitimate action by governments and regimes assuring their survival. World history is replete with such paradigms; sometimes leading to open conflicts or war if the interest of one country or its alliance clashes with those of others. After the Second World War and during the Cold War, disputes between partisan countries surfaced from time to time, leading to local wars or initiations of low intensity conflicts or the perpetuation of violent and destructive engagements using surrogate countries or groups within those countries engaging in guerrilla warfare, resulting in the destabilization of states perforce advancing the interest of the perpetrators. We see these intermittent "bush fires" in Africa, South America and the Middle East

US interventions as templates

Among the notorious ones is America, the hegemon that emerged after WW 2. In a study published by the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, academic Doy Levin wrote that there were 117 "partisan electoral interventions" between 1946 and 2000 and 70 percent of these were cases of US interference. "Sixty different independent countries have been the targets of such interventions...the targets came from a large variety of sizes and populations, ranging from small states such as Iceland and Grenada to major powers such as West Germany, India and Brazil." Most were done in secret with voters oblivious of foreign powers actively trying to influence results.

In the Philippines "the Central Intelligence Agency had a strong influence on the 1953 elections, and candidates in the election fiercely competed with each other for US support. CIA agent Edward Lansdale purportedly ran the successful 1953 presidential campaign of

Interventionist policies were done during the Ferdinand Marcos regime, perhaps even tolerated. Vice President George W. Bush when he visited Manila in 1981 addressed Marcos: "We love your adherence to democratic principles and democratic processes." And this was at the height of the repressive martial law that later led to the despot's downfall. The US later reversed course when Reagan's Secretary of State George Schultz advised "President Reagan to threaten to cut off military aid to Marcos if he continued to refuse to accept the popular verdict (Cory's snap election victory) and step down." (American Foreign Policy: Studies in Intellectual History. Edited by Jean-Francois Drolet, James Dunkerley, Manchester University Press, 2017.)

Currently we still have to discover who the US candidate is.

A case for China

In the same Carnegie study, former Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, alleged that Chinese officials in February 2019 had bragged about having influenced the 2016 presidential elections to favor President Rodrigo Duterte.

The case for China being in Bong Go's corner is peripheral and circumstantial at best but anchored on the oft-repeated position of the DDS/Fist Bumpers that Bong Go is meant to perpetuate Duterte's legacy and the instrument for the Deegong's extension of his relevance to the body politic. In the wake of the Marcos pre-emption of Sara, reducing the once formidable heir-apparent to a spare tire, Bong Go's importance to Duterte became critical, thus PRRD's advice to give up his PDP Laban-goaded VP candidacy for the presidency itself. Even Senator Bong was conflicted with his imposed status, "Nabigla ako. hindi pa pumapasok sa isipan ko kung bakit ako nandito as a candidate po ng pagiging president...iniisip ko pa nang mabuti, nag-aantay po ako ng sign sa Panginoon (I was surprised. It has not sunk in as to why I am a candidate for president...I am still thinking about it and waiting for a sign from God)." (The Manila Times, by Al Jacinto, Nov. 25, 2021.) This is as close an admission as any that the good senator is clueless. His role as President Duterte's marionette is simply to extend the puppeteer's political power and influence by other means, one which Duterte's own flesh and blood, Sara, saw through and refused.

But central to the perception of Senator Go being China's boy is Duterte's decidedly pro-China stance on his tolerance and even acquiescence on China's encroachments in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The current blue ribbon hearings on the Pharmally corruption scandals have established Duterte's undue preference for his Chinese colleagues. His actuations in the past (TMT: "Sinification of the Philippines" articles) would establish his soft spot for mainland China's predilections.

Anti-Marcos

For five decades, I was anti-Marcos as many of my generation were during that sad epoch ended by the Cory forces during EDSA People Power Revolution. But many began to be conflicted after subsequent governments post-Cory have not substantially improved our lives. I was with Cory and supported those that came after Marcos. I was supportive of Duterte until he discarded political reforms and federalism, his main advocacies that catapulted him to the presidency. Many, like I am now, are faced with a dilemma.

Will I discard my five decades of anti-Marcos sentiments in favor of China's candidate? Don't get me wrong. I love the Chinese. I have Chinese blood. I respect their position. I read Tiglao and his compelling arguments ad nauseam about PNoy Aquino's connivance with US President Obama's people resulting in the consequent occupation of islands in the WPS we can't truly claim as ours. But I resent the continued Chinese bullying, an example of which is the recent water cannon attack on Philippine boats and other similar instances of China's intimidation within our territory. What is unconscionable is our President's deafening silence save for the half-assed statements by his subalterns. His non-action I'm certain will be mirrored by his candidate, Bong Go, if he wins. This forces me to look at the alternative to the China candidate — Leni, Isko, Ping and Manny. Polls after polls show the near impossibility of their making it, except perhaps for Leni. Thus, I have to re-examine my position with BBM. My quarrel is not with him. It is with the repressive martial law regime of his father, Ferdinand Macoy, and his legacy. I doubt the son will act like his father. The opposite could happen. Having the Marcos name vilified for decades, a son's filial duty is first to clear it and do good by it. Perhaps this Marcos fils has been sufficiently chastised to make amends and eventually do good by the Filipino.

Still, the voters will have the last say.000
Read 748 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 December 2021 12:24
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