Barack Obama and his Bay of Pigs
October 25, 2008 § 1 Comment
A US spy plane crashed in the town of Pikit, North Cotabato in the region of Mindanao, Philippines last October 18. Also, reports show an increasing number of US troops arriving into Mindanao. This suggests one thing–is the US government changing its policy in engaging Bangsamoro rebels in the conflict-laden Mindanao?
The US embassy has not issued any statement on this. Evidently, this shows that US military continued support of the AFP in its battles against the MILF ground commanders.
US intervention in low-intensity conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region is nothing new. Since the 1950’s, US direct intervention has been documented. Understandably, US defense interests include Mindanao, since, earlier posts suggest that it has direct implications on the overall global anti-terror campaigns.
The question is—what will Barack Obama do in relation to the escalating war in Mindanao? Will Obama increase US defense spending to combat the Bangsamoro rebels? Or will defense spending remain the same?
Will the US continue its mediator role in the conflict or will it increase its military interventionist role? All indications point to increased military intervention, since, analysis suggest a further escalation and possible spillover to the rest of the region.
The possibility of Mindanao turning into a serious regional flashpoint remains very big. If some MILF commanders successfully oust MILF Chairman Murad from his seat, the prospect of the organisation entering into peace talks is doomed. It would, however, secure victory for the MILF on the long term; yet, victory could send the wrong signal to the world, a signal that could embolden other terrorist organisations around the globe.
Simply put–what the US does’nt need right now is another success story of the extremists. The US is losing the war on terror in almost all fronts–Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. A victory in Mindanao by Islamist-oriented rebel groups in Mindanao could increase morale in other flashpoints, most especially in Southern Thailand which remains as a hotbed of Islamist secessionism.
A victory could spill-over Thailand, strengthen JI in Indonesia and Malaysia and even affect Singapore. China could also be affected since there is a growing militaristic Islamism there.
A weak handling of this Mindanao problem by the US could tip the balance of power in the region, what with the new orientation of the new administration–from an anti-terror standpoint to economic orientation.
Barack Obama’s pronouncement that his main priority would be solving the US sub-prime crisis first shows a lack of understanding on the implications of decreasing US role in the global war on terror.
More than lip-service, Barack Obama should maintain full support on the war on terror; otherwise, he might find his government looking in a totally different world political map in the next few years.
Another question—will Mindanao serve as Barack’s “Bay of Pigs” ? Since Barack has this propensity of positioning himself as the “incarnation” of US President John F. Kennedy, will he also encounter the same problem and commit the same grievous mistake his predecessor did in his time? More on this.