Barack Obama doing a Nixon in Philippines?
July 12, 2009 § 6 Comments
The US Embassy just announced that US President Barack Obama has invited Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the White House. Arroyo will be the first Southeast Asian leader to formally visit Obama at the White House. The visit will be three days after Arroyo’s last State of the Nation Address in July 27.
CIA Chief Leon Panetta mentioned the invitation to Mrs. Arroyo personally. Panetta made a brief stop-over in the country today to discuss security and counter-terrorism matters with Mrs. Arroyo. He leaves tonight, after meeting Mrs. Arroyo this afternoon.
The White House statement that announced the invitation said the two leaders will be “an opportunity to discuss ways to enhance US-Philippine cooperation on critical global issues including counter-terrorism and climate change, as well as further the traditionally strong alliance and bond between our nations.”
This is most perplexing, since a few days back, Obama decided not to visit Kenya, the country of his father, due to its alleged human rights record and increasing repression against its citizens. Obama even gave a speech entitled ” A New Moment of Promise”, a veritable rebuke of repressive regimes and laying the predicate for America’s supposed role in upholding human rights. Now, Obama wants to be visited by Southeast Asia’s most vilified and most hated head of State? Why?
What is so important to discuss? Is Obama so concerned with the rising human rights violations in the Philippines that he needs to hear it first from Arroyo, the main promoter of chaos and disorder in this country? What are the things that Obama needs to personally hear from Arroyo? Her commitment to stop bombing her own people and just fade away from the political scene after June 30,2010? Is he thinking that he can still work his magic around Arroyo and convince her to “stand down” and honor political commitments for the elections?
Or, there’s something very worrisome in the Mindanao area that they need to discuss? Why is it so urgent and so sudden? Was it to personally send to Mrs. Arroyo Washington’s concern with the worsening peace and order situation in the volatile Bangsamoro region? Or the possibility of again, opening talks for the formalization of forward bases in the South in the Western Mindanao command and an assurance from Arroyo that the Philippines will respect the security pact between the two countries?
Personally, I am totally disappointed, nay, disgusted by the decision of Obama. Is Obama doing a Richard Nixon in this one, giving his blessing for the perpetuation of another dictatorship? This is nuts. Honestly, Mrs. Arroyo is just 11 months away from retirement. There’s nothing to gain anymore from meeting Arroyo. After the SONA, Mrs. Arroyo’s role is just act as a transition leader. Meeting her would amount to nothing, except if the US wants to maintain a looming presence in peace talks between the MILF and the government?