11 Dec 2021
By Gb Kotsakis
Good Afternoon. First, let me acknowledge the traditional owner of this land, the Wurrringeri people of the Kulin Nation. I pay my respect to past, present and emerging elders. I parallel their struggles with the Philippine indigenous peoples’ struggle for the land that has been taken and is still being taken from them.
I agree with the previous speakers that have expounded and deliberated on the AUKUS debate on how they impact the growing malice, the incessant Australian longing for supremacy in the Asia Pacific. Its build-up of military capabilities, especially nuclear-powered submarines, affects the region. Australia’s action of breaking a contract with France, engaging with the US to supply nuclear-powered submarines brokered by the Brits run smack of unethical activity by this government. Australia, from history, has been a lapdog of the US. Its extended running support for the US wars and interventions only proves that Australia has never been a staunch believer of herself. Australia declared that the latest Afghan exercise was successful. It has not mattered whether a victory for democracy was done; instead, Australia has given its fair contribution to the effort required by the US.
The retreat from Afghanistan by the allied power to control terrorism has proven nothing except disaster for Afghanistan. They have left the country in total dissolution and wreck. Yet Australia called the 20-year campaign a success for the very purpose that she was present, visible and relevant to the US campaigns. Ever present, ever-relevant and always the American dog.
My reason to address you here is to present why the Philippines is in the middle of the Asia Pacific struggle between an impending old imperialist power and young imperialist power—between the US and China with Australia trailing behind. The conflict between these two contending countries and how they interplay against the Philippines’ backdraft determines the region’s situation. No matter how other pacific nations’ reactions to Australia’s build-up of weapons and capabilities carries no weight. Australia holds no regard for their arguments. It engages with America on a cold war against its major emerging threat for the region and the world. Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines and other advanced weapons for its Army, Navy and Air force, Australia is carving a piece of the territory for a re-division of the world.
President Duterte decisively moves to align itself with China and distance itself from the US. We now know that the move was a ploy to get America’s attention for a more negotiable advantage. There never was an intention to break bondage from the imperialist master.
The present government hopes that China will relieve the Philippines’ problems. China has enticed, bribed with economic support the Duterte government through its “Belt and Road initiative”. Duterte has played a gambit game between two masters. China’s promise of financial support for projects long ago envisioned by past governments is still to initiate. Finance from China on most of the long-standing projects is yet to come. The US just played a waiting game measuring how the other player would show her card.
The Philippines is now a pawn to the present cold war. Historically, during then-President Reagan, he supported President Marcos to counter the communist threat. President Carter, often categorised as a human rights-focused president, supported Marcos regime after declaring Martial Law to keep access to Military bases. The character and the design for hegemonic control are repeated with the Duterte regime. Joe Biden is yet to show his colours espousing human rights while playing relationships with dubious human rights records leaders. Biden’s global summit for democracy and inviting Duterte, whose concept of democracy is an autocracy, is a big joke.
In maintaining access to these bases, the US and Australia buy off the Philippine Government with a steady stream of security assistance. They turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by the government and reassure Duterte whenever international or domestic criticism is made.
The Philippines is no match for full-scale combat with China, and she must rely on the military might of the US for protection. It is doubtful if Australia can muster its own to defend the Philippines or her own whenever war escalates. Australia’s reliance on the US is questionable with the ANZUS treaty. The treaty did not speculate about supporting Australia when and if it was invaded or attacked.
The Filipino people have a more significant stake in these AUKUS weapons build-up. The Filipinos, already hard press, are made unwilling victims of this cold war. Filipinos have nothing to gain but misery between two giants with Australia in tow. The Philippines between two boulders will be crushed. The Filipinos are always a colony of the victorious. Never a genuinely independent nation whose history is a struggle for its own identity. That is why there is an ongoing revolution against the three cancer of the philippine society, Imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism.
With the US pivot to the Asia Pacific, the Philippines is again seen as a geopolitically necessary fortification to maintain US hegemony. The pivot prioritised military superiority against China through access to bases on the Philippines. Australia is in the frontline of this cold war, and the archipelago will be the battleground with disastrous consequences.
The military weapons build-up in any debate is unwarranted. The AUKUS alliance foreshadows and foments a world war. The battleground is being defined, and the Philippines is the first that will be broken apart. To get its bearing from the monster that is America, Australia must distance herself. Must not be compliant with the dictates of the US.
Philippine Caucus for Peace calls on all Filipinos to end the Duterte regime. To end the atrocities it had committed. PCP calls on all Filipinos to stand firm and resolve the root cause of the ills confronting society.
Philippine Caucus for Peace calls for peace-loving Australians to break its alliance with the US. Must call to address its government to dictate its foreign policy. Must address any Human Rights abuses internal and externally and be responsible for its sovereign. To stop Australian military aid to the Philippines from maintaining a dictator guilty of a crime against humanity. More than 30,000 Filipinos extra-judicially killed tell us the kind of regime Australia supports. Thank you!