Sunday, May 27, 2007

From the Philippines: Ugly Stupid American

This is from the Manila Tribune a leftist newspaper. President Arroyo has won a majority in the house of representatives and in many local elections pro-Arroyo candidates won but the opposition seemed to have clearly won the senate. However, there is a lot of monkey business with counting and Arroyo may whittle down the opposition majority. As the article notes there were a lot of complaints about irregularities in the election process. There is a great many attempts to buy votes and manipulate results. The pork barrel is very important in the process and that explains why many local mayors support Arroyo since they will get rewards from the government. I guess that is not unique to the Philippines!
Arroyo is often represented as a pawn of the Americans. However she does not always please them as in her lack of support for the Iraq war.


Ugly, stupid American


By Alejandro Lichauco

05/28/2007

After an international observers mission had observed, based on field evidence in its hands, that the elections have been absolutely chaotic and that the mission has reason to doubt whether the Philippines can be categorized as a democratic state, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, here on official visit, issues a statement that “democracy in the Philippines has already matured.”

This, in the wake of the fact that the election tallies, particularly for the crucial senatorial race, have yet to be completed and election protests continue to flood the media and the Comelec.

In the context of the turmoil and turbulence that have attended the elections and the counting, what meaning can one possibly attach to the statement of Assistant Secretary of State Hill?

Only one conclusion comes to this writer’s mind. And that is that the top diplomat of the Bush administration in Asia has given official endorsement of the elections recently held; that he has made known to all and sundry that, as far as the US government is concerned, there was fundamentally nothing wrong with the elections, that all was mostly fair and only a bit foul and that on the whole, the elections have proved, in his words as quoted by the Inquirer, that “Philippine democracy has already matured.”

Now, don’t you consider that a blatant example of US interventionism, calculated to give the world the impression that, as far as the US government is concerned, nothing, after all, went wrong with the elections, and that all those complaints and protest of fraud, terrorism, vote-buying and voter intimidation, were pure fancy? And that therefore, political business should now proceed as usual and nothing should be allowed to upset the administration applecart?

“Philippine democracy has already matured?” That these elections weren’t only an indication but conclusive indication that the elections were mature? Because that’s the test of a democracy’s maturity, isn’t it? I mean the maturity of the electoral process.

And so, is Ambassador Hill saying the last elections were conducted in a mature fashion? That the elections were mature? Meaning, it was an election supervised by mature people, participated in by politically mature people?

If so, then what does that make of the international observers mission who said the elections were “absolutely chaotic?” That the mission is composed of immature people, making wrong and therefore immature conclusion? They were immature because they concluded that there is reason to doubt whether the Philippines can be categorized as a democratic state?

And if so, does that make Ambassador Hill a mature US government official? Or that the Bush administration he officially represents — who misled the American people into a disastrous war on the false pretense that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction intended for use against the US — is a mature administration?

George W. Bush, a mature President? Or just even a mature human being?

And that Ambassador Hill is a mature diplomat who is expected to act and does act like a mature diplomat, and that therefore there wasn’t anything immature or “pre-mature” about his statement that democracy in the Philippines “has already matured?”

“Already matured?” Meaning to say, as he obviously did, that there was a time when democracy in the Philippines hadn’t yet matured? And when was that? During the Marcos dictatorship? But, if Hill will recall, it was George Bush Sr., who, on an official visit to the Philippines then, toasted the dictatorship for the maturity of the democracy, under the dictatorship.

Hey, don’t you think that the top US ambassador in Asia has a bit of a problem up there? The same problem that afflicts the US President he currently serves? And what is that problem? Well, according to intelligence reports from the US, George W. Bush is a bit disturbed mentally. Just a bit, but disturbed just the same.

And Americans now wonder why the world hates them so? Why US foreign policy — and therefore American diplomats who represent that policy — is scorned for being arrogant, stupid and as stupid as the policy is arrogant? No wonder that, as an opinion piece in a recent issue of Time Magazine observed, someone like Hugo Chavez whom Bush hates so much, is overwhelmingly loved in his country Venezuela (see column of Peter Beinart in Time issue of May 21). And the reason too, that, as that piece suggests, US-sponsored democracies are failing.

If Philippine democracy, in the approving eyes of the Bush government, is mature, then Washington should expect nothing less than a torrent of anti-Americanism in the Philippines. Because what Hill actually said is the US government is fully backing GMA — as it once backed Marcos.

Stupid, ugly American.

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