Beyond the fear of losing their jobs

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ABOUT THE Middle East and Libya many Filipinos have one fear, and that’s the loss of their jobs as the region and that country fall apart, besieged by the violence of contending sectarian groups and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

That, together with paeans to their bravery, was the subtext in the expressions of concern over the Filipino peacekeepers’ repatriation last week from the Syrian Golan Heights, peacekeeping under UN auspices being, like other jobs in the Middle East, relatively high-paying at around P45,000 a month.

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Lords of destruction

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THEN US President George W. Bush. His Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. His Vice President, Richard Chaney. His Chief Political Adviser, Karl Rove.

These were some of the lords of destruction who engineered the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But they were not the brains behind it but merely the executors. For a look at the theoreticians and ideologues of unabashed imperialism, one has to go to a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, which was prepared by the neo-conservatives of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

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Conduct unbecoming

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THE LAST time US forces occupied several military bases all over the Philippines, among them Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, it took a decades-long campaign against their presence, a volcanic eruption, and over 40 years to get them out.

Anticipating the need to get and keep them out, the 1987 Constitution barred foreign troops and military bases without a treaty ratified by the Senate, which, despite then President Corazon Aquino’s advocacy, refused to renew the US lease in September1991. Not that the US was at the time still seriously interested in keeping the latter, the global projection of US power through its nuclear submarine complex and aircraft carrier tax forces being then seen to be less costly and more effective. The cleanup at Clark because of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 would not have been worth the expense and effort anyway. The Senate action wasn’t as disastrous to US strategy as some thought at the time. But it did end a long period of occupation by foreign troops in places where they were the undisputed, non-accountable sovereigns.

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EDSA hijacked

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DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.

The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.

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