January 15, 2011
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan views with great concerned the visit tomorrow of US Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman.
“The visit comes in the wake of the unveiling of a new US defense strategy that aims to put more US troops in the Asia-Pacific. The visit comes just before the 2nd US-PH Strategic Dialogue which also will tackle US defense issues. You can bet that McCain’s visit is not a just a trip down memory lane for the Vietnam War veteran. He’s here with Lieberman to help advance the cause of US military power projection and intervention in this region,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
When McCain was released after being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, his first stop was the Clark Airbase in Pampanga. He has been a vocal advocate of US intervention in the Spratly’s dispute.
Last January 3, US president Barrack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed the new US defense strategy that aims to put more emphasis on the Asia-Pacific and Middle East amid emerging challenges from China and Iran. US power projection in the region was seen as a key in countering these challenges.
McCain is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee along with Lieberman, an independent democrat. Lieberman meanwhile also chairs the Senate Homeland Security.
“The US may also be soliciting support for its sanctions against Iran and Syria. This visit is a reaffirmation of the defense ties that make us a colonial outpost of the US,” Reyes added.
Bayan said that the Philippine government should assert national interest during these high profile meetings.
“Sadly, the Philippine government will again reaffirm the Visiting Forces Agreement, including the decade-long deployment of US troops in Mindanao. Predictably, the Philippine government will again lobby for more US military junk and second-hand equipment like the naval ship we got recently,” Reyes said.
“We don’t see any assertion of national sovereignty and national interest on the part of the Aquino government. The present government has not even questioned why US troops have been based in Mindanao for a decade now, without even the benefit of a bases treaty,” he added. ###