The Philippines: Why it is Choosing US Destruction Over Chinese Construction

July 3, 2024 (NEO - Brian Berletic) - While the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to dominate headlines, occasionally news stories surface regarding growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region as well. Driven primarily by the US, these headlines also include the proxies Washington is using to stir up an Ukraine-style conflict in the region. 

Among these proxies is the Southeast Asian archipelago nation of The Philippines.

The South China Morning Post in a late June 2024 article titled, “China-Philippines ties on ‘brink of total breakdown’: unpacking the collapse,” would claim to provide an explanation as to why once constructive ties between Beijing and Manila have deteriorated into what may possibly become a destructive confrontation.

The article describes how concrete pillars of a rail project being built with China, have since been torn down, and instead, construction in the Philippines now consists of military bases to be used to point missiles at China.

The article claims:

What began as a story of infrastructure cooperation has morphed into an epic tale of betrayal and confrontation, the once-chummy relationship between Manila and Beijing giving way to escalating geopolitical rivalry.

As with many pro-Western accounts of growing Chinese-Philippine tensions, the article omits the political transition from the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to that of now President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and how the independent foreign policy of President Duterte was overwritten by the pro-Washington policy of President Marcos Jr.

US-Ukrainian ATACMS Strikes on Crimea Vindicate Moscow

June 28, 2024 (NEO - Brian Berletic) - In the last week of June 2024, Ukraine carried out what appeared to be another unsuccessful ATACMS strike on Crimea. Of the several missiles launched, all but one were intercepted. The last missile was initially reported to have been defected where it detonated over a beach, killing several civilians, including children, and injuring many more. 

What could have been concluded as a tragic accident ended up incriminating Kiev, not because of anything Moscow said in response, but because of what a senior advisor to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy said regarding the missile strike.

The UK Telegraph, in an article titled, “Crimean sunbathers struck by deadly shrapnel shower from Ukrainian missile,” would initially report:

Shrapnel from an intercepted US-made missile fired by Ukraine hit a beach packed with sunbathing tourists in occupied Crimea on Sunday. Russian officials said at least five people, including three children, had died of shrapnel wounds – and they expected the death toll to rise.

However, the Telegraph in a regular audio report titled, “Ukraine: The Latest,” would then cite Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak as saying:

There cannot be any “beaches,” “tourist zones” and other fictitious signs of “peaceful life” in Crimea, temporarily occupied by the Russians.

Crimea is definitely a foreign territory occupied by Russia, where there are hostilities and a full-scale war. The very war that Russia unleashed for genocidal and invasive purposes only.

Crimea is also a large military camp and warehouse, with hundreds of direct military targets, which the Russians are cynically trying to hide and cover up with their own civilians. Which in turn are considered to be… civilian occupiers.

The quote was confirmed by pro-Ukrainian media platform, Ukrinform.

Podolyak’s words suggest that what at first appeared to be the accidental death of civilians, was instead part of an official Ukrainian government policy of targeting, terrorizing, and eliminating Crimea’s population of “civilian occupiers.”

While even the Telegraph podcast’s commentators found Podolyak’s words shocking and indefensible, to those following the development of Ukraine’s crisis from 2014 onward, this comes as no surprise, and in fact, serves as only the latest evidence of both Washington and Kiev’s attitude toward Russian-speaking Ukrainians as well as Russia itself, and the fundamental threat the US and its client regime in Kiev posed to not only the rest of Ukraine, but also to neighboring Russia.

Crimea Was Always “Russian,” According to US Government Polling 

A year before the US government openly overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, its agencies including USAID and the International Republican Institute (IRI) conducted polling across all of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Why Washington’s Plans to Turn Taiwan Strait into “Hellscape” are Fundamentally Flawed

June 24, 2024 (NEO - Brian Berletic) - The Washington Post in an opinion piece by Josh Rogin titled, “The U.S. military plans a ‘Hellscape’ to deter China from attacking Taiwan,”  lays out a fundamentally flawed assessment of a US Department of Defense strategy relying on unmanned systems to fight off the Chinese military for up to a “month” before the US and its allies can mobilize their armed forces.

And even as the Washington Post attempts to sell this strategy as plausible, it itself calls into question the window of opportunity in which it could be implemented and actually succeed.

A Flawed Strategy Laid Upon an Equally Flawed Premise 

Before even examining the flaws of the strategy itself, it must first be pointed out that the entire premise upon which this strategy would be utilized, “defending Taiwan,” is entirely flawed.

The US State Department, upon its own official website under a section titled, “U.S. Relations With Taiwan,” unambiguously admits, we do not support Taiwan independence.”

If the US government does not recognize or support Taiwan independence, by implication Taiwan is a “dependent” of another state. According to the United States’ own “One China” policy laid out in the 1972 Shanghai Communique, that state is China, whose sole legitimate government is the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The 1972 document explains in detail:

The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position.

Thus, any interaction between Taiwan and the rest of China is a matter of Chinese internal political affairs, amid which the US has no ability to interfere in accordance with international law and more specifically, under the UN Charter and its guarantee of a nation’s territorial integrity and political independence.

The UN Charter says unequivocally:

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. 

Quite clearly Washington’s unofficial support for separatism in Taiwan, in contradiction of its own agreements with Beijing regarding the status of the island province, is a violation of international law to begin with. Any plans by the US to use any kind of military force, including unmanned systems, to intervene in China’s internal political affairs, begins from an entirely flawed, indefensible position under international law.

Why a Drone “Hellscape” Will Not Work 

China has a multitude of ways to deal with US-sponsored separatism and other violations of Chinese sovereignty over the island province of Taiwan beyond an amphibious invasion US military planners envision their drone armies fighting against and winning.

Reuters Exposes Washington’s Global Disinformation Campaign: The Rest of the Story

June 18, 2024 (NEO - Brian Berletic) - In a recent article, Reuters confirms what many knew for years, that the United States government and its various departments and agencies have been conducting global disinformation campaigns targeting nations it seeks to undermine, and whose governments it seeks to overthrow.

Washington was Deliberately Harming American “Allies” 

The article titled, “Pentagon ran secret anti-vax campaign to undermine China during pandemic,” admits:

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. military launched a secret campaign to counter what it perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines, a nation hit especially hard by the deadly virus.

The clandestine operation has not been previously reported. It aimed to sow doubt about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and other life-saving aid that was being supplied by China, a Reuters investigation found. Through phony internet accounts meant to impersonate Filipinos, the military’s propaganda efforts morphed into an anti-vax campaign. Social media posts decried the quality of face masks, test kits and the first vaccine that would become available in the Philippines – China’s Sinovac inoculation.

The article reveals that the campaign was not conducted only in the Philippines, but across the rest of Southeast Asia and far beyond.

The US government campaign, carried out by the US military, was not conducted because it was actually believed that China’s Sinovac vaccine or any of the protective equipment it manufactured was faulty, but purely to undermine China.

Behind the Myth of “Billions in Arms” Flowing into Ukraine

June 13, 2024 (NEO - Brian Berletic)In a June 8, 2024, Bloomberg article titled, “Putin Is Running Out of Time to Achieve Breakthrough in Ukraine,” an optimistic prognosis was made regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine in favor of Kiev.

The article claims that Russia has made “limited progress” along the line of contact, including along the newly-opened front in Kharkov and that as “billions in arms start flowing” into Ukraine, Ukrainian forces will be given the opportunity to “counter-attack.”

The “billions in arms” Bloomberg cites refers to the renewed flow of US military assistance after months of delays in passing funding in the US Congress. However, recalling the flagging impact of US arms transfers to Ukraine even before the funding delays, and a closer look at the actual quantities associated with these packages versus Russian military production, tells an entirely different story.

Bloomberg claims that the renewed flow of US arms is eroding Russia’s military advantage. However, this is simply not true.

Artillery Shells 

The most recent US arms package featured, among other items, badly needed 155mm artillery shells and anti-tank weapons including the vaunted Javelin missile. Missing from the Pentagon’s public press release, were the quantities these weapons and munitions were being sent in.

It is well-known that US and European artillery shell production falls short of Russia’s by several times. A May 2024 Business Insider article puts the number of Russian shells produced this year at 4.5 million, while the US and Europe combined amount to only 1.3 million.

The prospect of Western shell production drastically increasing to match or even exceed Russian production numbers is unrealistic, according to a June 7, 2024 Bloomberg article titled, “America’s War Machine Can’t Make Basic Artillery Fast Enough.”