POSTSCRIPT / March 22, 2007 / Thursday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Read PPS/23 to discern basis of US intervention

TAMA NA!: Congressman Satur Ocampo, who is being roughed up by the administration, is a member of the Capampangan in Media Inc., an organization of professional print and broadcast journalists with roots in the bloodied fields of Pampanga.

Appalled by the maltreatment of this duly elected people’s representative by legal, police and military hounds of the government, we in CAMI voice with other sectors our alarm over this arrogant, albeit clumsy, display of state power.

Charges against Satur have been filed. Let the courts and due process take over without anybody’s basic human rights being violated with reckless imprudence.

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PPS/23 TEXT: Our Postscript on the policy basis of US intervention in Philippine affairs elicited mixed reactions.

Some readers asked for the text of Policy Planning Staff memorandum 23 (PPS/23), a top-secret State Department paper formulated in February 1948 on how the US should manage its relations with various nations, including its former colony in Asia.

An American reader said I might have misquoted PPS/23 or used it out of context. To clear up that area, here is the text that many people have been looking for. Sorry, but space limitation forces me to leave out some portions:

“OUR political philosophy and patterns of living have very little applicability to masses of people in Asia. They may be all right for us, with our highly developed political traditions running back into the centuries and with our peculiarly favorable geographic position; but they are simply not practical or helpful, today, for most of the people in Asia.

“This being the case, we must be very careful when we speak of exercising ‘leadership’ in Asia. We are deceiving ourselves and others when we pretend to have the answers to the problems which agitate many of these Asiatic peoples.

“Furthermore, we have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationship which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

“For these reasons, we must observe great restraint in our attitude toward the Far Eastern areas. The peoples of Asia and of the Pacific area are going to go ahead, whatever we do, with the development of their political forms and mutual interrelationships in their own way. This process cannot be a liberal or peaceful one. The greatest of the Asiatic peoples — the Chinese and the Indians — have not yet even made a beginning at the solution of the basic demographic problem involved in the relationship between their food supply and their birth rate. Until they find some solution to this problem, further hunger, distress and violence are inevitable. All of the Asiatic peoples are faced with the necessity for evolving new forms of life to conform to the impact of modern technology. This process of adaptation will also be long and violent. xxx

“In the face of this situation, we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded, international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and — for the Far East — unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

“We should recognize that our influence in the Far Eastern area in the coming period is going to be primarily military and economic. We should make a careful study to see what parts of the Pacific and Far Eastern world are absolutely vital to our security, and we should concentrate our policy on seeing to it that those areas remain in hands which we can control or rely on. It is my own guess (PPS/23 was written by George Kennan, the first director of State’s Policy Planning Staff — fdp), on the basis of such study as we have given the problem so far, that Japan and the Philippines will be found to be the corner-stones of such a Pacific security system and that if we can contrive to retain effective control over these areas there can be no serious threat to our security from the East within our time.

“xxx… If these basic concepts are accepted, then our objectives for the immediate coming period should be:

“xxx… (c) to shape our relationship to the Philippines in such a way as to permit to the Philippine Government a continued independence in all internal affairs but to preserve the archipelago as a bulwark of US security in that area.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of March 22, 2007)

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