Hillary Clinton declares the US is back in Asia.

Uh, I hate to tell her but I wasn’t aware that they left.

Here in the Philippines, there has been an ongoing revolt by the Moro tribes on and off for about a hundred years but with the resurgence of “charity money” funneled to AlQaeda linked terror groups things got quite dangerous for awhile.

How important is the Philippines to the “war on terror”? Well, there is a hole in Manhattan that was the result of some plans originally discussed in a Manila suburb.

But now, there is a slow but steady progress against these terrorists, most of it done by the Philippine military with the help of US Special forces. In addition to military aid is the development aid from the US that is being funnelled there, along with aid from other countries, the UN, and many NGO’s. Others who are helping incude Muslim countries who are active at mediating the disputes.

In this, the Bush administration worked closely with the Philippine government. Our President, Gloria Arroyo, is unpopular because of suspected corruption and an upsurge in political murders under her watch, but she has been aggressive at trying to use the carrot/stick approach to pacify the southern Philippines.

Yet President Obama has gone out of his way to openly snub our president.

During the campaign, although John McCain found time to meet her, candidate Obama did not.

Similarly,earlier this year, when President Arroyo visited the UN and stopped in Washington to go to a prayer breakfast, she again was snubbed and denied a meeting with President Obama.

So I am happy that Secretary of State Clinton says that the US is ready to engage with Asia after years of neglect.

I just can’t figure which countries she is talking about.

The Philippines? Not by the Bush administration.
Indonesia? Ditto for Indonesia (although I understand it was the Aussie Special Forces who did a lot of the work there).

All the kissing up to Pakistan by the Obama administration has angered some in India,who worry that Pakistan will use the US weapons against them. But under Bush, India was one of the few countries whose polls were almost pro American.

As for China: They do what they want to do. They think in the long term, and I suspect they are licking their chops at the withdrawal of American power from Asia, and are making plans to fill the vacuum to keep the Asia Pacific area prosperous.

No, they don’t send aid money here to the Philippines, but they send cheap goods that undermine our local factories, and are suspected of being generous to our politicians to get huge government contracts, including rights to the natural gas fields in the Spratlys Islands.

South Korea, after years of the left in the Universities indoctrinating youth that North Korea was a paradise and the US evil, might have considered itself neglected when the US government under President Bush withdrew a lot of American armed forces.

But when Clinton implies it is a new policy for the US to talk with neighboring Asia countries on what to do about North Korea. She is wrong. It is merely a continuation of the Bush policy to refuse to have unilateral talks, and that all neighboring countries needed to be included in the negotiations.

What is new is that the weakness shown by the Obama administration has emboldened North Korea to restart it’s nuclear program, while it is the Obama administration that is “neglecting” South Korea, Japan, Alaska and Hawaii by bowing to Russia’s demands not to deploy anti missile shields.

I am happy that Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration are no longer going to neglect Asia. But to suggest that the Bush administration neglected Asia is wrong. Most of the neglect has been in the present administration, not the previous one.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philipines.

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