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Friday, June 14, 2024

‘Right is might’

“We fully encourage President Marcos, Jr., as well as the leaders of the international community, to uphold the Rule of Law, where sovereign equality of states is observed”

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Compared to his predecessor’s shameless policy of appeasement towards China in exchange for monetary benefits, we believe President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is taking proper steps in defending the rights of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

In particular, we welcome that President Marcos Jr.’s administration is allowing joint patrols with like-minded nations in the West Philippine Sea and establishing additional locations under the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

If successfully done, these are steps that have the effect of deterring Chinese aggressions against the Philippines.

Having said this, defending the West Philippine Sea against Chinese aggression and upholding international law and the global commons in the South China Sea remain to be a formidable task and so much needs to be done.

President Marcos Jr. has a very challenging task ahead as Chinese counterpart continues to press on its illegal nine-dash line claim despite the 2016 Arbitral Award, while bullying Filipino fishermen, coast guard and navy personnel in their own waters, as well as our neighbors in the South China Sea.

While the US is pursuing its Indo Pacific strategy, all nations of the world, including the US and the Philippines, have an important stake in preserving the rules-based international order against the unlawful policies of aggression being pursued by the leaders of China and Russia.

Dismantling the rules-based international order would be catastrophic for humanity as the world would revert to a pre-World War II order where disputes were settled by force and where countless lives were meaninglessly lost through wars and invasions.

We should not forget the lesson of the past world wars that a policy of appeasement towards aggressors resulted in disasters.

Given what is at stake, we should no longer think twice at firmly pushing back against aggression, like what is being displayed by China and Russia.

We fully encourage President Marcos, Jr., as well as the leaders of the international community, to uphold the Rule of Law, where sovereign equality of states is observed in the sense that small nations like the Philippines are protected in their rights against the aggressions of bigger nations.

Where Right is Might remains the global norm, not Might is Right.

(The author is Chairman, Stratbase ADR Institute; former Philippine Ambassador to the US; and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs)

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