This article appears in the June 14, 2019 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
U.S.-CHINA COOPERATION IN THE PHILIPPINES
Operation Marcos: A Development Plan for Asia and the World
June 8—In 2015, the LaRouche Political Action Committee published a pamphlet titled, “The United States Joins the New Silk Road—A Hamiltonian Vision for an Economic Renaissance.” It presents the transformation of the world economy that would result from such a Hamiltonian policy, expanding greatly on the already phenomenal development taking place in over one hundred nations that are now part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
While President Trump personally expresses great admiration for Xi Jinping’s leadership, the United States has yet to take steps to join in cooperation with China’s BRI in developing third-party nations, as Japan and Italy have done in co-development projects in Asia and Africa. The British intelligence coup attempt against President Trump, through British assets in U.S. intelligence agencies, has been exposed and neutralized, but the same operatives behind the “Russia collusion” hoax have opened an even more vicious campaign to demonize China and subvert Trump’s oft-stated intention to establish close cooperation with China and his “close friend” Xi Jinping. The deeply depraved FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Congress in February that “China in many ways represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face,” calling for a “whole-of-society approach, because in many ways we confront whole-of-society threats.”
This carefully cultivated anti-China hysteria has driven not only trade war, with tit-for-tat tariffs, but the assault on the world’s leading telecom company, Huawei; the shutting down of Confucius Institutes all over the United States; and sanctions against many countries, even so-called “allies”—all of this occurring while political forces surrounding President Trump, in the Congress, and in the press, escalate a vitriolic attack on everything Chinese.
It is urgent that the President resolve this conflict both peacefully and cooperatively. The United States, and indeed the world, is poised on the precipice of either a disastrous global conflagration, or its opposite, a New Paradigm for mankind, based on cooperation of the great powers of the world in scientific and cultural discovery and global economic development, ending the era of Empire and geopolitics once and for all.
This current report proposes that a great potential exists for U.S.-China collaboration and partnership in working together to accomplish the rapid agro-industrial development of the Philippines, a nation that shares a history spanning both an Eastern and Western cultural heritage. There are deep moral, political and economic motivations for undertaking such a task. Were the U.S. and China to act together in such a project, it would serve as a model for a similar joint-development of the other nations of Asia, and worldwide.
The ‘Operation Juárez’ Paradigm
In 1982, Lyndon H. LaRouche issued an EIR Special Report titled, Operation Juárez—Mexico/Ibero-America Policy Study. (Benito Juárez was President of Mexico from 1861-1872, and a close political ally of his contemporary, Abraham Lincoln—although the two men never met.) This report by LaRouche was issued at a time when the developing sector nations were suffering a catastrophic breakdown crisis, brought on by the combined effects of the orchestrated spike in oil prices, the orchestrated massive increase in international interest rates set in motion by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, and vicious austerity measures being imposed by the IMF on behalf of the essentially bankrupt financial empire centered in the City of London.
LaRouche’s plan was for Mexico, under the leadership of LaRouche’s close friend President López Portillo, to establish an oil-for-technology relationship with the United States (especially during the Reagan administration), and to forge an alliance with other indebted nations of Ibero-America to use the non-payment of their foreign debt as a weapon to force through a top-down reorganization of the entire bankrupt international financial system. This was to be a first step toward the establishment of a more just New World Economic Order, based on high-technology infrastructure and industrial projects.
The concept was to use U.S.-Mexico cooperation in real physical development as a model for transforming U.S. relations across Ibero-America, and eventually the world. It called for a return to Hamiltonian credit policies, for cooperative investments in modern industrial and agricultural development and infrastructure, ending the neo-colonial usurious policies of the Anglo-Dutch liberal system that had systematically infected the U.S. political and financial system since the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the assassination of John Kennedy.
LaRouche’s 1982 proposal was not adopted, and instead the Western Hemisphere was thrown into a downward spiral of economic decay, massive drug infestation openly run by the imperial banking system, cultural degeneration, and despair. The illegal persecution and prosecution of Lyndon LaRouche was a major aspect of the imperial drive to crush Operation Juárez and sustain the destructive powers of the financial oligarchy.
Today we have an opportunity, and a dire necessity, to succeed in this grand design where it failed in the 1980s. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, has said on many occasions that if Donald Trump were to bring the United States into the new paradigm of the New Silk Road—in cooperation with Russia and China, as well as Mexico and other nations—he will be remembered as one of the great presidents of American history. This is not a utopian dream, but a totally feasible and urgently necessary action.
An Exquisite Solution
I wish to propose, therefore, that a policy not unlike that of Operation Juárez be implemented today between the Trump Administration and the government of the Philippines, in full cooperation with China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which could be called “Operation Marcos.” This was a concept already in the mind of Lyndon LaRouche at the time he authored Operation Juárez in 1982. Indeed, he was in a process of cooperation with the nationalist government of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines at that time—not as close as his personal relationship with President Portillo of Mexico, but nonetheless a direct relationship, and one that was based on the same programmatic premise of international cooperation in transforming the essentially colonial economy of the Philippines into a modern industrial nation.
By 1982, President Marcos had already begun a process of industrial and agricultural modernization that was the envy of the other Asian nations. For exactly that reason, he became one of the first “regime change” targets of the emerging power of the British-allied forces within the United States. A “regime change” coup against Marcos was carried out in 1986 under the direction of then Secretary of State George Shultz and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, two of the central figures in the transformation of the United States into a “dumb giant” for the British Empire, carrying out their neo-colonial wars in Asia, and later in the Middle East.
Operation Marcos would draw on the phenomenal development achieved under Marcos before the assault against him and his nation was launched in the early 1980s. The Marcos Administration achieved self-sufficiency in rice and corn for the first time in the nation’s history; launched “11 Big Industrial Projects” across the archipelago; built the first nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia; built health and cultural centers in the Philippines for use by all the Southeast Asian nations; and more. With the U.S.-orchestrated coup of 1986, falsely labeled “People Power,” all this was shut down, and the nation quickly became known as the “sick man of Asia” rather than the model of development. (See “Shultz and the ‘Hit Men’ Destroyed the Philippines.”)
With the election of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2015, the Philippines now has a leader with the capacity to reverse the looting of that nation by the banking cartels in London and New York. It also has a leader who is willing to take on the drug cartels (run by the same bankers) who had devastated the citizens of the Philippines. One of Duterte’s first acts as President was to have the remains of President Marcos interred with military honors in the Hero’s Cemetery in Manila, an act that had been denied by the puppet presidents installed after the 1986 coup.
When he was elected, Duterte told then U.S. President Barack Obama to “go to Hell” with his effort to use the Philippines as a foil to start a war with China. He immediately visited China and joined the BRI, He also deployed his Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to visit China, Russia and India to negotiate military purchases to support both a counter-attack on terrorists in Mindanao and a full-scale war on the drug cartels. Duterte has not held back from targeting leading politicians and officers of the military and police forces who were compromised by the cartels. With the election of Donald Trump, he gladly restored friendly relations with Washington, while expanding ties to China and Russia.
The United States has a moral obligation to make amends for the criminal coup carried out against President Marcos in 1986, and for the destruction of the development process Marcos had set in motion. At the same time, that moral imperative demands that the United States act to fully restore sovereignty to the Philippines, which was only partially restored when Washington granted the nation independence in 1945.
Beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, the U.S. experiment in colonialism was a horrible mistake. America had liberated the Philippines from Spanish rule in the Spanish American War of 1898, but rather than restoring independence and sovereignty at that time, actions were taken to suppress the Philippine revolutionary forces who had welcomed U.S. cooperation in expelling the Spanish. The U.S. waged a bloody war against the Moors in the southern islands, and established its own colonial government. In 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt promised independence to the Philippines after a ten-year transition, and despite the intervening of the Japanese occupation and World War II, the promise of independence was fulfilled in 1945. However, with Roosevelt dead, the Truman government imposed drastic restraints on the new nation’s freedom of action.
The Philippines and the New Silk Road
Lyndon LaRouche was interviewed on Nov. 16, 2004 on Philippine radio station DZAR, hosted by Antonio “Butch” Valdes, who also heads the Philippine LaRouche Society and was a Senate candidate in the 2019 election with the party he founded, Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino—KDP. LaRouche said at that time:
The Philippines has a very important pivotal role, some people would say geopolitically, in the entire region, of trying to bring together on a global scale for the first time, a world system, which is capable of accommodating both the European cultural heritage and Asian cultures. This is the great barrier, the great frontier, of a hopeful future for this planet: to bring together the cultures of Asia—which are different than those of Western Europe generally—with European culture, to get a global culture based on a system of sovereign nation-states, which understands that this unresolved cultural question has to be addressed, with a long-term view, of several generations, of creating an integrated set of sovereign nation-states as the system of the planet. So the Philippines is a very special country, with a unique importance for the people of Asia, in particular, in playing a key role in bringing about this kind of general integration of Asian and European civilizations.
This vision beautifully captures the mission of the New Silk Road. It also reflects the concept of the great philosopher, scientist and statesman of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Wilhelm Gottfried Leibniz, who was in correspondence with the Jesuit missionaries in China. Leibniz took it upon himself to educate the Europeans in regard to the philosophy and culture of China, publishing a book titled Novissima Sinica (News of China), which could be considered the first call for the New Silk Road in modern times. He wrote:
I consider it a singular plan of the fates that human cultivation and refinement should today be concentrated, as it were, in the two extremes of our continent, in Europe and in China, which adorns the Orient as Europe does the opposite edge of the Earth. Perhaps Supreme Providence has ordained such an arrangement, so that, as the most cultivated and distant peoples stretch out their arms to each other, those in between may gradually be brought to a better way of life.
The 300 years of Spanish rule over the Philippines was brutal, but it was not without some benefits in introducing European culture and religion to the population. This is also true with the 50-year U.S. occupation. While much colonial exploitation can be found in the process, many aspects of the Hamiltonian tradition of the American System were assimilated. Now is the time for the global divisions of the past—the colonizer-colonized division, and the East-West division—to be finally left in the dust bin of history.
The Philippines, as LaRouche emphasized, carries the best of both cultures, and, in bringing China and the U.S. together in a grand project to aid in uplifting the economic potentials of the Philippines, this can serve as a model for all of Asia, and all of the world, for cooperation in the new paradigm and the spirit of the New Silk Road.
The Marcos Record
The joint U.S.-China cooperation in the development of the Philippines has a rich source to draw on from the Marcos era. Ferdinand Marcos was elected President in 1965—the first President who did not come from the elite class, but was a “commoner” who had trained as a lawyer. The U.S. war in Indochina was just getting under way, and U.S. military presence in the Philippines was greatly expanded, as the military bases at Subic Bay and Clark Airfield became launching pads for countless air-strikes. This activity contributed to a Maoist insurgency within the country, provoking a declaration of Martial Law in 1972, which lasted until 1981.
But Marcos was not only concerned about “counterinsurgency” in declaring martial law. The Philippines was still essentially a colonial economy. Productivity was low in both agriculture and industry. Marcos had set out from the beginning of his presidency to establish Philippine food self-sufficiency in rice and corn in a program known as Masagana 99. He focused on basic agricultural infrastructure, especially irrigation, in the major food-producing regions of Luzon and Mindanao. Credit facilities, mechanization, and the introduction of high-yield rice varieties resulted in the elimination of rice imports by 1968.
In 1972, Marcos invited Chinese agriculturalists to visit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the world-famous institute located in Los Baños, Philippines, presenting the Chinese with a bag of the high-yield rice developed there. This led to a close collaboration between the two countries on the development of high-yield seed, and in 1977 the brilliant Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping, known as the father of hybrid rice, came to Los Baños, beginning a collaboration that continues still today.
When Marcos imposed martial law in 1972, among his first acts was a proclamation that the entire nation was to be considered a “land reform area,” and a declaration that all tenants working land devoted primarily to rice and corn were to be the owners of that land, up to a specified limit. Despite the enraged opposition of the oligarchy, the program proved to be extraordinarily successful. Coupled with the infrastructure and mechanization improvements, a quarter of a million peasants became landowners, and grain productivity increased by half.
Another major step after the declaration of martial law was to contract with Westinghouse for the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was to be the first (and would still today be the only) commercial nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia. When the U.S. deposed Marcos in 1986, the already completed plant was moth-balled, although the country was forced to pay every penny of the cost of construction and the inflated debt service, without ever producing a single watt of electricity.
’The New Name for Social Justice
In 1979, Marcos launched his plan for the industrialization of the Philippines. His “Eleven Major Industrial Projects” aimed at transforming the country from consumer goods production to basic heavy industry. It was in part modeled on the “Heavy-Chemical Industry Drive” launched by Park Chung-Hee in South Korea in the 1970s, which successfully transformed that country into the leading industrial power, a “first world” nation, that it is today.
The Marcos plan included:
• A copper smelter, a joint project with Japan’s Marubeni, to go into operation by 1983
• Phosphate fertilizer production, using the sulfuric acid waste from the copper smelter, with international support from the U.S., Japan, Germany, U.K., Belgium and Spain, also to go online in 1983
• An aluminum smelter, a 50/50 venture with U.S. Reynolds Metals, to open by 1984
• A diesel engine manufacturing plant, in joint ventures with Japan and Germany, scheduled for production by 1982
• Cement industry expansion, converting existing plants from imported oil to coal, to go online in 1984
• Coconut industry production of commercial alcohol for detergents, to open in 1982
• Pulp and paper industry expansion—the Philippines had the only newsprint plant in Southeast Asia at the time
• Petrochemical complex, to be built near the Bataan nuclear plant, with help from the U.S. and Taiwan, aiming for a 1983 production start
• Heavy engineering industries, with Germany, to produce the machine tools and parts for the large industrial plants in the plan
• Integrated steel mill, with Austria, to open in 1985
• Alcogas, a project to make alcohol to produce fuel with 20% alcohol, 80% gasoline for running motor vehicles.
Marcos described the intention of his “Philippine Development Plan” as fundamentally aimed at providing social justice to the poor. He wrote:
At the heart of these Plans is the concern for social justice. The preparation of these plans has been guided by one objective: No Filipino shall be without sustenance.
We have therefore set our Development Plans toward a direct and purposeful attack against poverty by focusing on the poorest of our society, planning to meet their basic nutritional needs; reducing if not entirely eliminating illiteracy; expanding employment opportunities; improving access to better social services; equalizing opportunities; sharing the fruits of development equitably; and introducing the requisite institutional changes. We will pursue economic development for social justice.
In this regard, he wrote in his 1980 book, An Ideology for Filipinos:
Indeed, we may say that the new name for social justice is development. For their ideals and objectives are—may well be in the final analysis—the real objectives of the Development Plans we have drafted. And, we are proud to say, these are perhaps the only plans for national development that have been prepared with the ends of social justice in mind. It is this fusion of social justice and economic development that I feel is our own significant contribution to the social justice tradition I have outlined.
While South Korea’s project succeeded, the geopolitical neoconservatives within the Reagan Administration and neoliberals in the Congress went to work to sabotage the Marcos industrialization project. George Shultz became Secretary of State in 1982 and immediately appointed Paul Wolfowitz as Assistant Secretary for Asia. Wolfowitz’s doctoral thesis argued that peaceful nuclear power should be denied to third-world countries, claiming they could not be trusted to not build nuclear weapons. Sabotaging the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was to be his test case for establishing a general ban on scientific progress in developing nations—a “technological apartheid” policy that would make the lords of the British Empire proud.
In 1980, Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker raised interest rates to 20 percent. The impact of this on nations such as the Philippines, who had taken on large debts to achieve industrialization, was devastating. Debt service nearly tripled, without having taken on new debt. Simultaneously, “safety requirements” for the nearly completed Bataan nuclear plant were suddenly massively increased, causing delays and huge cost overruns for the facility.
The subsequent economic downturn was blamed on Marcos, as was the 1983 murder of opposition figure Benigno Aquino, Jr. “Conditionalities” were imposed for refinancing the debt—debt that was mostly fictitious, unrelated to any borrowing. These included repeated devaluations of the peso and the scrapping of nearly all of the Eleven Major Industrial Projects. NGOs from the U.S. and Europe peddling “democracy” sprung up across the country, but mostly in Manila (even though Martial Law had been lifted in 1982). Marcos called an early election to appease the coup plotters and won the election easily. While much of the urban population swallowed the lies about Marcos, he was dearly loved by the vast majority of the poor and disenfranchised population outside of Manila whose livelihoods had increased enormously through his reforms and investments programs.
With Marcos winning the election, the coup plotters simply declared it to be fraudulent. Shultz then recruited Police General Fidel Ramos and the (well-named) Cardinal Sin to front for a coup. Shultz had to run the “regime-change” operation (known today as a “color revolution”—the color in this case was yellow) behind the back of President Ronald Reagan, who supported Marcos to the end. Shultz bragged in his autobiography, Turmoil and Triumph, about hood-winking the President in order to overthrow Marcos and move him out of the country.
The Nature of Man
The LaRouche movement was essentially the only international institution that exposed the criminal duplicity of the coup against Marcos, naming the names of the coup plotters in Washington and their assets within the Philippines. The western press filled page after page of reports calling Marcos a “vile dictator,” and labeling his wife Imelda as “spendthrift and corrupt”—all lies of the sort now so familiar from the “fake news” press.
Just as his dramatic leadership in bringing the Philippines out of economic bondage went unreported, so also was Marcos’ vision of the nature of man and the quality of his humanity suppressed. In his book, An Ideology for Filipinos, Marcos wrote:
The Western philosophical tradition locates man’s uniqueness in his rationality: it defines man as a rational animal. The idea of man does not necessarily lead to the philosophy of humanism, for the concept of rationality could be construed mechanistically: as a movement of thought that follows a set of inflexible principles. The Cartesian conception of reason is mechanistic in this sense. For it regards thinking as something that can be pursued only in one way: beginning with clear and distinct notions, the mind moves forward, step by step, following only the dictates of logic. What Cartesianism overlooks is that element of creativity so essential to the concept of human creativity, so essential to the concept of human rationality. The recognition of man’s creativity, or that impulse to create new forms and new modes of coping with the demands of reality, has tremendous implications—not only for a philosophy of man but also for social policy and thus for ideology.
In a sense, we can regard the history of civilization as the history of human creativity. The so-called scientific revolutions represent man’s disengagement from traditional modes of thinking. The development of social institutions reflects all too clearly man’s effort to respond to challenges—where these challenges carry with them their own uniqueness, rendering old ways inadequate for dealing with new realities.
The humanistic thrust of our ideology precisely takes into account the fact that apart from being rational, in the Cartesian sense of the term, man has a gift of creativity that expresses itself not only in his art but also in his science and social institutions. This creativity is what makes man truly human. In fact, it seems more appropriate to define man not as a rational animal, but as a creative being.
The Divine Spark of Creative Reason
That passage captures the profound impact of western Christian culture on the development of the Philippines—the concept of the divine spark of creative reason that distinguishes human beings from the beasts, defining the nature of man and woman as being in the living image of God through participation in the unfolding creation of the universe. It parallels the creative insight of Lyndon LaRouche’s work (with which Marcos was familiar) in distinguishing the anti-Christian ideology of Aristotelians—the likes of Descartes and the British empiricists—from the Platonists, whose teaching was consonant with the teachings of Christ and his disciples, and energized every great era of scientific and cultural discovery in the Western world.
In his prison writings in the 1990s, published under the title, The Science of Christian Economy, LaRouche wrote:
The possibility of a successful society depends upon two conditions. First, the society must generate scientific and technological progress; to do this, the society must have developed in its members the disposition and capacity for scientific progress. Second, the society must adopt policies which cause (the physical equivalent of) productive investment in scientific and technological progress to prevail over opposition to such policies.
Thus, with certain qualifications, we must speak now of “man the creator.” The mental-creative powers, which mankind demonstrates through the use of scientific revolutions, to increase qualitatively the potential population density of our species, is the generality referenced. This generality shows mankind to mirror the Creator. Thus, man is designed to become the “little creator,” the small mirror-image of the universal Creator. The former, the “little creator,” we call the “Minimum”; the universal, the Creator, we call the “Maximum.”
Not only is this creative power uniquely characteristic of mankind, among all the species; this creative power is located within the individual human personality, as a sovereign potential contained within that individual personality. Thus, it is the individual person who, by virtue of representing this sovereign power, is, individually, in the living image of the creator (imago viva Dei).
In the frequent case, that we may think that particular persons fail to express this living image of God in their conduct, those persons were born with the potential for creative reason, even though they may have abused or rejected that divine spark of potential within themselves. Thus, all individual human life is sacred.
Role of China and Confucianism
What, then, of the “image of man” of the Chinese leadership, in the post-Mao era? The launching of the “socialist market economy,” which began in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping—in parallel with the last years of the Marcos regime—witnessed the rejection of the “Legalist” and anti-Confucian ideology of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which had engulfed China in a little dark age for a decade ending in 1976.
Deng’s “reform and opening up” included a revival of Confucianism, reaching its height today with Xi Jinping’s New Silk Road, carrying the Confucian concept of “Universal Harmony” to the rest of the world through massive infrastructure development projects. It was this focus on infrastructure, science and technology, combined with universal education, both in science and in aesthetics, which made it possible for China to lift itself out of relative backwardness to become the economic giant it is today, including the incredible feat of lifting 700 million people out of abject poverty.
These concepts have been embedded in Chinese culture from the time of Confucius and Mencius, although, like all cultures, this humanist Confucian tradition had to do battle throughout history with contrary ideologies parallel to the western Aristotelian and animist tendencies. The Confucian focus on reason over sense perception, in parallel with Platonist-Christian thought, is captured in this passage from the Book of Mencius in which reason is considered a potential endowed by Heaven:
The ears and eyes are organs that do not think; their perception is veiled by things. . . . The mind is an organ that thinks. If you think, you’ll grasp, if you don’t, you won’t. This is a potential endowed in us by Heaven. Once a man chooses to stand by his greater parts, his lesser parts cannot seize him. Being a great man is no more than this. (Mencius, Book 6, Part 1, Chapter 15; translation by Robert Eno)
For one’s thinking to be truly creative, it must conform to a virtuous desire to grasp the laws of the universe. Mencius wrote:
Thus benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom are not infused into us from outside. We possess them inherently; it is simply that we do not focus our minds on them. This is the meaning of the saying, “Seek for it and you will find it; neglect it and you will lose it.” The reason why some men are twice as good as others—or five or countless times better—is simply that some men do not employ their endowment to the full.
The Book of Poetry says:
Heaven, in creating Mankind,
Created laws appropriate for all matters,
Such that people could grasp these laws,
And love virtue.
Confucius said: The writer of this poem certainly knew the Way of Heaven. (Mencius, Book 6, Part 1, Chapters 7-8, translation modified by the author from that of Robert Eno)
The Belt and Road Initiative
We see in the Belt and Road Initiative, launched by Xi Jinping in 2013, the realization of this Confucian concept, that when one individual “grasps” a newly discovered law of the universe, this knowledge becomes immediately universal, accessible to mankind as a whole, and applicable to the advancement and harmony of all people and all nations. The transformation of China in only forty years, from an impoverished nation, suffering from periodic famines, horrific political upheavals, and international isolation, to a leading industrial and scientific power, is an historic event. The BRI is actively taking this transformation process to the rest of the world, and to the so-called “developing nations” in particular.
The LaRouche movement, both in America and in the Philippines and worldwide, has called on President Trump to have the United States join the BRI. Such an action would also be a major step toward the fulfillment of LaRouche’s strategic proposal for bringing together the “Four Powers” of the U.S., Russia, China and India as the minimum necessary force required to establish a New Bretton Woods world financial system, dedicated to the original intentions of Franklin Roosevelt at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference.
Roosevelt’s earlier adoption of a Hamiltonian “directed credit” policy had transformed America through vast infrastructure development—roads, railroads, water and sewage systems, hydroelectric dams, electrification, schools and hospitals, and more. Following Roosevelt’s death in 1945, his original anti-colonial intention of 1944 was never fully realized, and with the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963 and the launching of the Indochina war, together with the reversal of Roosevelt’s New Deal financial policies, the United States began a downward spiral, with the systemic intrusion of British “free market” ideology and libertarian social decay.
Today it is China that has used the “American System” method to carry out the transformation of the nation—centralized, directed credit focused on infrastructure, industrialization, mechanized agriculture, and the improvement of the people’s livelihood through health and education programs. They are now looking to carry out the promise Roosevelt gave to the former colonial nations as the war was ending. As FDR told Winston Churchill to his face, FDR intended to use American System methods to transform those nations that had been subjected to forced backwardness by the European colonial powers.
China is taking up that Roosevelt promise. For the first time in history, the former colonized nations are being shown the path to real development, modern infrastructure, industrialization, and the eventual elimination of poverty.
The Potential of the Philippines
The Philippines, geographically, is the gateway to Asia for the United States and all the nations of the Americas. Due to the Panama Canal, this is also true for shipping from Europe. Imelda Marcos had proposed that an underground canal be constructed from Manila to the eastern shore of the island of Luzon, to facilitate an even more direct route from the Americas to China and the nations of Southeast Asia. Others have proposed a Quezon Canal across the narrowest part of southern Luzon, just 17 km wide, as another means of expediting shipping from the Americas to Manila and on to mainland Asia. This was yet another project on the Marcos agenda that was crushed by the 1986 Color Revolution.
With the presidencies of Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump, there is no reason that the United States and China could not cooperate in realizing the vision put forward by Duterte, to rebuild the Marcos development legacy and go beyond as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Duterte calls his program, “Build, Build, Build,” to invest in the next decade over $180 billion on infrastructure projects to enhance the productivity of the nation in both agriculture and industry. It includes 75 flagship projects, including six airports, nine railways, 32 roads and bridges, and four seaports. There are also 10 major water projects, five flood control facilities, and multiple irrigation systems.
His program includes four energy plants but does not include restoration of the Bataan nuclear plant—at least not yet. The government has held discussions with Russia to both restore the Bataan plant and to provide small modular nuclear reactors or floating reactors, which would be perfect for a nation of over 7,000 islands. Since the Bataan plant was fully paid for, it could be rebuilt very cheaply, and at the same time provide collateral for government debt to build or purchase other reactors. Philippine LaRouche Society Chairman Butch Valdes has spearheaded a campaign to “go nuclear,” and a call to re-nationalize the energy sector to deal with the severe crisis in energy costs—one of the highest in all of Asia—created by the sabotage of the nuclear program and the reckless breaking up and privatization of the energy production and distribution system.
Duterte’s plan includes a combination of government funding and investments from other countries, at this point primarily China and Japan. The Philippines ranks only 97th in the world in terms of infrastructure, which has been a major concern holding back foreign investment. This, again, points to the neo-colonial policies of the U.S. and Europe in refusing to invest in infrastructure, claiming they were leaving it to the private sector.
Another problem in attracting foreign investment is the lack of skilled labor. The Philippines has a relatively well-educated population. English is taught as the primary language in the school system. But tens of thousands of bright young minds have been put to work, by primarily American multi-national companies, in dead-end call centers, contributing nothing to the development of their nation. Up to this point, even graduates with engineering degrees have been forced to choose between working in these call centers, wasting their education, or going overseas among the millions of overseas contract workers so that they could at least use their skills, but often at the expense of breaking up their families. The nation has depended heavily on remittances from the millions of overseas workers to meet its debt obligations.
To succeed in his development drive, to make this the “Golden Age of Infrastructure,” as Duterte has called it, the government must find a way to correct this lack of skilled labor. President Duterte addressed this crisis directly in a speech in February: “Build, Build, Build is a bit delayed due to a lack of workers. There’s a lot to do here in the Philippines, but construction halts due to a lack of workers—like master electrician, master carpenter, master plumber. Many skilled workers are no longer here in the Philippines but have gone to the Middle East [as contracted overseas workers].”
Enter the Belt and Road
Japan, unlike the United States, has never given up on government-supported investments in building infrastructure abroad. Japan is now building a desperately needed urban transit system in the heavily congested capital city of Manila. Now, with the addition of China as a major investor, through Duterte having brought his country into the Belt and Road Initiative, the potential for a rapid and dramatic transformation of the country has been created.
After a series of meetings between President Duterte and several of his cabinet secretaries with President Xi Jinping and Chinese ministers, beginning soon after his 2016 election, China has fully engaged in the “Build, Build, Build” program. A Six-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation was signed with China in March 2017. In November 2018, President Xi visited the Philippines and signed 29 cooperative agreements, and lifted ties to the level of “Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation.” As reported in the Schiller Institute’s 2018 Special Report, The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge, Vol. 2:
In September 2017, a delegation under Duterte’s Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez visited Beijing, where it arranged a set of infrastructure projects in two phases. The first phase includes two major bridges in Manila. . . . Other priorities are a major dam and water control project to supply water to Manila; a Chico River irrigation system in the north of Luzon; an elevated expressway in Davao City (Duterte’s home town) in Mindanao; an industrial park; two drug rehab centers; bridges connecting islands in the Visayas; an agricultural technical center; the reconstruction of Marawi, the city in Mindanao that was seized by ISIS-linked terrorists in May 2017.
Many of the proposed projects have been on the books for decades, with promises from the World Bank and others that never materialized. These new projects will likely be funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China’s Exim Bank, or China’s Silk Road Fund, perhaps with support from the Asian Development Bank. . . . Chinese private sector companies are opening up new investments in the country, in infrastructure projects and in manufacturing, including aviation, energy, iron and steel, and shipbuilding. China’s Huili Investment Fund Management Company is planning a $2 billion world-class integrated steel mill, while Liaoning Bora is launching a joint venture in oil refineries and an oil storage terminal, worth $3 billion. The Duterte government is open to renewing joint oil and gas exploration with China in the South China Sea, now that both sides have returned to the earlier policy of Deng Xiaoping—that sovereignty issues should be put aside while the two nations cooperate in joint development.
The Visible Hand
Two major rail projects are now underway: a high-speed rail connection between Manila and the former Clark Air Base, 58 miles north of Manila; and a rail line south from Manila to Quezon Province. A new international airport is to be constructed at Clark, relieving the overcrowding at the current Manila airports.
Other grand projects are in the pipeline. Two Chinese companies have contracted with the province of Cagayan in northern Luzon to build a research center and factory to build medium and high-speed maglev trains. A major ring-road rail line in Mindanao is being developed in sections.
Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin visited China in March of this year, where he issued a statement that captures the optimism for the future that is being inspired by the spirit of the New Silk Road in the Philippines:
I speak for my country, which wants to see much to hope for, and nothing to fear, from the rise of a new power. . . . Without the new China there will be no prospect whatsoever for the developing world to grow into emerging economies. We would still be as we were throughout the second half of the last century. We were at the mercy of Western markets which on a whim can turn us away as they did throughout the post- and neo-colonial period. There is no propulsion as strong as people power, but it demands the direction of a single hand. That hand is absent in Western democracy. That direction the Communist Party has supplied. No other institution anywhere in the world could do it.
The Role of the United States
There is no political, economic, or strategic reason that the United States should not, or could not, join fully in the global transformation that is taking place under the auspices of the Chinese-initiated Belt and Road Initiative. It is only ideological capitulation to the Anglo-Dutch liberal system that holds America back, sacrificing the American System on the Altar of Empire, against which we fought a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, and the Second World War, under the genius of true American thinkers: Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt. The genius of Lyndon LaRouche was to locate that profound conflict between the American System and Anglo-Dutch liberal system as a conflict between human creativity and human subjugation—between creative freedom in the discovery of new truths about man and nature, as opposed to the submission of the Rights of Man to an oligarchical elite.
The same British-allied networks within the United States that carried out the coup against President Marcos, behind the back of President Reagan, and oversaw the destruction of the Philippine economy, are now fomenting the hysterical campaign against China and Russia, determined to prevent President Trump from realizing his oft-stated belief that having friendly relations with Russia and China is “a good thing, not a bad thing.”
There are over 3.5 million people of Philippine descent living in the United States. There are many Americans—including some in government, academia and the think tanks—who have good will towards the Philippine nation and its people. There is no justification for the American business community to be restrained from participation in the booming development process being unleashed in the Philippines, and worldwide, through the Belt and Road Initiative. Breaking the deadlock preventing U.S. participation in this process is both necessary and urgent if the world is to have a future of peace and development, rather than a descent into war and depression. Let Operation Marcos break that deadlock.
From An Ideology for Filipinos, by Ferdinand Marcos
Titles for the excerpts have been added.
The Nature of Scientific Discovery
As soon as new experiences emerge which a scientific theory cannot account for, we begin to doubt the theory’s adequacy. If scientific theories are taken to be tentative, it is only because the scientists realize their limitations; or better still, scientists know only too well that nature may unfold in a manner they have not anticipated. If we insist that science should consist of no less than permanent truths, then it will cease to be useful to us in dealing with nature. For science then would be blind to those features of reality that tend to throw doubt on the presumed truths.
The egalitarian ideal has a related presupposition about the nature of man. It assumes that each human being (disallowing individuals with natural or congenital disabilities) has the same potential as another to develop himself, and thus to achieve the full measure of his humanity. What prevents a man from achieving his full potential is precisely an institutional arrangement that denies him, but not others, those opportunities that would enable him to realize himself.
Human Rights: Economic and Political
A question that relates to this is whether in fact our people are as much concerned with political rights as those who have made it their business to profess them. Is it possible that the question of political rights looms large only in the minds of a small sector of the national community—those who use the issue of political rights for purposes of gaining political power—but for the masses of Filipinos themselves, the primordial concern is the economic right to survive with dignity?
Martial Law and Democracy
The opposition to martial law came from the Filipino oligarchy, which sensed belatedly that behind the martial law government’s effort to quell a rebellion was the resolve to reorganize the whole national society so that wealth and opportunities could be more equitably distributed. Allied with the oligarchy was the intellectual elite, itself oriented to power, who saw in martial law the diminution of its sphere of influence. The Americans themselves worried a great deal about martial law, for to them it represented a break from the democratic tradition. But what has not been properly emphasized is that the so-called democratic ideals are not exhausted in the political process; that in addition to those political rights, which the democratic tradition is known to uphold, economic rights deserve as much, if not more, attention by the government.
An essential presupposition here is government’s awakening to the awareness that much of its power has been taken over by a small, but powerful, segment of society. Responding to the moral imperative that its only justification for existence is to serve the interests of all, such an awakened government may take the initiative to free itself from the grip of the oligarchy and to secure its autonomy. Again, this is not just another theoretical possibility for Filipinos. It is at the heart of our own democratic revolution.
On the Public and Private Sectors
We shall continue to adhere to a free enterprise economy, where the private sector shall remain our principle engine for economic growth and prosperity. We assert that only through the creative imagination of private initiative can the full flowering of economic development be achieved. Government will interfere only in those areas of economic activity where great risks are involved or private resources are inadequate to meet the demands for greater productivity.
We seek understanding and friendship with all nations irrespective of race, color, or ideology. We shall refuse to be pawns in the quarrels of the strong. We shall never allow intervention in the solution of our internal problems.
On the American Colonization
The coming of the Americans is often represented as the beginning of our political democratization; but this is more fancy than fact. The Americans first set up a military government that had to worry initially about the Filipino armed resistance. This armed resistance carried over the Filipino revolution against Spanish rule. Like their colonial predecessor, the Americans found it convenient to ally themselves with the prevailing power structure—the Filipino oligarchy. In an important sense, therefore, the Americans legitimized the power of this oligarchy.
The type of “representative democracy” introduced into the Philippines by the United States found itself in a most inhospitable environment . . . [America’s] people were skilled migrants from Europe. And the “representative democracy” that found formal expression in the American Constitution came from hundreds of years of practice. In tragic contrast, Philippine society was still imbued with tribalism and regionalism. . . . As an effective medium of our people’s aspirations, in fact, “representative democracy” was dying well before the crisis of 1972 [the year martial law was imposed—ed.]. It simply could not survive—given a rapacious oligarchy and an electorate, enfeebled by poverty, open to corruption.
Democracy is the formulation of a national consensus on basic, guiding principles, born of free and responsible discussion. Let us note this phrase well: discussion, not only free, because mere freedom can lead to chaos, but responsible as well.
Being a Citizen of the World
Basic knowledge must be supplemented by the motivation to see and understand the world, to develop one’s faculties of observation and judgement, to cultivate the critical spirit, and to cultivate a sense of responsibility for others. We must, therefore, emphasize cooperative effort over competition and collective over individual goals.