And the Band Played On
The Philippines is arming up with non-U.S. weapons:
China's increased assertiveness over territorial claims to the South China Sea is leading the Philippines to embark on the biggest military procurement program it has ever undertaken ... Both houses of the Philippine congress have approved the budget and acquisition process for the acquisition of 12 jet trainer/surface-attack aircraft; six close-air support aircraft; two long-range maritime patrol aircraft; two light-lift and three medium-lift fixed-wing military transports; three ground-based radars; and 10 attack helicopters. All will be assigned to the Philippine air force.
What's interesting is what they are buying.
The Korea Aerospace Industries T-50 is the front-runner to meet the requirement for the jet trainer/surface attack aircraft ... In terms of maritime patrol, Philippine air force officials say the Indonesian Aerospace CN235 is a strong contender ... Indonesian Aerospace is the most likely candidate to meet the light, fixed-wing military transport aircraft requirement with its C212.
A few Filipino naval and air force officers have privately expressed their frustration to my sources at the American unwillingness to arm them with "real" weapons. So they are buying them where they can.
Japan is looking for more assurance on where America stands vis a vis China:
Japan’s defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto, said on Friday that he wanted to revise his nation’s security alliance with the United States to place more emphasis on the threat from China to islands at the center of a territorial dispute.
Two years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the islands fell under the security alliance, requiring the American military to come to Japan’s aid during a possible clash there. The United States currently bases around 50,000 military personnel in Japan, with more than half of them on Okinawa, near the disputed islands.
However, some in Japan have questioned whether the United States would actually risk a war with China over what are essentially barren rocks surrounded by shark-infested waters. Japanese leaders have said that they want Washington to go a step further and openly support their claims to the islands.
Tokyo is politely saying that the administration's credit is no longer good. They want to see cash. Apparently only the Republican Party is prepared to blindly follow the administration. As for the Chinese, they have apparently not received their Obamaphones and are unwilling to dance the high tunes. Why would they value such phones? They make them, after all.
Meanwhile the Ukraine, according to the Washington Post, "is sliding away from Democracy". The elections there have finally become completely rigged. The Post writes disapprovingly of democracy in that country without a single note of irony:
The campaign was outwardly competitive, with a wide range of parties and candidates. But “harassment, intimidation and misuse of administrative resources” were used to prevent many candidates and parties from getting their message to voters. State-owned newspapers attacked the opposition; public workers such as teachers and nurses were required to attend rallies; events for the opposition were blocked and obstructed; state television “displayed a clear bias in favor of the ruling party.” Fortunately, there are other media channels and unrestricted Internet access in Ukraine, but their reach is limited.
Maybe the Ukrainians should engage in outreach to Hispanics, gays, and lesbians. Yes, that would improve their chances.