Sunday, March 21, 2010


The invasion of tiny Panama by the world's mightiest nation, the United States, was seen by many in the Philippines as a brutal use of raw power to cow a helpless country into submitting.

Many saw striking similarities in that US intervention in Panama and the US role in the rise and fall of President Ferdinand Marcos and the ascendancy of President Corazon Aquino who, at one point was saved from certain doom only because of US intervention. Remember those Phantom jets?

Echoing the resentment among Latin American nations and other Third World countries, many Filipino nationalists dared the US to pick on somebody its size, like Russia or China.

Since it suffered military defeat in Vietnam, the US has carefully selected its opponents, making sure the odds were vastly in her favor in any diplomatic or military confrontation. And its first post-Vietnam military engagement was with puny Grenada which doesn't even have an army.

Panama became a state at the turn of the century, when, with US diplomatic and military support, seceded from Colombia. The new state allowed the US to build the Panama Canal on terms more generous than what Colombia was willing to offer. The Panamanian government has had a history of manipulation by the US, which had a vested interest in the US Canal Zone, then scheduled to revert to Panama come 1999. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Then US President Bush Sr. justified his sending US jets to bomb Panamanian military and civilian targets exactly by saying this was necessary to save democracy - as he did when he authorized US military support to keep the inutile Aquino government from falling.

The US intervention in Panama was condemned worldwide, except in countries under the control and influence of the US.

They should have sent Bush back to the bushes, among the other barbarians.

US intervention in that country's affairs were jestingly justified by then US Senator Hayakawa who declared, "Panama is ours. We stole it fair and square."

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