Monday, February 11, 2008

Realist Politics

Dear Teacher,

First let me say I think you are an exceedingly good-looking chap and you certainly have some very admirable qualities. But for someone who professes to be a "realist" in politics, you seem to know very little about how the world really works.

I am sorry your lecture today has made me exceedingly depressed. All this talk of "national interest" inevitably makes me think of my own country. I am deeply sorry that it simply doesn't apply. Since my state can willy-nilly make me disappear and my state regularly robs me, I simply cannot associate my interests as a national with my state. While my state gives me the "privilege" of having a nationality - it does not necessarily follow that it is the guarantor of security. If anything, it is a major purveyor of insecurity.

But then it is my country's problem - and not the international system's...that is, until my state fails and poses an international security problem in the scale of Afghanistan's for example. After which it becomes your country's problem too. But anyhow, our case is different from Afghanistan, still quite a ways away from most of Africa's as well. But since we all agree we are lagging behind every single one of our neighbours aside from Myanmar, then falling down the hierarchy of the state system, i.e. becoming part of the fourth world, is not an impossibility.

Last year my President has set a record of sorts as the head of state who has visited China the most (in 2007 that is). Theoretically she is acting on behalf of 84 million Filipinos as Chief foreign policymaker and diplomat. Now it looks like she was brokering a deal between herself (and her cohorts) with a Chinese telecoms company. It is obviously not the Chinese' fault to turn a blind eye to my "state" padding the cost of laying down a national broadband network, and then making the Filipino public pay in the coming decades. Perhaps the idea of corporate social responsibility has not yet entered this nascent capitalist country's vocabulary. At this point the Chinese are only interested in one thing - getting rich, if ingloriously.

Your Student from (still) the Third World

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