IT MIGHT be Chinese checkers but, let’s face it, we are not a player. A danger, I think, is that President Aquino -- or any of the policy advisers he may listen to -- imagines that the Philippines is actually facing China in the game being played in what China calls the South China Sea (but what we call the West Philippine Sea). If the video game-playing Aquino sees himself as the brave gunslinger riding into town to bring down a gang of outlaws, he might make critical misjudgments that could be detrimental to this country’s long-term interests. The reality is, the actual players in this geopolitical game are China and the US, and the Philippines is only a piece on the checkerboard.
That realization brings certain insights. One is that the players’ moves are governed by their respective endgames, not ours. Another is that, as a mere piece, our eventual fate is incidental to the real players and we can well be sacrificed to further a particular player’s strategic goals.