Obama Disses the Philippines

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Before I explain the title, I have just read that former Philippine President Corazon Aquino has died of cancer.  May the woman who brought democracy back to the Philippines rest in peace at last.  I remember well the non-violent revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, and how the Aquino presidency (1986-92) gave the country a chance to start over again.  Also, Leive was in Manila, waiting for her passport & visa, when the revolution took place, because we had gotten married three months earlier.  Click on the next link to read more of what I wrote about the “People Power” revolution.

The Philippines:  People Power

And here is Cory’s obituary:

Philippine Ex-Leader Aquino Dies

And now on to the topic.  Our current president definitely has a problem remembering the facts, when it comes to geography and history.  I gave some examples in previous messages, like when he claimed to have visited “57 states” and when he thought “Austrian” was a language.  I also could have mentioned others; the one where he mentioned that America is one of the largest Moslem countries was a doozy.  So was the case where he claimed that, “And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States.”  Well, aside from the time when our navy fought the Barbary Pirates, I can’t think of any role Islam played in American history, before the founding of the Black Muslim movement.

As a historian, I probably should have kept track of such gaffes.  I didn’t for two reasons:  (1) others are doing it already, and (2) picking on Joe Biden is more fun, because when it comes to putting one’s foot in his mouth, the vice president is the gift that keeps on giving!

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Anyway, now Obama has made a gaffe I cannot ignore, because it involves my wife’s homeland.  On Thursday his beer party with a police sergeant and a Harvard professor made the headlines, but it wasn’t the only meeting he had.  Earlier on the same day he met with the president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Apparently Obama is continuing his foreign policy, where he treats friends of the US like enemies, and enemies of the US like friends.  Here is what another blogger said about the meeting.  Quote:

Another day, another gaffe. A few minutes ago in a joint appearance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, Obama stepped in it again.David Jackson of USA Today provides the details in his White House pool report:
Obama praised Arroyo for her efforts to fight terrorism, and her help in dealing with the problems of Burma and North Korea. He noted the Philippines is hosting a conference next year on nuclear non-proliferation. “We’re going to have a busy agenda together,” Obama said.
He said the Philippines is a small country, but, to use a boxing metaphor, it “punches above its weight in the international arena.”
Ahem. The Philippines is the 12th largest country in the world. It is larger in population than France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Canada & the UK. It also covers a vast area of the western Pacific including more than 7,000 islands.
Could someone tell me why Obama is now insulting the Philippines? Oh that’s right — they’re an ally.
Nevertheless, I doubt that the proud Pinoy community enjoys the condescension.

Another day, another gaffe. A few minutes ago in a joint appearance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines, Obama stepped in it again. David Jackson of USA Today provides the details in his White House pool report:

Obama praised Arroyo for her efforts to fight terrorism, and her help in dealing with the problems of Burma and North Korea. He noted the Philippines is hosting a conference next year on nuclear non-proliferation. “We’re going to have a busy agenda together,” Obama said.

He said the Philippines is a small country, but, to use a boxing metaphor, it “punches above its weight in the international arena.”

Ahem. The Philippines is the 12th largest country in the world. It is larger in population than France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Canada & the UK. It also covers a vast area of the western Pacific including more than 7,000 islands.

Could someone tell me why Obama is now insulting the Philippines? Oh that’s right — they’re an ally.

Nevertheless, I doubt that the proud Pinoy community enjoys the condescension.

Source:  http://exurbanleague.com/2009/07/30/obama-insults-the-philippines.aspx

Unquote:  I heard elsewhere that if current demographic trends continue, the Philippines will have more people than Japan or Russia by 2025.  Small country indeed!

Well, it could have been worse.  If Mr. Obama knew that we fought a dirty Vietnam-like war in the Philippines at the beginning of the twentieth century, or that those islands were under American rule for almost fifty years, he’d be apologizing for his nation’s history again.

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4 responses to “Obama Disses the Philippines

  1. Hi, my wife is also from the Philippines and I’m not a big fan of Obama.. In fact I’m not a fan at all. But I don’t think this is really an insult to the Philippines, just a poor choice of words.

    It would, in some ways, be right to call the Philippines a “small country.”

    1. Geographically it is small ( 71st, right below Italy )
    2. Economically it is small ( 47th, right behind Chile )

    Even population wise, ranking 12th is somewhat hard to say whether that’s “small” or not. It depends on the scale. What are the big discount department stores? Walmart… Target.. what’s the 12th? “The Andersons”… is that a small discount dept. store company? I’d call it small. If you’re not from Ohio, you probably never heard of it.

    When you combine these three factors, it doesn’t seem like that big of an error to call Philippines small.

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « The Xenohistorian Weblog

  3. I respect the writers opinion but what Obama said was right, we are punching beyond our weight class, and we could take that as a compliment. Now i believe it was in a Economic side of context and not meant to diss or belittle Philippines. Yes, we are a developing country but have you noticed that we are far behind our Asian neighbors? Economy, Education, discipline and MILITARY wise? YES we are indeed small! not literally. Singapore is so small but it outranks us in terms of economic growth. It saddens me that your reaction to a good ally’s remarks was as if we are in their ranks. Think again, its better to accept the facts and reality than to dwell in a unrealistic belief that we are better than we really are.

    tayo na nga nasa ilalim tayo may ganang umangal.

    And about your rhetoric that Philippines is the 12th largest country blah blah blah, you clearly took it out of context. We maybe very well populated but have you asked your self how many are really living in a good living standard? how many are educated? wake up.

    sorry but you are one of example why Philippine is below shit dirt.

    and YES i am a FILIPINO.

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