In 1975, the Provisional Military Administrative Council established a one-party Communist state in Africa which became known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
A. Philippine Diplomatic Response to Communism in Africa under the Marcos Administration
President Marcos was aware of the possible domino effect of communism in Africa and in the Asia Pacific region. He stressed:
It is unfortunate that crisis after crisis, conflict after conflict seemed to be a commonplace in Africa. What is more deplorable, however, are the possibility of Balkanization of the continent into 20th century sphere of influence and the growth of different brands of neo-colonialism in Africa.
Marcos was well acquainted of the threat of communism in Africa when he said:
In addition to the realignment of forces in the world order, and a decolonization process triggered by the post-World War II years that saw the emergence of a score of new nation-states in Asia and Africa, imperial forces are withdrawing from these two continents. Today there are many roads to communism, and nationalism is just as strong as a national force in the life and policies of communist countries of the world.
With the hard realities of international politics in mind, Marcos crafted a diplomatic policy that was flexible, pragmatic and development-oriented. He pointed out:
It is a policy that seeks to expand Philippine relations with other countries on the bases of national interest and of mutual respect and understanding, while at the same time avoiding dependence on any one country.
The surge of communism in African countries would influence President Marcos to seek diplomatic relations with communist countries with the goal of preserving the national interest of the Philippines.
III. The United Nation’s Recognition of the People’s Republic of China
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took control of the mainland on October 1, 1949 and founded the People’s Republic of China. It was a people’s democratic dictatorship by the working class based on the alliance between workers and peasants. The communist revolution in China was part of a peasant-based movement against the vested power of the cities. In 1939, Mao Zedong said:
Since China’s key cities have long been occupied by the powerful imperialists and their reactionary Chinese allies, it is imperative for the revolutionary ranks to turn the backward villages into advance consolidated base area . . . bastions of the revolution from which to fight their vicious enemies
On December 8, 1949, the nationalists Kuomintang (KMT) led by Chiang Kai Shek fled from Chungking to Taiwan. After the exile of Chiang Kai Shek, the communist conquest of mainland China became complete, and after 28 years (1921-1949) of struggle, Mao rose to power.
The feud continued between the nationalists in Taiwan and the communists in the mainland. The new government in the mainland assumed control over a people exhausted by two generations of war, social conflict, and an economy ravaged by high inflation. After so many years of the separation of Taiwan from the mainland, the former has not recognized the legitimacy of the government of the People’s Republic of China as the representative of the whole Chinese people. This has been the origin of the Taiwan issue.
The unification of China has been the aspiration of the communist Chinese. The People’s Republic of China has worked persistently for reunification for the last 50 years. From 1979, the PRC has worked perseveringly towards that in the form of “one country, two systems.”
On the foundation day of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong declared:
This government is the sole legal government representing the entire people of the People’s Republic of China. It is ready to established diplomatic relations with all foreign governments that are willing to abide by the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for each other.
With this, PRC claims its legitimacy as the sole governing entity of the whole Chinese people. The PRC informed the UN that the KMT was an illegitimate government. Various countries supported the one China policy. In October of 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted at its 26th session Resolution 2858 which expelled the representatives of the Taiwan authorities and restored all the seats and all lawful rights of the government to the PRC in the United Nations.
The Philippines concurrence on the issue of depriving the Republic of China (Taiwan) representation in the United Nations was a tactical move on the part of President Marcos to conduct diplomatic relations with the more than 850 million Chinese in the mainland for pragmatic purposes. The Philippines wanted to consider the People’s Republic of China as the paramount representation of all Chinese people without turning its back on the Republic of China. To the mind of Marcos:
In dealing with other nations, we operate on the principle that the world is no longer dichotomous . . . today is the era of multiple alignments. We are required therefore to make concurrent efforts to ease the way towards the establishment of relations with the People’s Republic of China. With that great power, we will undoubtedly have official and unofficial contacts with its representatives in the UN. In recognition of the rights of its more than 900 million people to be represented in the world organization, we supported their admission in the United Nations.
Major nations of the world like the United States and Japan established cordial relations with mainland China. Up to now, 161 countries have established diplomatic relations with the PRC, including the Philippines.
IV. Worldwide Oil Crisis Brought About by the Arab-Israeli Wars and the Iran-Iraq War
On May 14, 1948, the existence of the State of Israel was unilaterally declared by the Zionist leadership. At the time, the Jewish community only legally purchased approximately 6.8% of the land of Palestine, and three-quarters of a million Arabs were ethnically cleansed in order to create the demographically “Jewish state.” The first phase of the war started on November 30, 1947, the day after U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181, which recommended that Palestine be partitioned into two states, was passed. The second phase began at the end of the British Mandate, when the neighboring Arab states responded to the declaration of Israel’s existence by taking up arms. It ended on July 20, 1949 with the signing of the last of the armistice agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Again in 1956, 1967, and 1973, hostilities broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbors, resulting in heavy damage to property and loss of innumerable lives.
From October 29 to November 5, 1956, Egypt, Syria and Jordan formed a united front against Israel, which had conspired with the United Kingdom and France to wage war against Egypt after it nationalized the Suez Canal. The Soviet Union demanded that hostilities end to further prevent another global conflict. The alliance of Egypt, Syria and Jordan likewise succumbed to massive damage and loss of lives.
The famous “Six-Day War” started on June 5, 1967, and ended on the 10th. Egypt closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli maritime ships. Israel’s reply to Nasser’s challenge was the air attack on Egypt’s airfields on the morning of June 5, 1967, starting the Arab-Israeli War.
The fourth Arab-Israeli War began on October 6, 1973, when Egyptian and Syrian forces attacked Israeli forces in the occupied Sinai and Golan Heights. It being the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, the Israeli military were caught by surprise, causing them to mobilize their forces only after three days. Many Israelis regard the three-week 1973 war as more consequential than the war of 1967. The tank battles fought between Israel and Egypt were the largest since World War II and the losses on both sides were massive. Almost 15,000 Egyptians and Syrians and more than 2,600 Israelis were killed in battle. A ceasefire was called on October 25, 1973 after Soviet and American intervention to prevent further escalation of a regional conflict.