Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Philippines And Filipinos Of Literature 2

This sounds shallow, but I almost always get a minor, fleeting thrill when, reading a book that's not about the Philippines or Filipinos, I see those mentioned. (No, I'm not that thin-skinned about unflattering portrayals like some Pinoys out there.)

I've already noted a couple of those instances before. This time it's Tom Clancy's The Bear and the Dragon from his Jack Ryan series.

In Chapter 37 we see US President Ryan, White House Chief of Staff Arnold Van Damm, Secretary of the Treasury George Winston, and Winston's assistant Mark Gant (Secret Service code name: "TELESCOPE") discussing the current currency accounts of the novel's People's Republic of China:
[Image grabbed from here.]
"So, China is essentially out of cash. And they have real short-term cash needs. Like oil," TELESCOPE went on. "China's a net importer of oil. Production in their domestic fields falls well short, even though their needs are not really that great. Not too many Chinese citizens own cars. They have enough cash for three months' worth of oil, and then they come up short. The international oil market demands prompt payment. They can skate for a month, maybe six weeks, but after that, the tankers will turn around in mid-ocean and go somewhere else—they can do that, you know—and then the PRC runs out. It'll be like running into a wall, sir. Smack. No more oil, and then their country starts coming to a stop, including their military, which is their largest oil consumer. They've been running unusually high for some years because of increased activity in their maneuvers and training and stuff. They probably have strategic reserves, but we don't know exactly how much. And that can run out, too. We've been expecting them to make a move on the Spratly Islands. There's oil there, and they've been making noises about it off and on for about ten years, but the Philippines and other countries in the area have made claims, too, and they probably expect us to side with the Philippines for historical reasons. Not to mention, Seventh Fleet is still the biggest kid on the block in that part of the world."

"Yeah." Ryan nodded. "If it came to a showdown, the Philippines appear to have the best claim on the islands, and we would back them up. We've shed blood together in the past, and that counts. Go on."
In real life, however, the US position may not be that clear-cut.

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