Reagan Administration's loyalty to what they consider
America's old "loyal" friend, Ferdinand Marcos, is in
itself admirable. However, our unilateral offer of
political asylum to him is a grave mistake.
American hostages were taken in Iran because we
had granted the Shah, our old "loyal" friend, political
asylum and we refused to extradite him, admittedly back to a
kangaroo court. The lesson we should have learned -- and
apparently we have not -- is that we should not unilaterally
offer political asylum to a former dictator unless we wish to
alienate ourselves from the new government.
Although this may seem like a diplomatic fine
point, it is precisely why the Iranians now see us as the Great
Satan -- accessories not only before but also after the fact in
the Shah's torturous oppression -- whereas the Haitians now
see us as saviors: We were continually working with the new
government to make the deal in which it came into power and "Baby Doc" was flown out, by us
-- we were rightfully
viewed as liberators, not co-conspirators.
In the Philippines, the Reagan
Administration's tardiness in condemning the corrupt Marcos
regime has complicated the volatile situation, at least in the
eyes of the new, legitimate Filipino powers-that-be; but we can
still steer our way through the difficult diplomatic straits.
In order to formally acknowledge the legitimacy
of the new government and to secure our own military bases there
as well as to work for a peaceful resolution of the current
crisis, we should not unilaterally offer Marcos political
asylum: Instead, we should firmly but diplomatically ask
the new government if they would agree in writing, in the
influential international media, to respect our asylum, by not
later asking for the extradition of Mr. Marcos, for the
prosecution that President Aquino promised the Filipino voters
during her election campaign. In return, Marcos would be more
apt to abdicate, defusing the bloody, growing civil war, which
is our stated goal in our now, unilaterally offering asylum to
To avoid a near-future confrontation with the
new government, over an extradition of Marcos, we must
get their agreement up front -- after all, the disposition of
the cases against Marcos is an internal Filipino matter.
We have "kissed up" to a dictator for decades to maintain
our very strategic bases in the Philippines -- it would be no
disgrace to now cooperate with the democratic government, in
whose hands the fate of our bases now does rest.
Even though, apparently for our own selfish,
strategic interests, we have helped prop-up the dictator
Marcos...for decades, the overwhelming majority of Filipino
people still consider us Americans as friends -- they, not
Marcos, are our truly loyal friends!