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04/07/2019: TOAST REMARKS OF THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR. ON THE OCCASION OF THE 243rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

TOAST REMARKS OF THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR.
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 243rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

MAKATI SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, 03 JULY 2019

 

Your Excellency Ambassador Sung Kim,

Your Excellency Gabrielle Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,

Senate President Vicente Sotto III,

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin,

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea,

Cabinet Members present,

Officers of the Armed Forces present,

Excellencies,

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps of the Philippines,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Better than sentiment and sentimentality is reason and logic. A country’s natural ally is always the one that is too far to get into one’s hair, yet with a reach long enough to deliver a strong punch at a common enemy. Two countries fit that bill; one far more than the other and that is the United States.

 

She is the greatest power in history; and is said to possess a marked edge over the combined military power of all other statesmeasured in centuries. Her wealth is unprecedented and, more importantly, it is real and tangible and not the result of magical computation.

 

Fortunately, this power is committed, by the spirit of her Constitution and the anniversary we celebrate today, to freedomand independence for herself and for the rest of the world. A rules-based and liberal world political and economic order—which undoubtedly needs improvement in terms of fairness and equitableness—but which cannot be replaced by anything that contradicts its indispensable democratic spirit. Without that spirit, it wouldn’t be another world order but global tyranny. There is no order without freedom; there is no liberty without right; no right without justice; and none of that without might.

 

That’s just the way it is. The closest analogy is Rome but without the tyranny; and instead of Latin, what passes for English around the world except to the British.

 

It is this commitment that allows her allies the freedom to maneuver with other nations; to make close friends of an untried disposition; to strike postures of friendliness dangerously bordering on blind trust; and of belligerence but without anxiety. Because someone has their backs. Few nations in the world have the wherewithal to protect their freedom and independence by themselves.

 

It is this fortunate circumstance that moves other countries to celebrate American Independence Day as though it was their own. But beyond the geopolitical logic and reason, we return to sentiment and sentimentality, as well as to adistinctive commonality despite the sharp differences in our respective height: we both hate subservience to foreign powers;we cannot imagine living without total freedom in word, in thought, and in deed. “Live Free or Die” is our motto and New Hampshire’s.

 

It is something that waxes and wanes,depending on the stages of the moon it sometimes seems; and on the pubescence and climacteric of nations; but in the end it is what makes us love America — she is the larger image of ourselves as we are her smaller image. And we care for her as we hope she cares for us; but in any case we always care.

 

Her fortunes are as if they are our own— in the intensity of the experience. When her great men die, we grieve as hard; when she rises magnificently to the occasion, we exult with her; and when we rise as high our limited scope notwithstanding, she exults as much for us —as I had occasion to see for myself at the Joint Houses of the USCongress assembled after EDSA.

 

Her crises are followed closely by Filipinos; for upon the current condition of her undoubtedly superior strength depends, on the one hand, the clarity and celerity of her commitment to defend allies; and on the other, the ambiguity and indecision of that commitment when she gets up on the wrong side of the bed. But she is all we have.

 

It’s like a spouse; can’t live without them but sometimes you wish you could. But really you can’t. It is not fear of alimony but of being alone — of missing a dependable presence in a world that shows only three consistent aspects: nastiness, brutishness and brevity.

 

So please join me in a toast: to the United States of America. Some of us may wish for variety, but we know and history shows it: there can be only one — truefriendship, like that of our two Presidents. When we refused to vote with an anti-American majority in the UN, Nikki Haley said: “America has many friends in good times; but only true friends in challenging times.” And so it is.

 

God bless America, God bless the Philippines; God bless our Presidents; no need for God’s blessings on ourfriendship for that will endureregardless. Mabuhay.