US waives visa requirement for seven allies — but not for the Philippines

For all that we claim to have a special relationship with the United States, dating back to the time when they bought us from Spain and then proceeded to take over from where the Spaniards had left, they have a much better relationship with Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. These are among the seven countries for whom the US is waiving its visa requirement. The other one is South Korea.
This is from a news report:
“For years, the leaders of these nations have explained to me how frustrating it is for their citizens to wait in lines, pay visa fees to take a vacation or make a business trip or visit their families here in the United States,” Bush said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. “These close friends of America told me that it was unfair that their people had to jump through bureaucratic hoops that other allies can walk around. I told them I agree with them.” (click here to read more).
Apparently we’re not as close to the US as Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, or any of the seven mentioned countries. Either that, or we’re not really “allies,” for all that that word is used whenever US soldiers come here to play war games on our shores, with our boys.
The same news story said that “Bush also expressed support for efforts by Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Poland and Romania to win visa exemptions.”
Of course the seven countries mentioned have agreed to take additional security measures, such as using tamper-proof, biometric passports.
But is that the only reason why we need to jump through those bureaucratic hoops that the US has so graciously waived for its other allies?
But then again, is anyone asking why? Beggars can’t be choosers, many often say, and they are saying it more and more often nowadays.
But if that’s the way we look at it, maybe we should stop calling ourselves “allies,” because the relationship between a beggar and its benefactor is not the same as that between allies.

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