Getting the Boot in the Philippines

After hundreds of thousands of Iraqis showed up to protest the American presence and the country’s parliament passed a resolution asking the government to expel the United States military, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte took measures to end an agreement pertaining to US troops in his country. Just like with Iraq, the Philippines may now be looking to determine its own fate and not have it forced upon them by a foreign power. Will the United States government back down and allow such insubordination? Most likely there will be some kind of attempt to restore relations, but this does show a growing global aversion to American imperialism.

The Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) is a “treaty” that governs the rules for American troops stationed in the Philippines, and Duterte has made it clear that the deal is unfavorable to his country because it prevents prosecution of Americans serving there, did little to prevent China from building islands in the South China Sea, promotes spying on Filipinos, and encourages nuclear weapons stockpiling that hurts relations with China. It seems that Duterte would like to move away from the dependence and restrictions that come with American occupation, and the proposed focus of his foreign policy relations will likely pivot towards China and Russia and away from the United States. This daring move will not necessarily prevent US troops from continuing operations in the Philippines because there are still two other pacts (Mutual Defense Treaty and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement), but it will likely weaken the United States’ ability to function there to its full capacity.

American officials will now try to argue (while brushing it off) that it will be more difficult to combat Chinese aggression and militarization in the region and to protect the international shipping lanes that run through the South China Sea, but these so-called “freedom of navigation operations” are little more than a method to ensure American dominance over the global economic system and to prevent China from being able to challenge it. Despite what government officials will claim, the alliance with the Philippines is not about ensuring the security and well-being of both nations.

The people of the Philippines should be able to choose their own destiny, and if the will is for Filipino independence, why should they not be allowed to have it? After the United States won the Philippines from Spain in 1898 and almost lost it afterwards because the country declared independence and did not want to be an American colony, the United States had to liberate the islands from Japan and allow for their official independence in 1946. Let us now give the country full independence by vacating the islands and allowing it to make its own decisions. Perhaps the move away from the agreement with the Philippines will ultimately show Americans that these foreign policy decisions and stationing of troops in most of the world’s countries are unacceptable, and perhaps a domino effect will sweep across the globe and other countries will begin to challenge American imperialism.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
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Published on February 12, 2020 16:30
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