From the U.S. national security lens, the Philippines belongs to the “arc of instability” where social unrest, challenges to the weak regime, and “extremism” will likely increase in the short term. Thus the country will remain a major chip of the U.S. template to contain China from rising as a hostile regional – or even global – hegemon threatening to alter the balance of power in East Asia and causing the slide of American hegemony.
BY THE POLICY STUDY, PUBLICATION, AND ADVOCACY
CENTER FOR PEOPLE EMPOWERMENT IN GOVERNANCE (CENPEG)
Posted by Bulatlat
Barack Obama’s key Cabinet persons in charge of U.S. economic and security objectives are on record as apologists for economic neo-liberalism and right-wing politics. His economic team, led by economic council director Lawrence Summers, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and chief economic adviser Paul Volcker are accountable to the U.S. financial crisis. His national security team, led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a holdover from the Bush administration), State Secretary Hilary Clinton, National Security Adviser former Marines Gen. James Jones, and Blair have a record of being pro-war and pro-Israel with close ties to the mega-corporate world and the powerful military-industrial complex.
An evolving policy recommendation points to the use of multilateral institutions and diplomacy (such as the United Nations) – a tack all but ignored by Bush’s pre-emptive and unilateralist approach particularly in the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.(5) Still, this tack as well as other recent policy recommendations, particularly from a think tank identified with Obama – the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) – stress the imperative “of preserving U.S. power and maintaining its leadership (read: hegemonic) position” in the world.(6)
Central to this strategy – which seeks to confront uncertainties and emerging challenges as a result of the global economic crisis – is the preservation of U.S. military forces and facilities in 150 countries around the world(7) classified as main operating bases, forward operating sites, and cooperative security locations a number of which are observed to be present in the Philippines. In East Asia, Obama – as he had pledged in a letter to Arroyo in June 2008 in the case of the Philippines – will continue U.S. military exercises and access agreements while shoring up defense partnerships with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, as well as the Philippines, and other countries.
In the pipeline is a move to deploy more low-profile U.S. advisers and special operations forces – dubbed “force multipliers” – in “micro security projects” (such as Sulu) to promote good governance as well as counter-insurgency “in the mode of Edward Lansdale.”(8)
From the U.S. national security lens, the Philippines belongs to the “arc of instability” where social unrest, challenges to the weak regime, and “extremism” will likely increase in the short term. Thus the country will remain a major chip of the U.S. template to contain China from rising as a hostile regional – or even global – hegemon threatening to alter the balance of power in East Asia and causing the slide of American hegemony. Southern Philippines and other locations of joint war exercises will be preserved as a laboratory for counter-insurgency training to generate lessons and military manuals vital to bigger operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries where U.S. force engagement is long and intractable.
By the looks of it, there is nothing to expect from the Obama presidency but more U.S. intervention and the preservation of the Philippines as a conduit serving U.S. security interests in the region. Evidence is ample enough showing the costs of maintaining this “special relationship” with the colonial master – a status of underdevelopment, continuing rule by the oligarchy, tying the Philippines as a second-rate state in the world community, anti-terrorism that serves as a tool for political persecution, and so on.