US to Substantially Increase Military Presence in Philippines

John Glaser, December 18, 2012

The US is going to “substantially increase its military presence in the Philippines, increasing the number of troops, aircraft and ships which routinely rotate through the country,” according to The Diplomat.

For what purpose? Well, the transparent excuse US officials gave was almost laughable: to “serve The Philippines when struggling against natural disasters.”

Of course, nobody actually believes that. Long before this decision to substantially increase US military presence in the Philippines was finalized, the US had been building up the Philippines’s military and security forces, offering funding and weapons in exchange for greater American presence in the country. The Philippines is just one of the many countries the Obama administration has been courting to greater client state status as part of their ‘strategic pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific region, which is aimed at containing China’s rising military and economic sway. Essentially, to maintain U.S. hegemony.

Washington has been building new military bases and refurbishing old ones in the region in order to lay the ground-work for an “air-sea battle” with China. The idea is to have enough US bases peppered throughout the region so that China would be too surrounded to safely attack.

The nationalistic, Great Game geo-politicking has its own grim consequences for the US relationship with China, but very separate consequences for the Philippines. Unfortunately, it follows a very similar pattern of Washington enabling human rights abuses in exchange for using the country as geo-political leverage.

In July, Human Rights Watch is again called on President Aquino of the Philippines to prosecute and put a stop to the rampant torture, extra-judicial killings, and disappearances of “leftist activists, journalists, and clergy.” Just since Obama took office, taxpayers have sent almost $700 million to the Filipino government, making it one of the biggest recipients of US military aid in all of Asia, at a time when numerous embassy cables released by WikiLeaks acknowledge systematic extrajudicial killings, abduction, and false arrests perpetrated by the US-supported security forces. That aid is likely to increase now that this new deal has been secured.

It also looks like the US is lumping in the Philippines in the war on terror. Apparently there is a small cadre of Islamic militants there, but they don’t appear to present any threat to the US. In February, Washington launched a drone strike in the southern Philippines that reportedly killed 15 people associated with these groups. It looks very much like how the US launched drone strikes at the behest of the Saleh regime in Yemen when it was clear Saleh was using the US drone war to eliminate his own domestic political enemies.

The airstrike prompted angry reactions from some in the Philippines weary of US breach of their sovereignty. One Philippine representative, Luz Ilagan, called for an end to US military intervention in their national affairs.

Ilagan also called for a probe into what she referred to as the “extensive and intensive intrusion of the US military in Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) operations.” She added, “If these reports are true, then US troops are participating in and conducting operations beyond what is allowed in the Visiting Forces Agreement and directly transgressing our sovereignty. More importantly, their participation in these operations is a potential magnet for the Philippines’ participation in a brewing US-instigated regional conflict.”

The US is once again using its military muscle to occupy a foreign country for the sake of its own hegemony, to the detriment of the Philippines and the security of the entire region.




65 Responses to “US to Substantially Increase Military Presence in Philippines”

  1. Fine, John. Now how about an indepth article about China's hegemony, the most gluttonous on the planet. Or will you scapegoat that with a comparison of relative sizes of the military? It seems to me there will be peace and harmony in the western Pacific when China wants peace and harmony there. That's the fastest way to get rid of the American military presence. Go to the source of the problem, Johnny, the source . . .

  2. Joe, I think you have the reason for this “pivot” simplified. I don’t believe you or any other sensible informed person accepts that this move is driven by goodwill for our asian friends. Goodwill does not determine any countries foreign policy; national interest does. Now we can take a closer look at what is in the interest of the US, and here I think you’ll find the crux of the issue. If employing military force to encircle a nation is not instigating potential conflict, then I believe we can safely remove those three words from the dictionary. Which is most “Evil” is irrelevant. What would you have done, go to war with China, because the government kills its people? So you’d rather the US military do it instead?

  3. Philippines: Most ungrateful country in the world.

  4. And how exactly would you know that mike? Do you personally know any Filipinos?

  5. My wife is Filipina, and she supports having US troops in the Phillipines. Many Filipinos are of the same thought, but the government did not listen to them, instead, pining for some kind of sovereignty that can never be achieved in the Philippines. For one, the country is a group of islands, with populations of different ethnicity and even religion. Second, the population increase is out of control, due to Catholic Church's teachings. Third, the government is corrupt to the bone. Four, natural disasters strike with clockwork regularity. Five – Closer to China than to the US from a geographical point of view.

    The Chinese are already there, developing a port south of Manila, in the Cavite province, and also developing infrastructure to support it. Presumably to increase trade.

    The Chinese population, however, is not very well liked by the local population, as they try to price gouge the poorer people of all they have. There is already a 5th column Chinese in the country, especially on Luzon, less on Mindanao and Visayas. For the US, the importance of these islands is difficult to exaggerate. Logistic supply, home port, etc. within easy reach of China. US submarines make routine stops at Subic Bay, so the logical conclusion is that they are actively patrolling the Fillipines Sea and the strait of Taiwan. I would not put it beyond reason to have boomers in that area, as well, as nuclear strike option. So, China, behave.

  6. [...] US to Substantially Increase Military Presence in Philippines [...]

  7. Great. They send us millions of "nurses" who can't speak a word of English, in turn, they get soldiers. A

  8. china shares land borders with just about every country the united states ever used as an excuse for militarism.
    if american is under threat from Afghanistan how is china not?
    if America is under threat from north korea how is china not?
    china shares borders with 4 nuclear powers
    india, pakistan, russia, north korea.
    (not including japan that has a break out capability which makes it potential nuclear arsenal substantially larger than china's minimum deterrent)

    unlike the united states that gets it's petroleum from if not the friendliest possible some of the most docile countries
    china on the other hand gets most of its petroleum from the middle east and north Africa.
    so the us can justify militarism with needing to control oil it does not need,
    but china's concern that someone else is militarily controlling the oil they do need is not an excuse for militarism
    anyway if you want me to go on just reply

  9. Yes, please go on. You pose interesting questions. America is under threat from Afghanistan because America supports Israel, whereas China does not. America is under threat from North Korea because America supports South Korea whereas China has a somewhat parental engagement with North Korea, but the kid is a teenager and doesn't listen so well any more. China indeed has risky nuclear neighbors, whereas the US does not; therefore it is difficult to understand China's belligerant approach to international relations. The U.S. is working concertedly to be oil independent, so that is not as critical a reason for American hegemony.

    After that, I've lost track of your point . . .

    I understand this is an anti-war publication, and therefore anti-military, and therefore anti-defense, so maybe I'm not catching the drift right . . .

  10. Nice assessment. Actually, the Chinese work better in the Philippines than do Americans because the Chinese can deal in the bed of corruption that exists in the Philippines. They don't mind. It is impossible for reputable American businesses to get along in that business framework. What is happening in the Philippines now, under President Aquino, is pretty significant in terms of trying to get rid of the bed of corruption. It is not easy to do because the corrupt don't go down without a fight.

    China could be the leader of Asia, or the chief bully-rival. Her choice, I think. Right now, she is the bully.

  11. It's a buyer's market. Filipinos go where there are jobs. They work diligently and fit a need, as do most immigrant employees. You seem to be angry at the Filipinos because they are not American and don't speak English as well as you do. They speak it mighty fine good in Manila, however, which is why there is a boom in call centers there.

  12. [...] US to Substantially Increase Military Presence in Philippines [...]

  13. the dprk was the resistance against imperial japanses war
    and the korean war was fought many between the Japaneses collaborators and the united states vs the anti imperialist koreans.
    the north lost 30% of its population plus a million chineses to stop the united states.
    south korea is now something like 40 x larger than the south eccinomicly and yet the united states still has 40,000 troops on the dprk's border.
    there real patrons (or parent as you say) were the soviet union and not china.
    so north Korea has every reason to be afraid of the us and the us has abaslutly no reason to be on the Korean peninsula.
    don't forget that between the Koreans and us is the world 3rd largest economy and korea's former imperial occupiers the Japanese who would stop any aggressive action by the dprk.
    the soviet union and china both recognized south korea as state .
    the us has never recognized the dprk as a legitimate state.
    (something that is a prerequisite for negotiation with israel, the Palestinians must recognize israel as a jewish state)

    so when it comes to the Korean peninsula the "belligerent" is the united states and the ones seeking "peace and harmony" is china.

  14. why the hell do my comments need to be approved ?!
    im not posting anonymous

    p.s. the comment box is to small for me to proof read so i always post then proofread and edit so i have no idea what i wrote or how legible it is or when it will be posted
    and it was meant to be only a part of the response but having no record of it, i cant really continue.
    what a pain.
    oh well guess ill continue tomorrow since it is not showing up.

  15. Mr Mike Filipinos acknowledge and always be thankful to the sacrifices of American citizens. I personally be thankful to the brave soldiers that stand side by side during the WW2 and the Korean War. Even you accused us, but we are grateful always and look up high as a big brother.

  16. Your pain is my pain.

  17. [...] US "cliff" deal, BOJ easingFox BusinessUS Nervous About Japan's New Prime MinisterNPRAntiwar.com (blog) -the Diplomatall 4,765 news [...]

  18. China simply has territorial dispute with some of her neighbours something that alot of countries have. China so far hasn't invaded or bombed or sanctioned anyone yet unlike the US. If China's territorial disputes is called bullying what do you call the American blockade on Cuba, sanctions on Iran, cross border drone strikes on Pakistan, attempted coup in Venezuela etc… The US itself has territorial disputes with Columbia and Haiti in the Caribbean and West Samoa in the South pacific is that bullying too ?

  19. GW, well, good questions all, and I am frankly not versed on the rationale for some of the US moves, but I accept your point, that the US has overstepped in some international engagements. I served in one of them, Viet Nam. Iran and drone strikes against terrorists are hardly bullying, although the drone strikes do test US law. But, yes, I would describe some past US acts as bullying. President Obama has rectified a lot of this.

    China remains a bully, now, today.

  20. Thanks, Ver. I live in the Philippines and Filipinos unquestioningly respect Americans as individuals. They sometimes object to American military presence because of past colonizations and an unrealized desire to stand truly independent, free from the bindings of occupations and the corrupt.

  21. The U.S. is not going to "defeat" China militarily!

  22. "they fill a need?" Are there no out-of-work Americans who could fill employment needs?

  23. Its not only about America's past but also its present and what it is doing today. The point is that America is a much bigger bully than China. And its pretty rich for America to call China a bully.

  24. "The corrupt," is an apt description of US policy around the world. BTW, not all Filipinos are so trusting of US aims in their country.

  25. Okay, I get where you are coming from. Thanks for the elaboration.

  26. Well, how about if I call America the Accomplished Big Bully and China the Aspiring Big Bully?

    And I am not "America", I am Joe, an American. I don't represent any other American's view than my own.

  27. I guess not. You need to ask that question of the people hiring them.

  28. It's up to China.

  29. Okie dokie.

  30. "Okay, I get where you are coming from. Thanks for the elaboration."

    dangit! you are no fun.

  31. Hey, it's Christmas. Have a good one. (And you make some good points that I had not considered, like who has recognized whom. I'd rather learn than win.)

  32. I agree. The ball does appear to be in the Chinese court!

  33. @Joe America

    “I understand this is an anti-war publication, and therefore anti-military, and therefore anti-defense, so maybe I’m not catching the drift right . . .”

    Being anti war has nothing to do with being anti defense. Nothing the US military engages in today can be considered defensive in nature. I’m 42 and not a single deployment of our military has been done to protect me or my freedoms that are continuously eroded by BOTH political parties and generally supported by folks like yourself. All in the name of defending us from a threat that is greatly exaggerated. All but three of the homegrown plots “foiled” by the FBI were in fact set up by the FBI. If the FBI wanted to save us from those who’d like to hurt us they should arrest themselves.

    You served in Viet Nam? I’m sorry to hear that. That war, as every war since that the US has engaged in has been fought not to defend America. But to enrich those who profit from it. Clinton’s war in the Balkins may be seen as a “wag the dog” war but its interesting to note that today many of his administrations top people now sit on boards or run companies that are making millions from the corrupt puppet government.

    Afghanistan doesn’t present a threat to the US period. Our sickening friendship with Israel has nothing to do with this. Afghanistan simply doesn’t pose a military threat to the US (there is however about a trillion dollars worth of hard to get at rare Earth minerals in the dirt) and therefore we have no legitimate military reason to be there. Yes, the Taliban is awful but it isn’t our place to make it better and we do seem to kill a good many innocent people while trying to make things better for them.

    China acts as a parent to N. Korea because if they didn’t support the insane dictator there might be room for reunification. China cannot have this as they know that reunification would result in a much increased US military presence. While our troops stationed in the country are little more than cannon fodder (they all are) to justify a full US invasion in the unlikely event of N. Korean aggression against the South. Unlikely because the S.Korean capital is withing shooting range so if the South isn’t concerned why should we be.

    China has a belligerent foreign policy? I think you mean the US. After all, any country that doesn’t bend over and ooh and ahh appropriately when the US shoves its red, white, and blue dick up the ass of the world gets labeled as an evil doer and risks its people being bombed by very brave men in air-conditioned rooms flying drones. Hopefully you saw the sarcasm in my calling these cowards brave.

    When you say that drone strikes against terrorists are hardly bullying I’m inclined to guess that you are uninformed regarding the recent study that found 98% of those killed by drone strikes in Pakistan were innocent civilians. The CIA has a policy of firing a missile from a drone then as the first responders show up they fire a couple more. The drone war by its very nature is an act of terrorism.

    I can’t and won’t speak for anyone else but I’m not anti-military per se. I’m anti what they are engaged in which is invading, occupying, killing, and oppressing people that pose no threat to America or Americans. That our military is voluntary leads me to the logical conclusion that some of those (10% of combat jobs) who volunteer do so because of a perverted sense of patriotism (pledging fealty to a plot of land and a piece of fabric is something that entirely eludes me) or they do it because they want a chance to kill.

    Marry Christmas,

    HB

  34. well i don't do any of the holidays but,i'll assuming you do,
    so i would like to say you just made the christian version of a kiddish hashem.

    merry Christmas!

    p.s. doubly so for not commenting on my atrocious grammar and spelling

  35. oh and let me give you a great idea for a holiday present for your self or any one

    the late great Chalmers Johnson's BlowBack series
    Blowback – a nice run down of covert operation and backing of brutal dictatorsihps, suprising large amount of which has happened in east asia, that i only first heard in this book.
    "The Sorrows of Empire" – basicly looking at how all that blowback forces the us to act more overtly to counter the consequences and thus even small and seemingly insignificant meddling has had major consequence.
    "Nemisis" my favorite and the one ive read the most times, an indepth look at the "base structure" of the american empire particularly in east asia. and how it is this totally new thing that is the true form of the united states empire and the main factor driving american militarism and if it is not deliberately dismantled it will destroy the united states as a "free republic"

    and his finaly posthumously published Dismantling empire, which i have read once and so could not really tell you much about it.
    chalmers johnson was a self described cold warrior who served in the navy in japan was on of the first american to be allowed to see the Japanese archives on the imperial armies action in china, and was cia japan specialist, although as a sort of outside contractor if i recall.

    any way read all his books i think you will find them as level headed and reasonable as they are informative.

  36. Style is usually not relevant. Content is relevant.

    Kiddush Hashem: "a precept of Judaism. It includes sanctification of the name of God by being holy. "

    Cool.

  37. Thanks for the holiday gift. I'll definitely pursue the read.

  38. Depends…..The Aircraft carrier is obsolete in a China US War. However US attack Submarines would close the sea to the Chines.

    JK

  39. America huffs and puffs, with Nuclear weapons available China has two advantages splash one carrier group and the ability to actually Bomb NYC, LA or DC. Hence the US will do little, China might however recall those trillion dollar debts though!

  40. The Chinese has the most gluttonous hegemony on the planet? Uhh, where are the Chinese 900 bases across the globe that? Oh, yeah. Sorry. That's the US I was thinking about. Next….

    Mentally ill moron.

  41. You do realize that Japan would never have attacked the Philippines if FDR had not provoked the Japanese into expanding the war outside of China right?

  42. Guess some people like being ruled by The Imperial City. Idiots.

  43. Kiss kiss

  44. Of course you pea brained twit with gonads the size of gnats, waddya think I am, a mentally retarded moron or something?

  45. The Philippines are in for the Colombia treatment – another 'victory' for American values.

  46. Matt Andersson, a former Booz Allen executive, has asserted in the pages of the Economist and the Guardian (At War Over Geoengineering) that 4 countries on the planet (US, Israel, China, & Russia) have the technology to manipulate the weather any way they want, for all kinds of reasons, including "demographic management." A consortium of companies has been trying to open a huge open pit copper and gold mine in the area that was just whacked by Typhoon Pablo (Bopha). This typhoon had MANY odd things about it and it was devastating! It displaced over 800,000 people. Talk about demographic management!

    There is not one expression of sorrow on the websites of any of the mining companies–Indophil, Xstrata, and SMI. The CEO of Xstrata, Mick Davis, is a huge Zionist, very connected with Israel. Undoubtedly, he can buy whatever weather weapons Israel has.

    Anyway, the indigenous people in the region where they've been trying to open this mine had been protesting against it. The area had become highly militarized. People were told that if they went hunting in the forests, they would be labeled "Communist guerillas" and rounded up. There was a recent massacre…

    How convenient this typhoon was for all the mining companies! Now, the US wants to protect these people from extreme weather events?! Or, did we pump up the typhoon for the mining companies?

  47. A large segment of red-blooded Americans are simply unemployable.

  48. Really John Glaser, you have no words for the Chinese juggernaut? It's all an American empire conspiracy? No mention of the "9 dotted line" land grab or the intimidation of Filipino fishermen in little outriggers by armed Chinese paramilitaries? People are getting killed out there at the hands of the Chinese. The Philippine government came begging, hat in hand, for some American support. I think the Obama admin has done a good job of supporting the Filipinos while trying not to antagonize the Chinese, I give them an A+.

  49. Tin foil hat view?

  50. The US put down the Filipino independence in the Spanish American war, killed hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, established their military bases and began their colonial rule, and exploited the poor. In World war Two the US laid the Philippines to waste for an enemy that would have left anyway. The US has supported endless dictators and enlarged their military presence there during Vietnam and beyond. Finally, the US bases were removed, and contrary to some, the economy thrived, the military sponsored brothels were closed,and conditions improved. Now, why go back to US hegemony, drone attacks and a US pivot on the backs of the Filipinos!

  51. Now try telling the Filipinos they don't want the Americans back and see what they say.

  52. Filipino Household! I guess… another pro military rah rah who thinks the US is helping

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