In a January 30, 2014 article by Catherine A. Traywick on ForeignPolicy.com titled, Will American Troops Return to Philippine Bases?, the author states the reasons for and against an American presence in the Philippines. After hurricane Haiyan devastated the central Philippines, the United States was first to respond – and we did so in grand fashion. Loads of American supplies, aid money and first responders appeared within days of the disaster – helping a seemingly overwhelmed Philippine government response. American and Filipino officials began talks after the disaster about reviving an American military presence in its already established bases in the Nevada-sized country that is home to over 100 million people.
What would an American presence in the Philippines mean for the region as a whole? Given the ongoing territorial disputes with China, the Philippines could use a strong ally in case China decides to become any more brazen with their threats. At the same time, an official American presence could aggravate the situation, although that seems unlikely given the fact that American troops have been present in the Southern Philippines assisting the Philippine military deal with the Muslim terrorist group al Qaeda.
The pros far outweigh the cons in this proposal. Americans and Filipinos are great allies and have been for some time – the relations between the countries have been sound, with little hiccups along the way. Why would anyone want to veto American presence in the Philippines? It would provide a great military vantage point for the United States in the region and strengthen relation with many of the nations in the area. American military presence could also provide a counter to Chinese bullying over the contested seas and islands.
Probably the most significant reason for this alliance would be an increase in friendly trade relations between the nations. He Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies since the global recession and is looking to boost output over the coming years – America could use another strong trading partner. In conclusion, both nations can benefit from such an alliance and more importantly, neither has something to lose.
By Christopher M. Vacek