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Duterte and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Philippines’ president wants [1] the U.S. out:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he wanted American troops out of his country, perhaps in the next two years, underlining his intention to press ahead with a major realignment of his country’s foreign and security policies.

Duterte may not speak for everyone in his country, but the U.S. should seriously consider agreeing to this. The U.S. should take this as an opportunity to disentangle itself from an alliance that will only create headaches for us in the future. As a general rule, the U.S. shouldn’t keep its forces where they aren’t wanted, and it shouldn’t want to keep security dependents that no longer desire our presence. Duterte is providing us with a way to get rid of one of our unnecessary overseas obligations, and we should take advantage of that.

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12 Comments To "Duterte and U.S. Foreign Policy"

#1 Comment By collin On October 26, 2016 @ 11:11 am

I think Duterte is acting like my 14 year autisc son but I am not sure why this a problem! Let us start withdrawing our military and let the Philipines deal with China directly. I know China is potentially the biggest threat to US security but they appear to be cautious with their military and we should not treat them as an enemy. And I have to imagine if China closes the South China Seas would have HUGE consequences with trade with the world.

#2 Comment By KD On October 26, 2016 @ 11:22 am

Anyone remember Salvador Allende?

#3 Comment By Viriato On October 26, 2016 @ 11:56 am

We should take advantage of that. More likely, though, is regime change in accordance with the likely next President’s conception of “smart power.”

#4 Comment By The Manila Folder On October 26, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

“As a general rule, the U.S. shouldn’t keep its forces where they aren’t wanted, and it shouldn’t want to keep security dependents that no longer desire our presence. “

Curiously, if you rewrote that as “the U.S. shouldn’t keep its forces where they ARE wanted and shouldn’t want to to keep security dependents that DO desire our presence”, it would largely still be true.

Duterte’s defection is an important story, and I’m surprised it hasn’t got more play. That’s probably at least in part because of the election. Stories about humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen or an unprecedented deterioration in our relationship with the Philippines don’t play well for Hillary – so much for the “pivot to Asia”, right?

Our grossly disproportionate focus on and meddling in Middle East quagmires amounts to an obsession. It brought on direct blow back like 9/11, Paris, San Bernardino and Nice, millions of refugees flooding Europe. It has also cost something like 6 or 7 trillion dollars. But those aren’t the only consequences. This downward slide in our relationship with the Philippines is a consequence too. One of our oldest allies is now turning to China, in part because idiots like Bush, Obama and Clinton dropped the ball and made it clear to the rest of the world that all America cared about was Israel, oil, and, later on, the terror threat that blossomed after we sided with Israel against the Palestinians and began openly supporting dictators and autocrats willing to play ball.

Didn’t turn out too well, did it?

So after botching the Middle East, their great focus, some of our warhawk “centrist internationalists” will inevitably get around to demanding to know “who lost the Philippines?”. The obvious answer is that they did. And they lost it because they aren’t really “internationalists” or “centrists” at all.

Real internationalism requires giving the various nations and regions of the world their due, not letting an unwholesome obsession with the Middle East blot them out. Real “centrism” requires a restraint and prudence alien to them.

#5 Comment By Uncle Billy On October 26, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

I remember the big US Naval Base at Subic Bay and the big US Air Force Base at Clark Field. Many thousands of US troops in the Philippines in the 1970’s. Now they are gone. If they don’t want us, fine and dandy. Bring our troops home.

#6 Comment By jeff On October 26, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

Yes, the U.S. shouldn’t keep troops where they’re not wanted. But such a stance flies in the face of at least 150 years of U.S. imperialism. If we didn’t establish a military base in every country we defeated in a conflict, how would we maintain our military hegemony?

#7 Comment By rayray On October 26, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

@the manila folder
I do not think that Duterte’s story is an important one actually. This is because I am unclear on why keeping our forces there and being so deeply in bed over there is an important strategic move.

It seems unlikely that any president or secretary of state with a modicum of integrity could make peace with Duterte who is clearly bent on obstreperously brutalizing his own people into sobriety. He also has a history of hating the United States going back to his days of dealing with US interference with his work as a DA. He was waiting for us to do what anyone would have to do, (which is at the very least to not approve of encouraging vigilante killings and violence in the name of addict eradication), to call us out.

Well, fine.

There’s a long and difficult and brutal US history there…if there was ever a fine time to cede the field now is it. There is little or nothing to gain. While I am genuinely concerned for the Filipino people, there doesn’t seem to be much else to do by any administration.

And it may very well be that the current administration’s internal discussions are coming to same conclusion as Mr. Larison. I hope so.

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On October 26, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

It’s hard to argue with a country showing the US the door. Maybe it’s a play for a more attention. Because, I think the tensions between the Philippines and China on the UNCLOS decision is real problem.

Te current exec., based on an article in TAC two days ago, makes claim to rescind the security agreement which binds the US to come to the aid regarding an attack by a foreign power.

I think my view on intervention is clear. But rescinding an agreement because the trigger might get pulled is disingenuous even under complaints that the state’s leaders are “mean.”

If however, that state gives us the “high hat” and tells to skidaddle.

Then absolutely Skidaddle we should. Despite regional strategic advantages.

#9 Comment By Romegas On October 26, 2016 @ 3:07 pm

The Philippines wasn’t an ally it was a colony. big difference. Now that they sense a new multipolar world, they feel confident to choose their own relationships rather than have big daddy tell them what they ought or ought not do and with who… expect this trend to grow – perhaps that is why the US elite is so angry at Russia and China – they offer an alternative – and to the US elite that isn’t an option. The real downfall will start when Europeans ultimately grow a pair of balls and start electing politicians who have their interests for a change – I think that day is not that far off.

#10 Comment By JM On October 27, 2016 @ 12:45 am

If Duterte is serious and the people support it then fine. However, I think Duterte is just blowing hot air and he isn’t serious. I usually agree with Daniel Larison about Europe and the Middle East, but I think the status quo of American foreign policy in Asia is fine for the most part. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

#11 Comment By cecelia On October 27, 2016 @ 2:46 am

We do not actually have bases there – some advisors re: their never ending insurrection – but otherwise what great troop strength is there?

Seems to me it is mostly the Navy that shows up there for training, humanitarian relief when they get their annual typhoon hit and the hospital ship.

Bid them a gracious good bye – but keep sending the hospital ship – no reason to penalize the Filipino people who benefit from the medical help.

#12 Comment By Uncle Billy On October 27, 2016 @ 8:21 am

Let Duterte shake down the Chinese. I suspect that he will shake them down for a few years, and when the Chinese get tired of paying him off, and drop him, he will come back to the US. We can then take him back…..on our terms.