• 6 hours Toyota Tests Solar-Powered Prius
  • 24 hours Why The Gold Rally Flatlined
  • 1 day The Uranium Sector Can’t Catch A Break
  • 2 days Upcoming Fed Meeting Has Investors On Edge
  • 2 days Global Gold Sector Outlines Responsible Mining Principles
  • 3 days China’s Giant Vampire Fund Loses $120B
  • 3 days McDonalds To Roll Out Robot Drive-Thru Clerks
  • 3 days Savvy Investors Are Betting Big On This Little Data Company
  • 4 days How The Government Is Wasting Tax Money This Year
  • 4 days Supply Concerns Halt Expansion On Tianqi Lithium Plant
  • 4 days The World’s Biggest IPO Is Almost Here
  • 5 days The Relatively Of Money And Happiness
  • 5 days Wall Street Unfazed By Recession Fears
  • 5 days SoftBank Urges WeWork To Pause IPO Plans
  • 6 days Anti-Aging Market To Hit $55 Billion
  • 6 days JPM, Morgan Stanley Take Advisory Roles In Aramco IPO
  • 6 days Are Bonds In A Bubble?
  • 7 days The Unknown Media Giant Taking The World By Storm
  • 7 days From Millennial To Millionaire With One Simple Trick
  • 8 days The 5 Most Expensive Art Pieces Ever Sold
Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Welcome to Art Basel: The…

Zombie Foreclosures On The Rise In The U.S.

Zombie Foreclosures On The Rise In The U.S.

During the quarter there were…

The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

Modern monetary theory has been…

Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

Obama's Pivot to Asia Hits a Roadblock in the Philippines

While the mainstream media continues its obsessive reporting on the mud-slinging campaign for the White House, a dramatic development in China last week brought President Obama's "pivot to Asia" to a sudden halt. Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, while in Beijing, announced his country's "separation" from the United States. He told his Chinese audience, "Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States ... both in military, but also economics."

The State Department was stunned and asked for a clarification. The Philippines has been a virtual US protectorate since 1898, when it became US property after the Spanish-American war. Even after gaining independence after World War II it remained a close Cold War ally, hosting US military bases until 1992. Just this spring, as US tensions with China were heating up over a Chinese reclamation project in the South China Sea, the US signed a deal to open five military bases on Philippine territory. The deal was considered of major importance in an increasingly confrontational US approach to the region.

Suddenly it appeared the deal was off. Was the Philippines about to sever diplomatic relations with the United States?

Shortly after making the statement, the Philippine president walked back slightly from what appeared a break with the United States. He did not mean total separation, he said, but rather a desire to loosen his country from the firm grip of US foreign policy. But the point had been made. The Philippines was not happy in its current relationship with Washington.

President Obama's "pivot to Asia" has turned out not to mean improved trade and diplomatic ties with the region, but an aggressive stance toward China over, among other issues, the South China Sea. The US has concluded military agreements with Vietnam and the Philippines, and maintains strong military ties with Japan and South Korea.

The Philippines has been used as a US cat's paw in South China Sea dispute and Duterte's surprise statement signaled that he felt the relationship was too one-sided.

But the tension has been rising and the mood souring for some time. The US State Department has been critical of President Duterte's admittedly brutal crackdown on illegal drugs, which has cost perhaps 2,000 or more lives. In August, Secretary of State John Kerry conveyed the US government's concerns. As elsewhere, such condemnation by the US likely seemed hypocritical to the Philippine president, as the US leads the world in prison population with a large percentage serving long terms for non-violent drug crimes.

Last week a large protest was held in front of the US embassy in Manila in support of the president's move toward a foreign policy independent from Washington. Demonstrators burned American flags and demanded the departure of US troops from their country.

Will US-Philippine relations continue to spiral downward? Or will Washington begin to see that its aggressive foreign policy, in Asia and elsewhere, is beginning to alienate allies? Or perhaps the next US administration will decide that a CIA "regime change" is in order for the independent-minded Philippine president. A US pivot away from confrontation with China would go a long way toward repairing strained relations with the Philippines and beyond. Let's hope that's Washington's next move.

 


Buy Ron Paul's latest book, Swords into Plowshares, here.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment