Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Military Pact with the Philippines Gives Asia 'Pivot' Some Military Muscle

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Military Pact with the Philippines Gives Asia 'Pivot' Some Military Muscle

Article excerpt

The Pentagon's much-trumpeted strategic "pivot" to the Asia- Pacific - which US officials proclaimed a major shift in American defense policy in 2011 - has often been criticized in the years since as a bold and compelling concept with not much real military muscle behind it.

That's why the news Monday that the US has inked a military agreement with the Philippines is seen by defense analysts as a major step forward for the Pentagon's presence in the region. The terms of the deal allow the US to rotate troops through and pre- position fighter jets and supplies at Filipino bases.

It is an agreement that the Obama administration has been laboring to get signed for some time. The US naval base at Subic Bay, Philippines, was the largest US military installation in the world before the Philippine government ejected the US military in 1991, creating a constitutional amendment to ban foreign military bases.

The new agreement bypasses this ban. The bases do not belong to the US but are being borrowed for a "rotational presence" of troops and equipment. The US military has sent rotations of Special Operations troops to train Filipino soldiers in counterinsurgency tactics against Islamic extremists since 2002.

The 10-year agreement imposes no apparent limits on the number of ships and fighter jets that the US can bring into the country. Those details have yet to be worked out, officials say.

Critics argue that officials are being deliberately vague with the details in an effort to avoid angering Filipino critics. "We are apprehensive that until now, no copy of the agreement has been provided to the public," Carol Araullo, the secretary general for a group of some 100 protesters at the US embassy, said in a statement, adding that the Filipino Senate has also "been kept in the dark."

It's an agreement that became far more politically viable after typhoon Haiyan - the deadliest on record in the Philippines - left more than 5,000 people dead last November. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.