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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has just given us notice he will be terminating the Visiting Forces Agreement that governs U.S. military personnel in the islands.

His notification starts the clock running on a six-month deadline. If no new agreement is negotiated, the VFA is dissolved.

What triggered the decision?

Duterte was offended that one of his political allies who led his anti-drug campaign in the islands, which involves extrajudicial killings of drug dealers, had been denied a U.S. visa.

Yet, Duterte has never been an enthusiast of the U.S. presence. In 2016, he told his Chinese hosts in Beijing: “I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops. I want them out.”

The Pentagon is shaken. If there is no VFA, how do we continue to move forces in and out to guarantee our ability to honor the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty? Defense Secretary Mark Esper called Duterte’s action “a step in the wrong direction.”

President Donald Trump openly disagreed: “If they would like to do that, that’s fine. We’ll save a lot of money.”

The Philippine Islands are among the largest recipients of foreign aid in East Asia, and we’ve provided $1.3 billion in military assistance over the last two decades. But money shouldn’t be the largest consideration here.

Trump has been given a historic opportunity to reshape U.S. and Asia policy along the lines he ran on in 2016.

He should tell Duterte that we accept his decision and that we, too, are giving notice of our decision to let the 1951 treaty lapse. And following expiration of that treaty, the U.S. will be absolved of any legal obligation to come to the defense of the Philippines.

Time for Manila to take charge of its own defense. Indeed, what is the argument for a treaty that virtually dictates U.S. involvement in any future war in 7,600 islands 8,000 miles from the United States?

When we negotiated the 1951 treaty, it was a different world.

We had entered a Cold War with Stalin’s USSR. We were in a hot war in Korea that would cost 37,000 U.S. lives. Gen. Douglas MacArthur had just been relieved of his command of U.S. forces in Korea by Harry Truman. A disarmed Japan had not fully recovered from World War II.

The Communist armies of Chairman Mao had overrun China and driven our Nationalist allies off the mainland. The Viet Minh were five years into a guerrilla war to drive the French out of Indochina.

Today, the Cold War is long over. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is no threat to the Philippines. Nor is China, though Xi Jinping has occupied and fortified islets like Mischief Reef in the South China Sea that are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

There is no U.S. vital interest at risk in these islands to justify an eternal war guarantee or treaty commitment to fight Beijing over rocks and reefs in the South China Sea.

Trump should seize this opportunity to tell Duterte that when the VFA, which guarantees immunity for U.S. forces in the Philippines, is dissolved, the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty is dissolved.


A message would be sent to Asia, and the world, that Trump was serious when he said that he intends to revisit and review all the defense alliances and war guarantees entered into 60 and 70 years ago, to address threats that no longer exist in a world that no longer exists.

The U.S. has a long history with the Philippines, beginning in the War of 1898 with Spain, when Admiral George’s Dewey’s Asian squadron sank a Spanish fleet in Manila harbor, and we invaded, occupied and colonized the islands, thus emulating Europe’s imperial powers and abandoning the anti-colonial legacy of the Founding Fathers.

“Take up the White Man’s burden,” Rudyard Kipling admonished us.

After Filipino patriots fought for nearly four years to liberate their islands from the Americans, as they had from the Spanish, inflicting on U.S. soldiers and Marines thousands of casualties, the New York Herald replied to the Poet of Empire:
“We’ve taken up the white man’s burden/Of ebony and brown/Now, will you tell, Rudyard/How we may put it down.”

After Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the Japanese invaded and occupied the islands, until Gen. MacArthur made good in on his famous pledge on leaving Corregidor, “I shall return.”

In 1944, we liberated the islands.

A year after Japan’s surrender, on July 4, 1946, we granted the Philippines full independence. And that nation and people, far more populous and prosperous than in 1946, should take full custody of the defense of their own sovereignty and independence.

At the end of the Cold War, nationalists in Manila ordered the U.S. to vacate the great naval base we had built at Subic Bay. We should have used that expulsion to let the 1951 security treaty lapse.

Trump should not miss this opportunity.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2020

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  1. BuelahMan says:

    Poor Pat. Surely he knows that Trump has no intention, whatsoever, to give up anything. Not until his jew handlers instruct it, of course.

  2. melpol says:

    “President Donald Trump openly disagreed: “If they would like to do that, that’s fine. We’ll save a lot of money.””

    Filipino politicians are supporting their mistresses with under the table US dollars. If US military goes so does the dollars and the mistresses. Filipinos are hot and will ask Americans to stay.

  3. They need to kick this group of foreign agents out as well.

    We have 9 Noahide Synagogue located mostly in Mindanao and 2 others in Cebu and Leyte.
    We all totally left xtian and reject the man Jesus in full extent and embrace the ONENESS of Hashem.
    We proudly follow the 7 laws and accept the TORAH that it is true, and we humbly submit ourselves as a group to the guidance of Jewish people (Judaism).

    Israeli Government/ Netanyahu officially support Zionist Noahide evangelism.

    In 2018 the Israeli news service Haaretz published an article about a Noahide missionary organization in Israel called the “Noahide World Center” (

    The article states that the center has the official support of the Israeli government, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu. According to the article, Noahidism is subordinate to Judaism and some Rabbis are promoting the idea that the Noahides must accept that the Jews are not only spiritually superior but also racially superior to non-Jews, they must also recognize Zionism and the state of Israel..

    Members of one Noahide colony in the PHILIPPINES are quoted by scholars as saying that White Jews are the rulers of the world and are superior because they have the blood of the chosen people; the Noahides believe that Jews have five levels to their souls while non-Jews only have three and are animalistic, a flaw which can only be overcome by guidance from Jews.

    Indeed, some Rabbis openly proclaim the Noahide movement is a new form of racial colonialism and refer to the Noahides as the new “global south”. The leader of the Philippines Noahide Mission, Emmanuel Villegas, had his former Christian followers renounce Christianity and burn their Bibles; the practice of Christianity is punishable by death under Noahide Law (here). The project believes that this mission is part of the ushering in of the Zionist messianic age when Israel will become a theocracy with the support of the Gentiles. Prime Minister Netanyahu met with these Filipino Noahides personally and affirmed that the Noahide Laws are obligatory for all non-Jews. It is stated that The Temple Institute ( which receives funds from the Israeli government also supports Noahide evangelism.

    The Temple Institute follows the opinion that Jews are not to wait for the Messiah to build the Third Temple but are commanded to build it now on their own, despite the fact that the Temple grounds are currently occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock, which would obviously have to be removed to make way for building. Perhaps they are hoping to get (military?) help from converted Noahides to make this prophecy come true and usher in the Zionist age.

  4. Sulu says:

    I spent quite a bit of time in the Philippines in the last three decades. The national past time is cock fighting and alcoholism. The average Pinoy is brown, uneducated, not overly bright, and proud of his lack. He has never seen any other place but his own country and imagines the entire world must be hot, dirty, crowded, and squalid.

    The entire country is run by a couple dozen families and the highest form of Filipino is not the White/Pinoy but rather the Chinese/Pinoy. They run most of the big business there and tend to be more intelligent, more educated and more money savvy.

    There is nothing more humble than a poor Filipino and nothing so arrogant as a Filipino that is well founded. The worse boss for any Pinoy to work for is a much more wealthy Pinoy.

    Many of my First world friends that started businesses over there had the same complaint. Almost any Pinoy that you employed that handled any money would always try and find a way to put their hands into the till. And they are not smart enough to be honest thieves and take a fixed small amount. They would always steal more and more until it became so obvious that sometimes the entire staff of a bar would have to be replaced. If you had a business you had to watch them every minute or they would steal you blind.

    Duterte sounds like the typical Pinoy strongman. Those from Mindanao are little more that warlords that enforce their will with money and the barrel of a gun. I’m sure he doesn’t like the U.S. because he hates to be reminded that he is a very small and insignificant player on the world stage.
    As someone remarked recently the Philippines is like an old woman’s twat. Everyone know it’s there but no one gives a damn.

    If the U.S. withdraws from the Mutual Defense Treaty my advise to the Philippine people is to learn Chinese. Manila bay is the best harbor for 1000 miles. The Chinese put their bases close for a reason.


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