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Obama’s Pivot to Asia Hits a Roadblock in the Philippines
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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.

(Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, Duterte, Philippines 
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  1. First Turkey and the Philippines. Then Germany and Japan. Imperial Washington’s puppet states are abandoning a sinking ship.

  2. Roberto says:

    Well said Ron, very well said.

  3. woodNfish says:

    …will Washington begin to see that its aggressive foreign policy, in Asia and elsewhere, is beginning to alienate allies?

    These countries have only been our allies because we have bought their friendship with aid, bribes, technology, manufacturing and job transfers – essentially selling out the average amerikan for political gain. Fuck them and fuck the US government.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  4. Rehmat says:

    Nyeth – the only country which receives most American aid, bribes, technology, manufacturing and job transfers – essentially selling out the average American for political gain is Israel. F*ck them and f*ck the AIPAC, AJC, and ADL.

    Last year, thousands of protesters staged a sit-in outside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to protest against the Jewish Lobby aka AIPAC, representing over 50 pro-Israel American Jewish organizations, is holding its 3-day annual conference over US-Israel special relations.

    The protest was organized by CODEPINK, an anti-war female group. The organization’s statement said: AIPAC and affiliated organizations have long been bending politicians’ ears and filling their pockets, supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine and trying to push the US into war with Iran. Racism is the force that both helped to create and now helps to sustain and justify the brutal occupation of Palestine and the accompanying police state. Now is the time to connect the dots and challenge state-sponsored violence and racist police at home and abroad.

    Five activists Ariel Gold (Jewish), Dooler Campbell, Sierra Ramirez, Beth Harris (Jewish), and Karima Williams were all removed by police from the front of the Washington Convention Center while chanting Netanyahu: War Criminal! Free, free, Palestine!

  5. woodNfish says:

    the only country which receives most American aid, bribes, technology, manufacturing and job transfers – essentially selling out the average American for political gain is Israel.

    This is just another one of your jew-hating lies. Our elitist traitors have sold us out to canada, asia, mexico, brazil, and europe.

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  6. Rehmat says:

    You prove my experience with professional Zionist liars that presenting them with a truth is like talking to 9-ft thick holy Wailing Wall in occupied East Jerusalem.

    The Zionist regime has sucked more than $3,000 billions from US taxpayers so far. It receives $3 billion military aid annually from Pentagon. Obama just signed another $38 billion military aid to the kid-killer Jewish army.

    Israel receives more than 46% of total annual USAID – or $260 for every $1 it donates to African countries.

    The US taxpayers donate $8 MILLION A DAY to their own enemies in Israel.

    Canada and Brazil sells oil to United States which also the only consumer 80% of good produced in Canada. Canadians have better access to education, health-care, and social benefits than Americans. There is less poverty and unemployment in Canada in United states.

    • Replies: @woodNfish
  7. woodNfish says:

    Oh, I am no fan of Israel or jews in particular, but you are the top in your jew-hating obsession. Yeah, we subsidize Israel and we should stop. But, I haven’t seen a single Israeli lined up for an H1-B visa ever.

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