Author Topic: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?  (Read 1481 times)

adroth

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What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« on: October 29, 2016, 11:55:07 PM »
Administrator's note: See also Rebooting US-PH communications

As the Philippines contemplates its "independent diplomatic posture" and plays poker with its allies while simultaneously defusing tensions with the regional bully, it would do the country well to take stock of what is actually brings to the table for all parties concerned today . . .

. . . and what it needs to demonstrate that it can do in the future.

====

Losing the Philippines Won't Imperil U.S. Interests in Asia

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/losing-the-philippines-wont-imperil-us-interests-asia-18210?page=show

< Edited >

The reaction in the U.S. foreign-policy community to Duterte’s behavior has been a mixture of anger and alarm. Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Max Boot expresses an extreme version of the latter emotion, terming Duterte’s tilt to China as nothing short of a “disaster” for the United States. That kind of hysteria is, to put it mildly, an overreaction. Yet the conventional wisdom is scarcely better. American officials and most outside analysts seem to believe that, as annoying as Duterte’s flirtation with China (as well as his bloody domestic conduct) has been, the United States needs to grin and bear it. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, for example, steadfastly confirms that the alliance with Manila is “ironclad.” Cutting the Philippines loose would supposedly undermine U.S. credibility throughout East Asia, perhaps fatally.

That assumption is highly questionable. The Philippines is a minor ally, or more accurately, a U.S. security dependent. The importance of that relationship is certainly not on a par with that of a major ally, such as Japan. There is also considerable scholarship that casts doubt on the entire “general credibility” thesis. Rather, the credibility of each specific commitment depends on two key factors. First, how important is the issue at stake to the guarantor power and to the challenging power? Where there is a major imbalance in the intensity of interests, a commitment made by the power with a lesser interest lacks credibility. Where there is a parity of interests or the guarantor power has a greater interest, a commitment has the potential for high credibility. The other key factor is the balance of military forces, both in terms of quantity and quality.

The Philippines constitutes a relatively minor consideration by both measures. Yes, the islands provide a convenient staging area for U.S. air and naval forces to operate in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Western Pacific. But they are not essential for that purpose. After all, the U.S. military was excluded from the Philippines for two decades beginning in the early 1990s, and that development did not seem catastrophic to the U.S. Navy. Without any involvement by the Philippines, the United States has a major edge on Chinese forces, and although that gap is narrowing, the advantage is likely to persist yet for a decade or more.

< Edited >

LionFlyer

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 12:10:01 AM »
.. The Philippines is a minor ally, or more accurately, a U.S. security dependent. The importance of that relationship is certainly not on a par with that of a major ally, such as Japan. ..

The reality check, for those that insist that Philippines is a MNNA, like Japan and Pakistan. Being invited to the same table doesn't mean you get the same food.

adroth

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 12:20:04 AM »
Compare the stark difference in the US' statements about Chinese aggression with Japan and with their verbage with the Philippines

On Japan on the Senkakus

Quote
Obama: Senkakus Covered Under US-Japan Security Treaty
U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time, took a side on the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, backing Japan.
By Ankit Panda
April 24, 2014
     
http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/obama-senkakus-covered-under-us-japan-security-treaty/
 
U.S. President Barack Obama opened his four-country Asia tour with a first stop in Tokyo. In his first visit to Japan in three years, Obama focused heavily on reassuring Japan of the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The entire trip to Asia will largely focus on reassuring key U.S. allies of the America’s ongoing commitment to Asia as part of its larger strategic “rebalance” to the region.

In an interview ahead of his trip with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Obama said that the United States regards the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as falling under the purview of the U.S.-Japan security treaty and that the United States would oppose any attempt to undermine Japan’s control of the islands. “The policy of the United States is clear—the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” Obama stated in the Yomiuri Shimbun.

With the Philippines . . .

Quote
Aquino, Obama agree on Spratlys
By: TJ Burgonio / @TJBurgonioINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 01:22 AM November 19, 2011

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/18819/president-aquino-obama-agree-on-spratlys#ixzz4OYAUUOmY

< Edited >

The two leaders squeezed in a 30-minute meeting before noon Friday at the Grand Hyatt Bali hotel on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) annual summit, tackling maritime security, nuclear nonproliferation, disaster and humanitarian relief.

The Philippines is pushing to turn the disputed sea into a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation, which entails segregating disputed zones to allow free use and joint development of undisputed areas. This was  “noted” by other Asean countries.

Despite the cool response, Philippine officials saw a glimmer of hope, after some of its neighbors manifested the need to move forward with a Declaration of the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea and draw up a “binding set of rules” on the West Philippine Sea.

< Edited >

Paez said that while Obama made no commitment on the Manila proposal, Clinton clearly spelled out the US position  during her Manila visit early this week.

Stabilizing force

“She made clear the US position. The basic US position is for a multilateral and a peaceful resolution of the dispute. President Obama also noted the importance of the China-Asean Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea as a framework for tackling this matter,” she said.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2016, 12:49:03 AM by adroth »

adroth

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2016, 12:41:15 AM »
As Duterte plays the US against China, and even Russia (see here), it is important to ask

What does the Philippines REALLY brings to the table?

A failure to assess our relative value to either side could very well result in overplaying our hand.

====

« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 12:04:13 PM by adroth »

LionFlyer

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2016, 02:40:17 AM »
That question must be viewed from the perspective of China and the US.

For the US, the PCA ruling and formerly, a Government that is "on the same page" as them. It gives the US a reason to be here, conducting FONOPS and so on.  Given the lack of a pliant Government (and a pro China one to boot) and possible disinterest by incoming US Administration on the Asian Pivot, Philippines's value to the US is greatly diminished in the next 6 years.

For China, the possibility of setting back US Philippines ties and splitting ASEAN are the only reasons they are in. But the Chinese are not stupid to overinvest in this detente because it is at best, a 6 year timeout... Durterte is an aberration in Philippines political and socio-economic scene which is closely tied with the US.

I wonder, who is playing who? And is this just a six year thing? Remember, the Spratly / SCS issue have been hot and cold for the past two decades.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 02:53:11 AM by LionFlyer »

mamiyapis

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 10:29:03 AM »
The problem with most assumptions that the Philippines doesn't bring much to the table assumes the status quo will remain the same for the next few decades... which is a patently dangerous and short-sighted assumption for anyone looking at the issue. It's clear the first shots for an arms race in the SCS/WPS have already been fired... and whether the US wants to admit it or not, they are directly responsible for relegating the Philippines to minor ally status.

Outright refusal to sell us anything that will tip the scales or even just balance the odds is an obvious attempt by the US to maintain the status quo for just a little longer... which is actually rapidly deteriorating as the PLAN mounts a ship-building drive unheard of anywhere outside the Russian and US navies, while the PLAAF tries to modernize their Sukhoi fleet to -30 and -35 standard, while trying to build long-range stealth fighters using stolen US technology... while American attention is deeply focused on the Middle East and the boogeyman their own covert agencies
are responsible for creating.

So we looked elsewhere... and before the US could look back over it's shoulder properly, PNoy's government had begun a military build-up that forced their hand and revealed their non-readiness. The last ditch attempt at preventing the arming of the FA-50s and now seeming reluctance to supply us with anything is a dead tell.

Right now, US anger at the seemingly "ungrateful" Philippines' attempts at independent policy is simply looking like an ego trip. How dare the Philippines do anything aside from what we've previously assigned for it to do. How dare they mess up the escalation timeline for China. How dare they try to keep us from asserting control at the speed and trajectory of defense and foreign policy. The Philippines is just a log we have to carry. It's not worth it's weight. We might as well leave it to it's own devices. It ignores their own responsibility at giving a more headstrong leader little choice.

If that were all true, the US wouldn't have worked so hard to prevent GMA's Philippines from sliding into Chinese orbit. They wouldn't have literally kicked down the doors at joy when PNoy was elected and decided to go 100% with the United States' lead. Why ask for EDCA when we already had Balikatan? Why station attack subs in a minor ally's country? Why conduct FONOPS at all?

The US could have simply adjusted for the loss of the Philippines if these recent foreign policy articles are to be believed. They could have adjusted the First Island Chain to encompass Indonesia and extend naval patrols from Guam and Japan. They could have possibly worked out a deal with Papua New Guinea for basing or refueling/resupplying rights.

I believe it is the US that is overestimating it's leverage in the situation. Even ASEAN is already mocking the vaunted "Pivot to Asia" that simply moved a few token LCS and patrol aircraft to the region... when the US could have easily taken advantage of the burgeoning economies of it's regional allies to seriously re-arm and strengthen them, sending a clear message to Chinese aggression.

Instead, they chose to attempt an extension of the status quo and keep allied interests tied to US non-readiness. They clearly showed it is to keep the Philippines from starting a fight the US is not yet ready for at the moment. It is almost chest deep in the Middle East fighting and disintegration, that it's tied up a majority of it's special forces and aircraft there. The USAF and US Army is also tied up attempting to contain Russian aggression and assure European anxiety. So what forces can it spare for a major conflict that might arise in Asia?

horge

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2016, 11:06:19 AM »
Compare the stark difference in the US' statements about Chinese aggression with Japan and with their verbage with the Philippines

On Japan on the Senkakus

Quote
Obama: Senkakus Covered Under US-Japan Security Treaty
U.S. President Barack Obama, for the first time, took a side on the Senkaku/Diaoyu dispute, backing Japan.
By Ankit Panda
April 24, 2014
     
http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/obama-senkakus-covered-under-us-japan-security-treaty/
 
U.S. President Barack Obama opened his four-country Asia tour with a first stop in Tokyo. In his first visit to Japan in three years, Obama focused heavily on reassuring Japan of the United States’ commitment to the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The entire trip to Asia will largely focus on reassuring key U.S. allies of the America’s ongoing commitment to Asia as part of its larger strategic “rebalance” to the region.

In an interview ahead of his trip with Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, Obama said that the United States regards the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands as falling under the purview of the U.S.-Japan security treaty and that the United States would oppose any attempt to undermine Japan’s control of the islands. “The policy of the United States is clear—the Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands,” Obama stated in the Yomiuri Shimbun.

With the Philippines . . .

Quote
Aquino, Obama agree on Spratlys
By: TJ Burgonio / @TJBurgonioINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 01:22 AM November 19, 2011

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/18819/president-aquino-obama-agree-on-spratlys#ixzz4OYAUUOmY

< Edited >

The two leaders squeezed in a 30-minute meeting before noon Friday at the Grand Hyatt Bali hotel on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) annual summit, tackling maritime security, nuclear nonproliferation, disaster and humanitarian relief.

The Philippines is pushing to turn the disputed sea into a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation, which entails segregating disputed zones to allow free use and joint development of undisputed areas. This was  “noted” by other Asean countries.

Despite the cool response, Philippine officials saw a glimmer of hope, after some of its neighbors manifested the need to move forward with a Declaration of the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea and draw up a “binding set of rules” on the West Philippine Sea.

< Edited >

Paez said that while Obama made no commitment on the Manila proposal, Clinton clearly spelled out the US position  during her Manila visit early this week.

Stabilizing force

“She made clear the US position. The basic US position is for a multilateral and a peaceful resolution of the dispute. President Obama also noted the importance of the China-Asean Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea as a framework for tackling this matter,” she said.


IMO...
^That difference has less to do with "what we bring to the table" militarily, compared to Japan, and
more to do with the fact of recognized Philippine territory at the time when the US-PH MDT was inked,
said territory EXCLUDING what are now known as the Kalayaan Island Group; versus what was
recognized Japanese territory when the US-Japan treaty was inked, with said territory definitely
including the Senkakus.

It's recursive, really: if we actually HAD more to bring to a putative table, then we wouldn't have
lost sovereign territory as a starting point (Japan values U.S. assurances, but at least maintains
technical control of its territory).

WRT how the U.S. views us, or rather, views the prospect of "losing" us.
We are not actually an ally, simply because we bring ZERO defense capability to the table.
We are, however, a geographic asset in terms of global US interests.

Losing us to China, beyond the term of someone as erratic as Duterte, would be nothing short
of catastrophic for the US, because it breaches a technical containment of China. It is, at the
minimum, China's gain at US expense.


I tend to despise discussions like this because they can reduce Philippine aspirations as a nation
to a wishlist of material goods that can be milked from our relationships with other countries.

A nation has to be more than just selfish interests. Who we are as Filipinos, and who we aspire to
be, as Filipinos, has to transcend base concerns of survival, materialism, and a national immaturity
manifesting as jealousy, envy, pettiness and unreliability --that last one being lethal to any alliance
anyway.

What I am saying is that the values and morals that we hold dear have to count, and that nations
should ally with one another not just for "what they bring to the table" materially, but also for their
shared values and morals.







.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 12:54:51 PM by horge »

horge

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2016, 09:58:34 PM »
To support my contention that it is a legalistic matter (and even then, only after the
serving of US geopolitical interests), more than "what PH brings to the table", that
produces the contrast in US positions on the KIG dispute versus the Senkakus':

Quote
No, the US Won't Back South Korea Against Japan on Dokdo
http://thediplomat.com/2014/05/no-the-us-wont-back-south-korea-against-japan-on-dokdo/
As the Korea Herald opinion pieces mentions, a consequence of the United States standing by Japan
on Senkaku is that South Koreans are beginning to feel that the U.S.-South Korea alliance plays
second fiddle to the United States’ much more developed alliance with Japan. If this feeling persists
or proliferates in South Korea, the United States will find itself needing to do a lot more to “reassure”
the Koreans of Washington’s commitment to the alliance.



What SoKor "brings to the table" as a defense ally/partner, is significant,
both in terms of military capability, and as a geographic asset to US interests.

However, although the SK-US MDT was already in "final" form by January of 1954,
and was ratified the month after, it was nearly a year before it was actually put
into force (only on November 17, 1954).

The US had first required the attachment of an 'Understanding', specifying that:
Quote
"It is the understanding of the United States that neither party is obligated, under
Article III of the above Treaty, to come to the aid of the other except in case of an
external armed attack against such party; nor shall anything in the present Treaty
be construed as requiring the United States to give assistance to Korea except in
the event of an armed attack against territory which has been recognized by the
United States as lawfully brought under the administrative control of the Republic
of Korea."

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/kor001.asp

Combine the ^above-highlighted with the Van Fleet Report submitted October 4th
of 1954 (Gen. James Alward Van Fleet, as President Eisenhower's special envoy,
had been sent to the region to develop such reports, partly dealing in anticipated
territorial disputes between would-be US partners/allies), which says of "Dokto" /
"Taka Shima":


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PqBNyIUzJ_Q/UDSsaVen4hI/AAAAAAAAAVw/2QbvFkYK7tY/s1600/Ownership+of+Dokdo+Island.jpg

^That throws doubt on the LEGALITY of SoKor possession of Dokdo/Takeshima
(at least from the US point of view, and within the narrow context of Van Fleet's
interpretation), despite SoKor actively claiming possession of the islands at the
time of the inking and ratification of the SK-US MDT.

Japan wasn't even actively-protesting SoKor's claim at that time, yet the US was
already anticipating that Japan would have legal grounds to do so, in the future
.
There's your 'legalistic', for you.

Contrast this to KIG.
Unlike Dokdo/Takeshima, which SoKor was actively claiming possession of, at the
time of their MDT-signing with the US in 1954, KIG wasn't even being claimed by
PH when it was sealing its MDT with the US in 1951.

The KIG wasn't considered to be included in PH territory under the MDT, because
KIG wasn't yet considered PH territory by PH itself at that time... so how the hell
could the US ever be expected to be as vocally-protective --under MDT terms--
of PH claims to KIG, as the US has been of Japan's  to the Senkakus?

PH could first legalize its sovereignty over KIG, then the US might retro-interpret
the MDT to cover KIG. Or not, given the current risk (to the US) involved in taking
such a stance. Regardless, the US had been urging PH to take its claim to court,
but for decades, PH has dragged its feet (until very recently), for reasons that
are too nauseating (especially these days) to repeat for the nth time.

PH claim to KIG is quite strong, founded on patent res nullius, and on UNCLOS.
This claim however happens to post-date the MDT, hence the US position on KIG
is publicly one of neutrality, aloof of its ironclad MDT with PH.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 12:50:36 AM by horge »

Mokong

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2017, 07:44:16 PM »
Land on which to project forward presence.

El_Filibusterismo1978

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Re: What does the Philippines really bring to the table?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2017, 06:12:04 PM »
an Army trained on Western thought. Can absorb training if given the chance to get hold of some equipment..

Strategic base.. Majority of the population is pro-US crowd even if the President is "allegedly" a Pro-China puppet..