Obama Plans to Expand Military In The Philippines

U.S. and Philippine officials are expected to agree on an increase in the number of U.S. military ships, aircraft and troops rotating through the Philippines, Filipino officials said, as tensions simmer with China over its maritime claims.

According to the Diplomat, the United States

“has reportedly agreed to substantially increase its military presence in the Philippines, increasing the number of troops, aircraft and ships which routinely rotate through the country. Details surrounding the scale of the increase were not made public but Pio Lorenzo Batino, the Philippines deputy defense minister said policy consultations were also held on a framework that would allow Washington to bolster military equipment in-country as well.”

The size of the increase in the U.S. military assets in the Philippines, a former U.S. colony, was unclear.

But it comes as the Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have seen a resurgence of U.S. warships, planes and personnel under Washington’s so-called “pivot” in foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia announced last year.

U.S. and Philippine officials say there is no plan to revive permanent U.S. military bases in the Philippines – the last ones were closed in 1992 – and that the increased presence would help provide relief during disasters such as a typhoon last week that killed more than 700 people.

“The increase rotation presence is in areas where we have been traditionally exercising,” said Sorreta. “There are other areas for example where we have been experiencing more disasters. So we might be expanding exercises there.”

One U.S. official said Washington was not ready to wade directly into the territorial dispute in the South China Sea and instead would focus on strengthening security ties with long-standing allies such as the Philippines.

It is rather obvious to the world why we are making this deal with the Philippines. But, of course, the United States is pretending this is all about humanitarian help.

“Increased U.S. support would also serve The Philippines when struggling against natural disasters, which occur quite frequently. Typhoon Bopha was the most recent, claiming more than 900 lives as it swept across the southern Philippines last week. Both Manila and Washington seemed to emphasis the humanitarian nature of the increased U.S. presence in the country, likely in an effort to assuage China’s inevitable concern,” according to the Diplomat report.

I am sorry for the Philippines suffering in natural disasters, but we have our own disasters to worry about. And it is not the responsibility of the US Armed Forces to help other countries with natural disasters. And it isn’t clear how bolstering “military equipment in-country” would be necessary for this sort of humanitarian aid.

When we look out over the world and read the news, one wonders if it would be simpler to list the countries where we aren’t sending troops. Here we are in the middle of an economic crisis, and facing the need to make massive spending cuts, yet Obama is committed to encircling China. This has been a fixation of his, as BBC reported last year, on Obama’s speech in Australia:

“The Asia-Pacific region is now a ‘top priority’ of US security policy, President Barack Obama has said in a speech to the Australian parliament. Mr Obama insisted US spending cuts would not affect the Asia-Pacific, saying the US is ‘here to stay.’ His comments are seen as a challenge to China, which is striving to be the main power in the region. Mr Obama announced a plan on Wednesday to station a full US Marine task force in Australia by 2016. The measure will eventually see 2,500 US personnel based in the north of the country.”

Why are we insisting in involving ourselves in far away nations and provoking China? Why aren’t we cutting back and bringing the troops home in order to reduce the deficit?

I have no fondness for Chinese communist government, but the United States’ impending debt collapse is far more of a serious national security threat than anything on that side of the Pacific.

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