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PH foreign policy and US wars of aggression

/ 05:04 AM January 29, 2020

Philippine foreign policy has failed to achieve any genuine and lasting sovereignty for our country and peoples since the Philippines gained formal independence on July 4, 1946. All of the governments elected to Malacañang since then have always pursued a fundamentally pro-US policy agenda. As such, Manila’s foreign relations framework has permanently been shackled to Washington’s strategic geopolitical interests around the globe. Thus, whenever America publicly declares who its global-enemy-of-the-year is, the Philippines instantly declares the same target, too—without thinking about the long-term consequences and implications to its national interests. Likewise, whenever the US, as an imperialist power, launches many criminally destructive wars of aggression worldwide, the Philippines always enlists itself in the American war camp to fight the latter’s foe. And whenever Malacañang unilaterally makes such a foreign policy decision, there is almost always no critical questioning by, or any significant debate in, the Philippine Senate—our country’s treaty-concurring legislative chamber and a Constitutionally-recognized foreign policy-making body.

Therefore, when President Duterte delivered a major speech on Philippine Foreign Policy in Russia last Oct. 3, observers were keen to take a much closer scrutiny at Manila’s latest external policy agenda to see if anything new and substantial could be expected. Presented under the title “World Order Seen from the East”, Mr. Duterte outlined Manila’s global outlook before the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think-tank, touching on: a) the need for fairness and equality for a stable global order; b) the need for a strengthened rules-based order; c) the need to uphold respect for state sovereignty, non-intervention and the peaceful resolution of disputes at all times; d) the need to look at the Middle East with fresh eyes, going beyond oil and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and to strengthen economic ties with this region; and e) the need to pursue genuine cooperation and non-alignment as a member of the Global South.

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In his foreign policy address, Mr. Duterte basically criticized the historically negative behavior of the US on the world stage, especially its biased treatment of smaller countries and Washington’s practice of double standards on a wide range of global issues and concerns. Thus, his open critique of Manila’s longtime ally in a major Russian city, and combined with his central foreign policy tenets (i.e. non-intervention, non-alignment, peaceful resolution of disputes, and genuine cooperation with other regions), certainly raised the fundamental question among some quarters of whether Manila is already beginning to break away from its historic alignment with Washington. Some international watchers perhaps feel that possibility is now slowly becoming a reality given the Duterte regime’s growing bilateral coziness with both Russia and China since 2016.

However, the ultimate answer to the question of the Philippines’ true stance in international affairs can basically be found through the contextual reality of external wars involving America. Unfortunately, this condition remains underpinned by Manila’s mistaken obligations to abide by its Cold War-era bilateral defense arrangements with the US. If these instruments of war are not abrogated by Manila, then we must expect the Philippines to forever be chained to US imperialist-led wars of aggression across the world.

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Hence, it was not a surprise to many when Mr. Duterte recently declared his decision to allow the “transit of US military aircraft” on their way to Iran in relation to Tehran’s escalating war with Washington. Once again, Manila revealed its true pro-US character to the world in reaction to America’s state-terrorist assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month. And so once more, the Philippines failed to advance a truly independent, sovereign and cooperative foreign policy course for our people’s future.

Rasti Delizo is an international affairs analyst. He is currently a vice president of the socialist labor center Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and the national coordinator of Laban ng Masa, a socialist political center.

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TAGS: Overseas Filipino Workers, Philippine foreign policy, US, Valdai Discussion Club
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