PH foreign policy and the Western Alliance | Inquirer Opinion

PH foreign policy and the Western Alliance

In an earlier article (“The cost of an independent foreign policy,” 03/04/20), I discussed how to achieve an independent foreign policy through neutrality. There is a second way to pursue such a policy under the current world order. During the Cold War, the world was divided into the Western Alliance and the Warsaw Pact. Since we had the Hukbalahap insurgency after World War II, we became a member of the Western Alliance.

In spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, our security arrangements in the present world order is still based on the Western Alliance. This alliance has four levels :


Countries with their own nuclear deterrents — US, Great Britain, and France;

Developed countries without nuclear weapons;


Third World countries including the Philippines; and

Fourth World countries

In the current Western Alliance, only two countries (besides the United States) are in group A: Britain and France. They can claim an independent foreign policy since they have their own nuclear deterrent and do not need the US nuclear umbrella.

Group B countries are advanced economies and can fight conventional wars. They manufacture all the sophisticated armaments needed to fight a conventional war. However, they do not possess nuclear weapons, although many can fabricate them in short order. These countries depend on the US nuclear umbrella. They have voluntarily accepted the limitations of foregoing an independent foreign policy by not acquiring nuclear weapons.

Group C countries, to which we belong, are developing countries. All the countries in this group have limited arms manufacturing capability. They can make small arms. Although most of them can maintain internal order, they are not capable of fighting a conventional war without allies. Most of the countries in this group are not nuclear-capable.

The Group D countries are the trouble spots in the world. Some of them cannot maintain internal order, and thus are safe havens for terrorists. Some survive only through intervention by the UN forces or by their former colonial rulers. The French have been propping up some of their former colonies in Africa through periodic interventions. Some of the countries in this group are failed states like Somalia, Afghanistan, the Sudan, and others mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In discussing independent foreign policy, one can see that we do not have the resources or the technology to pursue such a policy. To achieve this goal, we have to acquire nuclear weapons like Britain and France.


Evidently, our countrymen advocating an “independent foreign policy” have not considered the costs involved. Moreover, an independent foreign policy is not an end; it is a meaningless goal if we cannot maintain our sovereignty. We are headed in that direction if we scrap our Mutual Defense Treaty with the US without increasing defense expenditures. Thus, our countrymen advocating an “independent foreign policy,” since it is beyond our means, is in reality pursuing an “anti-American policy.” Once we sever our defense ties with the US, they claim we have an independent foreign policy. But the survival of our country is not addressed at all. Meaning, that while we cut our dependence on the US, we could end up as the 23rd province of China.

Our pronouncements about pursuing an independent foreign policy has no logic. Even wealthy First World countries like Germany, Japan, Italy, Canada, etc. have accepted limitations on their foreign policy by not building nuclear weapons. They have decided that the massive costs of acquiring nuclear weapons is not commensurate with the goal of pursuing an independent foreign policy. Thus, the independent foreign policy our officials are claiming could be labeled as “yabang diplomacy.” Our countrymen should be wary of such claims. It is akin to a poor guy who insists on joining a polo club.

* * *

Hermenegildo C. Cruz, a retired career ambassador, holds a Master of Arts degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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TAGS: Commentary, Hermenegildo C. Cruz, independent foreign policy, PH foreign policy
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