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In many countries in Asia, new forms of authoritarianism are on the rise. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte—a former mayor accused of organizing death squads and who promised to make the fish of Manila Bay grow fat from the bodies of drug dealers—won the presidential elections in 2016. In Thailand in 2014, a general who had favored cracking down on demonstrators led other military leaders in launching a coup against the democratically elected government.
Five years after the initial deployment, this report gathers the available information and evidence regarding this claim. It relies on publicly available information provided by US troops themselves who, in writing about their missions for military publications, have gone on record to describe their experiences in ways that cast their operation in a different light.
'At the Door of all the East': The Philippines in United States Military Strategy
This report seeks to document and explain why and how the United States has been attempting to re-establish its military presence in the Philippines in the period beginning in 2001. Diverging from the common explanation attributing increased US military presence in the country to the so-called “global war on terror,” this report instead locates US actions in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region in the larger context of the US’ objectives and strategy.
The self-avowed aim of the US is to perpetuate its position of being the world’s sole superpower in order to re-order the world. Its strategy to perpetuate its status is to prevent the rise of any rivals. To do this, it is seeking the capacity to deter and defeat potential enemies anywhere in the world by retaining and realigning its “global posture” or its ability to operate across the globe through its worldwide network of forward-deployed troops, bases, andaccess agreements. Today, the US believes that, of all its potential rivals, China poses the greatest threat and must therefore be contained before it becomes even more powerful.