Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Philippine Geopolitics

The Philippines sits between Asia and the Pacific Ocean. From a barrier against Typhoons where its citizens facing its wrath to being a strategic location of geopolitical control, this nation is something any superpower will have its hands on.

In the West Philippine Sea lies natural resources that make this nation
Since 1521, where the whole country was discovered by an adventurer with the name of Ferdinand Magellan, this nation is already is significant so as being strategic in the sense of trade that benefit the country which colonizes the Philippine islands. That is, the then-great Spanish Empire where all trade, vital products from China and the other East Indie territories are successfully sent to Europe via the Manila-Acapulco trade as well as European made commodities being sent back to the East. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

After the Spanish-American war, where the weak and weary Spanish relinquish its rights of the Philippine territories to the United States, started the power projection of this nation in which it will be a superpower soon. Like the Spaniards, the United States benefited on the trade as well as gathering resources in the country while educating the locals its language and form of government in return. It was like the same as the Spaniards introducing Christianity and culture to the people in which it still bears to this day. The United States sees the Philippines as the gateway to Asia since it is the only colony the Americans have in the Ease. And there then, something terrible happened. World War 2 sparked by Hitler attacking Poland which it doesn't bother the US too much until the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Philippines was attacked by the Japanese thereafter as part of its aim of East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The nation became vital since it is also the transit of products from other occupied territories in the south to Japan. It was then in 1944 where MacArthur landed in Leyte that it gives the sign that the Philippines will slowly be liberated until 1945, at the near end of the war. 

Since its independence, its strategic importance is so important that the discussion will be focused just there. And with the present situations getting up as well as the situations throughout the Cold War, it might as well worthy to be discussed considering that the nature of these things are vital to any other players there is in the area.


The analysis with regards to this nation about its nature as a strategic nation is indeed that mainstream where the recent actions made by the present administration shows that the influence of each and every decision the president will make is detrimental to the power play in the area, much to the dismay to the allies like the United States.

Suffice to say, the country served as one of the front-line main bases of the United States in the Southeast Asia at the time of the Cold War where the communist infestation is on the rise. Note unto that the communist uprising within the country which it makes it detrimental to the then-President Ferdinand Marcos to declare Martial Law.

Speaking of front-line main bases, we are talking about Subic Bay and Clark Air Bases. These areas are in which considered as a supply station for the United States for the Vietnam War. One is indeed afraid that a domino effect will take place if the war will be lost. However, that is not the case there. South Vietnam fall into the communist hands in 1975 and became reunited with the North to become one. More unto that, the bulk of South Vietnamese fleet sailed to the Philippines in the Subic Bay which later on these ships integrated in the Philippine Navy. What an instant upgrade so to suffice.

Now, let us proceed to what is happening today. The President declares separation from the United States in terms of military and trade, and instead focusing on partners from China, Japan, and several European countries for the aim of so-called independent foreign policy. Many people from several outlets, some are deemed toxic, have said that such actions made him as a good statesmen and also makes the world noticeable on the country in Southeast Asia, a third world country that is developing in a geographical location where as seen on the map can be seen as strategic in terms of trade just like the old days. Not to mention that such recent actions may affect the relations between the Philippines and its old longstanding ally the United States in which until today, the effect is still about to take place. Hence, it does not dismiss the fact that the Philippines still play the key role with regards to geopolitics. Amazing, isn't it?

Speaking of military terms, on the status quo of the area under the previous administration, the Philippines can be seen as the part of the United States' plan of containing China considering its encroachment in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea area wherein claimants like China and the Philippines are included. Seeing into these things up, it was then a tough stance where up to the point that no fishermen are allowed in the Scarborough Shoal at that time. All of that changed since the Charm Offensive was initiated with China, dragging Russia as well that in this block they can see some kindness --somewhat several people will never agree on the stance since one can say it is as deceiving as it can be. Setting these political play aside, we can clearly see the involvement of three most powerful nations of the earth having this never-ending interest having the Philippines as a great area for controlling the whole region. Why do we say so? The South China Sea/West Philippine Sea is where the trading vessels have pass which can be considered a trade route to many. It was much like the Strait of Hormuz controlled by Iranians, Malacca Strait being a probable choke point as well as having Suez and Panama Canals controlled by Egypt and Panama respectively. These are considered as the bloodline of the world where, in the case of the Philippines, especially its western and northern part, is the area where commodities like oil and other necessities passes where China, South Korea, and Japan rely on. More unto that, some of those commodities even reaching the west coast of the United States which gives the insight of the so-called international trade or globalization per se, where nations are interconnected one over the other.

One could argue that Philippines isn't that strategic at all considering that countries such as the United States have other nations to do the job of having containing the so-called Chinese aggression plus deployment of troops and equipment in the event a war flares up. Not to mention that there are several, if not many, long-range bomber aircraft and missiles that would not render any strategic areas to set unlike the way it was way back the second world war. Speaking of other nations, there are closer-than thou allies that will work along the way like Japan and South Korea and several nations that may allow entry of United States like Vietnam, Indonesia, and Singapore. However, the counter-argument here is that once the Chinese have their hands on the Philippines, that will mean loss of control of the South China Sea area as well as having better access into the Pacific, something that the US will never let happen.

Moreover, what is happening in the recent days is undoubtedly a geopolitical game which it can be equated to either chess or poker. Vladimir Putin of Russia plays the game, so does the outgoing president Barack Obama as well as Xi and. The uncertainties are now there is, in the limelight of the US Presidential Elections, but looking back to the topic, a glimpse in the map can definitely define the importance of the country as a strategic area for trade and conflict.


Given the analytical points, it is deemed suffice to say that the Philippines, as what once proven in the past is indeed a strategic place where in connection to Geopolitics, influence of one over the other is seem to get heightened up in the sense that people are competing to the ultimate control in the area. But then again, one thing is certain. That is, its citizens will definitely wanted to improve the nation in the sense that charting a course in the so-called independent foreign policy is keen important. With the local geopolitics as an ace in the game, it is ascertain that such ideas and decisions the leaders have made with the importance of strategic areas given will definitely change the so-called status quo in the region that might affect globally.


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