New stage of US domination after Marcos-Biden meet
The recent Marcos visit and meeting with US president Biden cemented the US strategy of using the Philippines as its military outpost in the Asia-Pacific. This forms part of its intensified imposition to strengthen its hegemony through expanded military presence in the region. It also serves as a historical juncture in reinforcing the status of the Philippines as a US semicolony.
The visit comes a few weeks after Marcos completely acceded to the US plan to build four more (in addition to the existing five) military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), and a few days after the US military held the Balikatan war exercises in the Philippines in one of the biggest show of force in recent years.
Biden expressed extreme satisfaction with Marcos cooperation with the US geopolitical strategy. He told Marcos, he “couldn’t think of a better partner to have than you.” This is an unequivocal endorsement of Marcos’s fascist and corrupt regime and support for his brutal war of suppression. In return, Marcos assured the US that the Philippines will serve as one of the key link in the First Island Chain strategy of the US to encircle China and provoke an armed conflict.
During the visit, the Marcos and US governments forged the US-Philippine Bilateral Defense Guidelines (BDG). This reaffirmed the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), the EDCA and other unequal military agreements. It further ties the Philippines to the foreign and defense policies of the US. Enemies of the US become enemies of the Philippines. This marks further US control and domination of the Philippines. In addition, other agreements and programs were formed that aim to strengthen US domination in the economic and cultural fields.
In the Guidelines, the US reiterates “support for AFP modernization” which long has served to perpetuate Philippine military dependence on the US. This serves US aims of securing the loyalty of military generals through fat kickbacks in government military purchases. Through this program, the US dumps severely outdated and worned out US military hardware for counterinsurgency.
The Guidelines also aims to “institutionalize defense priorities” to strengthen “interoperability” which means enhancing US command and control of the AFP. The Balikatan exercises and the hundreds of training exercises being conducted by the US and AFP year-round all seek to effectively turn the Philippine military into an adjunct of the US military.
The Marcos visit also served to further propel US dominance over the Philippine economy and aggressively urge American big capitalists to invest and earn profits in the country by exploiting cheap labor and taking advantage of tax-free operations and other Marcos perks. Big bourgeois compradors who accompanied Marcos offered their services as partners for US capitalists, including manufacturers of modular nuclear reactors to invest and experiment with their untested technology.
The US government also announced plans to spend large amounts of money to expand programs that aim to inculcate the Pax Americana worldview among Filipinos, especially among the Filipino students and youth. Over $100 million will be spent in the next ten years to expand scholarship programs such as the Fulbright, student exchanges, “youth leadership trainings,” and organizing “friendship societies,” as well as USAID programs for curriculum development, faculty training, educational infrastructure building, and so on. This amount represents globally one of the US’ biggest funding for to expand and intensify its campaign to colonize the minds of the Filipino people.
The Marcos visit to the US was justly condemned by the Filipino people’s patriotic and democratic forces. They exposed Marcos’ subservience to the US and denounced his connivance with the US hegemonic schemes to strengthen and project military power in Asia. They denounced the US for provocations of interimperialist military conflict with China which risk involving the Philippines into a war against its own interest and putting into danger the Filipino people’s lives and freedom.
The military bases being built by the US in the Philippines under the EDCA, as well as other secret or undisclosed facilities, are gross representations of US intervention and domination. It is rousing the Filipino people’s patriotic outrage. They are becoming even more keen about the long-standing lopsided relationship between the US and the Philippines—one between an imperialist power and a subjugated country, which has existed since the US “granted” the Philippines nominal independence in 1946, after close to half a century of colonial rule.
For close to eight decades now, the Philippines has been a semicolony. In connivance with local big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, US monopoly capitalists have plundered the country’s wealth and resources and condemned the Philippines to a state of economic backwardness and dependence. The neocolonial or semicolonial status of the Philippines has been perpetuated through a slew of disproportionate economic, trade and military agreements and through the force of armed suppression using its client-state.
There is a rising patriotic demand for the abrogation of the MDT, VFA, EDCA, as well as the Bilateral Defense Guidelines and all unequal military treaties, which bind the Philippines to US foreign and war policy.
The Filipino people, especially the Filipino youth, must continue to fight for genuine national freedom and democracy and struggle to put an end to the economic, political, and military status of the Philippines as a US semicolony. They must persevere along the national democratic path of resistance which several generations of Filipinos have marched on, in order to achieve the Filipino people’s aspiration for national and social liberation.