Monday, April 28, 2014

Perhaps We Were Hasty

After ejecting us from our large air and naval bases in the Philippines after we won the Cold War (and we left without a fuss), the Philippines has reconsidered that decision. We want more places to be forward staging areas for operating in the western Pacific. We aren't restoring the Cold War situation, but then, this isn't the Cold War.

We will have access to Filipino bases on a more consistent basis:

The United States and the Philippines have reached a 10-year agreement that would allow a larger U.S. military presence in this Southeast Asian nation as it grapples with increasingly tense territorial disputes with China, White House officials said Sunday.

Two Philippine officials confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press before the White House announcement.

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement would give American forces temporary access to selected military camps and allow them to preposition fighter jets and ships. It will be signed Monday at the main military camp in the Philippine capital, Manila, before President Barack Obama arrives on the last leg of a four-country Asian tour, following earlier stops in Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

And the Philippines has a visible sign of our friendship. Thinking that the demise of the Soviet Union meant the end of all threats to the Philippines failed to account for a future rising China.

While this will help with reacting to natural disasters, the main point is to deter China from aggression or, failing that, increase our ability to defeat Chinese aggression.

This is a diplomatic success for the Philippines and for us. Let's hope that neither natural nor man-made disasters require us to use these bases in a crisis.