The US is cultivating an antagonist to China in Beijing’s own backyard — RT World News

Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the president of the Philippines, is a stark contrast to his predecessor — and plus, Washington has bad things for him

by Timur FomenkoPolitical analyst

The Philippines has been a treaty ally of the United States since 1951, almost as long as it has been an independent country. Before that, it was a colony of the United States, acquired as spoils of war from Spain. For this reason, it is difficult to describe the Philippines as anything but unabashedly pro-American.

But in the past few years, it has taken a different path. Under the presidency of the very outspoken and outspoken Rodrigo Duterte, the archipelago has become more geopolitically ambiguous in its foreign affairs, and has sought closer ties with Russia and China, while remaining friendly with the United States.

This is unusual “hedging” It was part of Duterte's strategy to adopt a more centralized approach to governing the country, which suffers from high levels of poverty, crime and chaos. A hawk, Duterte also saw an economic opportunity in cozying up to Beijing, despite contentious disputes over the South China Sea. His relationship with Washington deteriorated during this period, as it did not actually contribute anything to the country’s development despite post-colonial American repression. “sovereignty”. Instead, Duterte opted for the Belt and Road Initiative and sought to bolster the islands with Chinese investment.

However, just a year or so after Duterte's departure, the Marcos family's return to power saw Manila effectively make a 180-degree turn in its foreign policy, moving from being a supporter of Beijing to an effective opponent of the country for its own good. United States again. Ferdinand Macross Jr., also known as “wall,” He is the son of Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the Philippines as a right-wing, anti-communist dictator from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. The family was notorious for corruption and theft of national assets for personal gain, but it escaped punishment precisely because it was unequivocally pro-American. During the Cold War, Washington supported figures who practiced any brutality as long as they were anti-communist.

Bong Bong, like his father, is not innocent, and was elected President of the Philippines as a compromised man at the mercy of the United States. Ironically, he is facing trial in the United States under a court order He demands that he pay $353 million to the victims of his father's regimeTherefore, he cannot enter the country. What does this translate politically? Influence on behalf of Washington. It is noteworthy that the American authorities did little to implement the ruling or confiscate the assets of Marcos or his family for diplomatic reasons. What's the trade-off here? It is clear that as long as Bongbong directs Philippine foreign policy where the United States wants it, Washington will look the other way when it comes to the court order against him.

It is not at all surprising that, upon coming to office, Marcos Jr. would initiate a radical turn in the country's stance toward China, dramatically escalating tensions with Beijing. While the Duterte administration sought to keep things quiet over the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, Marcos Jr. deliberately antagonized Beijing, overstepped boundaries, and drew international attention to the situation, provoking the United States to say it would defend the Philippines in the event of a conflict. . Likewise, dozens of senior American officials visited the country As part of a sweeping American witch offensive.

But not only that, he agreed to increase the number of bases the United States has access to in the Philippines, congratulated Taiwan's president-elect, and reduced Manila's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative by canceling a number of projects. Instead, he sought a relationship with Japan as an alternative. For China, with the United States, Japan and the Philippines A tripartite summit of leaders is scheduled to be held for the first time. In short, the Philippines has gone from a China-friendly state in Southeast Asia to a more hostile one with ease, a position that is difficult to take, given the country's relative economic weakness and trade dependence on China.

For China, this situation is a headache and there are no easy answers. This is because Beijing has a firm and uncompromising stance on the South China Sea, most of which it claims as its own. The rigidity of this position not only clashes with Southeast Asian countries, but also creates a political wedge that is easy for the United States to exploit. China makes itself look weak if it backs down, and US policy is of course to incentivize such countries to actively resist Beijing and give them military support to do so. So how can China repair its relations with the Philippines? Perhaps it should simply avoid creating a crisis and wait until a president friendlier to Beijing is voted in, because Marcos Jr. is quite clearly a compromising politician, with Washington able to exploit his weakness and his family's disastrous legacy to its own advantage. .

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RT.

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