Monday, September 21, 2009

2010 Philippines Elections

Jockeying is beginning for the 2010 Philippines elections, as Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's term is ending. One key candidate to watch is defense minister Gilberto Teodoro. He is Ivy League educated, like Arroyo, and is the most U.S.-establishment friendly candidate on the slate. He has built up close ties with the U.S. military during his tenure, and is a firm supporter of 'lily-pad' bases in the country. U.S. troops at these bases are training commandos in the Philippines army to fight against Muslim "terrorists" (i.e., other Filipinos) on Mindanao and Jolo. But in reality, they are also part of a strategy to counter China's influence on the island and in the Spratly's. For instance, two of the richest men in the Philippines - both billionaires - are of Chinese descent. And the Spratly Islands are thought to have significant amounts of untapped oil reserves; they are claimed by almost every country in South East Asia, most especially by China in their quest for energy resources.

Again, this is the case of the U.S. using its last bastion of dominance as a trump card to offset its economic decline. One could see a similar type of political figure emerge in a country like Pakistan, where U.S. special opps are training elite segments of the Pakistani army.

1 "Philippines' ruling party names Teodoro as presidential candidate" - AFP
2 "Group fears US bases return under Teodoro " - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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