Last week I wrote about the potential for the Obama administration’s Asia-Pivot strategy to inflame anti-colonialist sentiment. I lamented that Washington tries simply to get around this popular opposition to the military surge in East Asia instead of acknowledging that people don’t like to be occupied by foreign militaries.
Cynically, the U.S. has exploited the suffering of the typhoon in the Philippines in order to gain leverage in negotiations with Manila over increased U.S. military presence there. The relief operations performed by U.S. forces are seen as helping to “lubricate” the deal for basing rights, which are one piece of a broader plan to contain a rising China.
According to Robert Farley at The Diplomat, the process of “establishing forward U.S. bases in the Philippines…has moved slowly, largely because of domestic concerns in Manila about a military U.S. presence.”
“Fortunately for U.S. strategic interests (if not the victims of the storm),” Farley writes, “the U.S. Navy’s support in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan may win sufficient goodwill to overcome local opposition to a renewed U.S. military role.”