To understand the contemporary geopolitical significance of the Republic of China, Vijay Prashad says it is necessary to examine Cold War history.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines met with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Malacañang Palace in Manila on Feb. 2, where they agreed to expand the U.S. military presence in the country.
In a joint statement, the two governments agreed to “announce their plans to accelerate the full implementation of the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement” (EDCA) and “designate four new Agreed Locations in strategic areas of the country.”
The EDCA, which was agreed upon in 2014, allows the U.S. to use land in the Philippines for its military activities. It was formulated almost a quarter of a century after U.S. troops vacated their bases in the Philippines — including a massive base at Subic Bay — during the collapse of the U.S.S.R.
At that time, the U.S. operated on the assumption that it had triumphed and no longer required the vast structure of military bases it had built up during the Cold War.
From the 1990s, the U.S. assembled a new kind of global footprint by integrating the militaries of allied countries as subordinate forces to U.S. military control and building smaller bases to create a much greater reach for its technologically superior airpower.
In recent years, the U.S. has been faced with the reality that its apparent singular power is being challenged economically by several countries, especially China. To contest these challenges, the U.S. began to rebuild its military force structure through its allies with more of these smaller, but no less lethal, bases.
It’s likely that three of the four new bases in the Philippines will be on Luzon Island, at the north of the archipelago, which would place the U.S. military within striking distance of Taiwan….