This presentation will examine the prospect of transforming the Philippine-U.S. alliance into a security partnership. In the past, the Philippines doubted the U.S.’s often-repeated commitment to assist its ally because the 1951 Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) merely stipulated consultation rather than an automatic armed response in the case of an armed conflict. In mid-2011, the Aquino Administration asked for an unequivocal U.S. guarantee to defend the Philippines and its naval/air units deployed in the Spratlys. The Duterte Administration, however, has expressed its uncertainty over America’s willingness to back the Philippines militarily in any confrontation with China over disputed maritime claims. Early this year, President Duterte commented that an armed clash in the South China Sea would crush the Philippines because the involvement of American troops would make the conflict spiral out of control. This development, along with his decision to abrogate the 1997 Philippine-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), has generated a crisis in the alliance. To avert any crisis, the two allies can downgrade their alliance into a security partnership. In conclusion, the presentation will argue that should the Philippines consider this option, it must take into account the following: the consequence of losing the deterrence effect of the world’s most powerful armed forces; the impact on Philippine defense spending; effects on the ongoing AFP modernization program; and whether or not the Filipino nation will support this move.
This seminar will take place entirely on Zoom via its Webinar platform. This seminar will be on-the-record, recorded on Zoom, and live streamed to YouTube for sharing afterwards.
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