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The Cold War And U.S. Policy In The Philippines

3975 words - 16 pages

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed,” said by Martin Luther King while in Birmingham Jail on April 16, 1963. A quote easily related back to the Filipinos who struggled for independence from the United States during the Cold War. Influenced by the patronizing relationship with the United States throughout history, the economic and political evolution of the Philippines has been controlled by the dependence between the two allied countries. In 1898, the United States took special interest in the economic opportunities in the Philippines; it was en route to China, contained a hearty supply of sugar and rice, and most importantly, because of the fear of losing the Philippines to rival countries, Germany and Japan. With the United States’ interest in mind the Spanish agreed to cede the Philippines to America after a payment of 20 million dollars. Therefore, the U.S took back its promise of liberating the Philippines from being a colonized country. Angered by this betrayal, the Philippine Republic declared war on the US, commencing the American-Philippine war, which lasted from 1899 to 1902. In 1942, as the United States began establishing military bases in the Philippines, a communist guerrilla group named Hukbalahap (also known as the Huks)- began to branch out from only anti-Japanese activities to fighting against the American military. While fighting the Japanese, the United States found a way to also dismember the Huks by imprisoning high ranking members, mentally and physically torturing Filipino members, and passing laws in 1957 outlawing both the Communist party and the Huks in the Philippines. This sequence of events shortly followed the surrender of Huk Leader, Luis Taruk in 1954. Ferdinand Marcos, a man who was convinced that the Communists were to blame for the violence in the Philippines received an incredible amount of support from the US government and was then elected as president of the Philippines in 1965. Marcos quickly declared Martial Law in 1972 to obtain a longer presidential term, without a democratic vote from the people. Publically known for his corruption and selfish doings, The People Power Revolution overthrew Marcos in 1986, resulting in the Philippine Senate’s decision not to ratify a new base treaty. In 1992 Washington had to withdraw its forces from the Philippines, ending almost 100 years of American military presence in the Philippines. One can easily conclude America’s foreign policy towards the Philippines during the Cold War was based on the fear that the spread of communism and global dominance from the USSR would provoke the failure of the democratic systems the United States clandestinely installed in the Philippines. Furthermore, a communist presence would challenge the benefits the US received from the Filipino economy and its’ interest in the natural resources of the Philippines.
Long before the Cold War, the U.S involved itself in the...

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