Clark and Subic: Projecting US Power into the Gulf

Stephen R. Shalom


Despite the high cost and meager benefits of United States (US) military bases to the Philippines, some argue that the facilities should not be dismantled. According to this view, the Clark and Subic bases may not be necessary to protect the Philippines, but they do enable the United States, with its vast military power, to protect peace and freedom in other lands. Thus, Filipinos should be willing to host the US bases for the greater good. This paper argues that there are a number of problems with this argument. First, there are very few nations that welcome US military bases, because of the high cost of keeping these bases. Second, the US government refuses to give the Philippine government veto powers over the bases' operations. Third, these bases have been used to provide logistic support in battles against movements that fight for peace and freedom, the very principles that the US supposedly seeks to protect. The US intervention in the conflicts located in the Persian Gulf are supposed to show that US bases on foreign soil are necessary to prevent Third World conflicts from escalating into worldwide catastrophe. However, the intervention of the United States military in what became the Gulf War did not lead to the resolution of the war's underlying causes. Instead, the United States aggravated the human costs of the conflict. Withdrawing the US bases from the Philippines would limit the capacity of the US to intervene in the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, which in turn would enhance peace and justice throughout the world.

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