- Politics and Social Issues
The Philippines Wants America to Return
In 1991, American military presence was ousted from its key military base at Subic bay, America's largest naval facility west of Hawaii. Clark Air force Base was also shut down. In 1991, there was no reason for them to have the Americans based there, there was no threat. Freedom from the colonial power was addicting. China was still a backward country.
That has all changed in 2013. China a superpower just by sheer numbers, both economically and militarily, the Philippines are still just the Philippines. This is sort of like a family relative who has watched a child grow up and surpass them in fame and status. Thirty years is a lot of time and the once innocent 10 yr.old kid that the adult knew is now a power broker and the adult remains where he was doing the same thing.
With power and clout, China is exercising it little by little in the South China Sea in and around Scarborough Shoal, the area's most valuable resource of natural gas, oil and fishing grounds, which is within the 200-mile boundary of the Philippines. The Chinese should be staying out but they are claiming it as "open territory". Their ships make that clear. They plan to build facilities on the small rocky islands. At Reed Bank, also part of the Philippines, the Chinese ships have chased away oil and gas exploration ships.
China is a bully. To counter this, the Philippines now wants the American military to return to Subic bay and Clark AFB. But, to do this, the Philippines would have to reverse its own constitution that opposes foreign forces occupying parts of it, which is not likely. America is not that keen either, the cost is too much and because China is now second to the USA in many ways, it is a major regional power and both bases are easily within range of Chinese rockets. America is reluctant to provoke the already high tensions of the South China Sea area and basing America military assets in the Philippines might do that and drag the US into taking sides against China. China could do serious damage to America economically now, as they have bought much of the US debt in bonds etc.
America is not interested in returning to Subic Bay or Clark. The countries have a defense treaty and should China provoke the Philippines, America can base a squadron of aircraft instantly at Clark or has easy access to Subic Bay facilities. But the door does swing both ways, China needs America as much as America needs China, neither are willing to jeopardize this yet.
But one day, either may in the South China Sea cauldron.