A perfect agreement
‘Our commitment to defend the Philippines is ironclad.’
‘Allies never stand alone,’ said President Obama. True he did not declare war on China. Why should he? China has not attacked the Philippines which keeps running from a naval confrontation in what we claim is our territory. The US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty does not oblige either party to fight in place of the other when the latter is running away. The treaty does not cover disputed territories. Those are for Filipinos alone to resist their takeover. If the fight escalates to an attack on our main islands, the US 7th fleet will not need to steam toward China. American power will already be in place thanks to the perfectly crafted Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) of Voltage Gazmin. He should have crafted the Bangsa Moro sellout then it would be a deal instead.
In fact, the EDCA is too perfect. It contains language that increases the risk to Philippine sovereignty by spelling out that no nuclear arms shall be allowed in American access to facilities on Philippine bases. Hopefully, enhanced access includes prepositioned personnel in prepositioned facilities so that a foreign attack on Philippine bases will cause immediate American casualties. That will invite immediate America retaliation.
But sadly, the response won’t be nuclear. Somebody had the smart idea of dropping Cory Aquino’s brilliant solution to the ban on American nuclear weapons in Philippine territory. Her interpretation of the ban was “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Therefore the US need not confirm or deny the presence of its nuclear weapons in the country and this is a good thing.
It keeps potential enemies guessing which was the essence of deterrence in the Cold War which was successfully conducted by both sides because it never turned hot. For more on that, read Schelling on deterrence.
To be sure, the EDCA does not mention criminal jurisdiction over offensive sex by US servicemen but that is because the EDCA is limited to prepositioning; it does not include missionary positioning. Speed is the essence of the new US military doctrine. There is really no time to drop trousers; there is a constant state of readiness. If American servicemen want to taste the local produce, they can return as tourists and visit a KTV and bump into Filipino officials.