I recently returned from a two-week trip to the Philippines. While there I toured most of the Northern part of the Island of Luzon, the country’s largest and most populated island. While there I learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world desperately needs the United States of America. Many will call me presumptions and accuse me of elitism; people on the left will vehemently oppose it because they are staunchly anti-American; some on the right will bring up isolated incidents or conspiracies laced with some trivial facts to prove otherwise. But, all those aside, the world does need the U.S. It has stood as the world’s bastion of freedom and prosperity. If it falls, all other free people scattered across our small planet will also fall. They will become victims to tyranny, anarchy, enslavement, and bondage. It would be inevitable!
It was the island of Luzon that the Japanese attacked ten hours after they bombed Pearl Harbor. The Japanese intended to spend fifty days taking the Philippines. After successfully capturing it, they intended to extend their reach over the entirety of the South Pacific all the way to Australia. It was an aggressive strategy that could have proved extremely beneficial for the expanding Japanese Empire.
After landing in Luzon, they captured Manila, the country’s capital and largest city, within thirty days. Most U.S. and Filipino forces had retreated to the Bataan Peninsula. It appeared the Japanese were well on their way to completing their six month, blitzkrieg campaign to dominate the Southern Seas. But, they didn’t expect the Battling Bastards of Bataan to prove such trouble even when faced with insurmountable odds. The abandoned American and Filipino soldiers held the peninsula for an additional three months.
They surrendered April 9, 1942, after a long and beleaguered battle against a ruthless enemy who knew no mercy. It was only after exhausting all supplies, food, and ammo, and losing all hope of any reinforcements or aid, due to the European campaign, that they surrendered. It was and still is the largest American and Filipino surrender in history. Major General Edward King, who commanded the soldiers on Bataan went against General McArthur’s orders and wishes. He believed he was the saving the lives of almost 75,000 young soldiers under his command. He had no idea the infamous Bataan Death March would ensue!
Despite the fall of Bataan, the largest contingent of troops in the area, the Japanese would not control the remainder of the Philippines for another month. The courage, tenacity, ferocity, bravery, loyalty, endurance, and honor of those soldiers bought the United States precious time delaying the Japanese Pacific campaign. Had the Japanese completed their campaign on schedule, the outcome of World War II could have been drastically different! Furthermore, if the Filipino people did not have the help and assistance from the U.S. it surely would have fallen. Without the United States of America and its indefatigable soldiers there would have been no hope.
Following World War II the United States and the Philippines shared a friendly and cordial relationship. In 1946, the U.S. relinquished sovereignty to the Philippines, but maintained a military presence on the island at many bases and ports through a lease agreement. Subic Bay Naval Port, near Olongapo, Zambales, was one of our most strategic positions in the South Pacific. A 1985 article from the Executive Intelligence Review described the port, “Subic Bay is perhaps the most defensible natural deep water harbor in the world. It is surrounded by a natural fortification of hills. Saipan and Guam, on the other hand, are simply flat islands which would be finished off with just one or two ICBMs. Australia is too far away to even be considered as a serious alternative.
“Pearl Harbor, Hawaii cannot be competently considered as an alternative either. It cannot handle U.S. submarine capabilities, either from an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) or a communications standpoint. Moreover, the repair facilities for U.S. Trident submarines, if Subic Bay were lost, would be pushed all the way back to Bremerton, Washington” (Goldstein, 1985).
Unfortunately, in 1992 the U.S. left the Philippines after the Filipino senate refused to ratify a ten year extension. The extension would have garnered them an additional two billion dollars in aid plus the economic infusion from the local jobs created.
Why, pray tell, were we kicked out? Had they forgotten the sacrifices of WWII? Were they no longer relevant? Had the U.S. raped and pillaged the country and occupied civilian quarters? No, in fact that had nothing to do with it. Many people, especially the older generations, were still very appreciative of America’s sacrifice on their behalf. They detested the ruthless Japanese and recounted stories of the Japanese raping their women and slaughtering their children. Many tell of watching Japanese soldiers throwing infants in the air and bayonetting them on their way down.
The Truth of the Matter is the fact that those in power fell into a false sense of security. They had forgotten the sacrifices and the evil that does exist in the world!
The decision not to extend the lease occurred on December 27th and 28th 1991. This was not even a week after the USSR completely dissolved, giving the world the appearance and security that the West had won the Cold War. If the West won, there was no enemy to impede the spread of freedom across the world. Furthermore, as the LA Times highlighted, the Philippines constitution had been altered. Its alteration banned nuclear weapons at Subic Bay. While we would never confirm nor deny their presence the fact remained that they were not welcome!
Though the USSR had fallen, they were still advancing. Part of their Long Term Strategic Plan devised in 1957 and 1960 was to have “United action with nationalist leaders in Third World countries to eliminate Western influence from those countries as a preliminary to their absorption into the communist bloc” and “The procurement of a decisive shift in the balance of political and military power in favor of the communist world” (Golitsyn, 1984). Whether the USSR had spies in the Philippines that orchestrated the policy shift is frankly, not relevant! The fact that it happened is though!
If we look ahead almost thirty years to the present, we see the inevitable results of closing Subic Bay and leaving the Philippines. China has encroached on most of the waters in the South China Sea laying de facto claim to them, including those belonging to other Nations. They have been met with little to no resistance. Why, because there isn’t a single South Eastern Asian country that could stand up to China militarily or economically! None of them! Anti-American, Filipino President Duterte knows this. Sadly, he publicly surrendered to the Chinese granting them full and complete access to all of their territorial waters.
In an article published on March 20th 2017, he said, “We cannot stop China from doing its thing… So what do you want me to do? Declare war against China? I can but we’ll lose all our military and policemen tomorrow, and we are a destroyed nation. And we cannot assert even a single sentence of any provision that we signed” (Mendez, 2017). Our absence has emboldened China. We created a power vacuum that is being filled by one of our enemies. Unless we do something, which is extremely difficult due to how overstretched we are and the separation distance, all South East Asia will be, by default, under Chinese control.
For all those that claim America is an imperialist nation trying to conquer the world, take another look. Had we not been there in WWII, all of the Pacific Isles would have been under control of the Japanese Empire; and now that we have left the South Pacific, China is taking over. And tell me, would the Japan of WWII been more gracious or benevolent than the US of WWII? Would they have granted independence to those nations and paid them to maintain a presence? Will China do likewise? Thus far, China’s advances haven’t involved bloodshed. They’ve been subtler, more cunning, but they are still advances. That doesn’t change the fact that China is a Communist nation and the last time I checked no Communist country has any record of providing its people with complete freedom or liberty. In fact, it’s been just the opposite! Granted, America is far from perfect. Like any person, every nation has its flaws. But, that doesn’t negate the great amount of good accomplished by the United States of America. So, you tell me, does the world need America?