Duterte proves that US-Philippine "special relationship" remains to be proven

Let’s face it:  America’s standing in the world is being challenged and probably waning.

Yes, its military and economy remain the strongest in the world, but never doubt the power of the dragon.  In fact, by some measures, China is already considered the world's largest economy. According to a report released last year by the International Monetary Fund that comparing international economies by adjusting for exchange rates and purchasing power, China's economy had already surpassed America's as the world's largest.  As far as military strength is concerned, there’s no doubt the US military is head and shoulders above everyone else.  But because most Americans have lost their appetite for direct military intervention, the US has considerably cut back on military spending while other countries, including China, have revved it up.  Americans have lost their appetite because they’ve seen how direct military intervention has merely messed up other countries and sparked threats to their homeland.  Some experts are of the opinion America’s Middle East foray gave birth to radical Islamic terrorism.

In terms of trade, Japan remained the Philippines’ largest trading partner as of 2015, with the US in second, mainland China third and Hong Kong fourth.  But if you combine the trade volume of mainland China and Hong Kong, the US slips back.

The US loves to wave the “special relationship” flag.  And why not?  Filipinos LOVE the US. The US has consistently been cited as one of the Filipinos' favorite nations in the world, with 90% of Filipinos viewing the US and 91% viewing Americans favorably in 2002, 90% of Filipinos viewing US influence positively in 2011, 85% of Filipinos viewing the US and Americans favorably in 2013, and 92% of Filipinos viewing the US favorably in 2015, and 89% having confidence in US President Barack Obama in 2014, making the Philippines the most pro-American country in the world.  So, if you think about it, the US may have been taking the Philippines and Filipinos for a ride because of the apparent blind loyalty of their “little brown brothers.”

But something’s gotta give, and the US has to finally prove it has a “special relationship” with the Philippines and Filipinos in more tangible ways.  I have a few suggestions:

First, include the Philippines in its Visa Waiver Program.  We’re “special,” right?  So why shouldn’t we be included in that program?  Thirty-eight countries appear to be more “special.”

Second, provide the kind of infrastructure and soft-loan support China has approved—at the very least.  We deserve support on the level of its Marshall Plan (approximately $120 billion in current dollar value) following the end of World War II.

Third, because the US developed the now-decaying Philippine public school system during its colonial rule, renew its commitment to our public school system through an aggressive, well-funded educational aid and development program, including infrastructure, modern facilities, scholarships and training in the US.

Fourth, it’s clear the US considers the Philippines strategic in terms of geography.  Thus, it should be providing the Philippines military and other forms of grant-in-aid equal to that which it gives to ten other countries which currently receive such assistance.  For starters, how about $500 million a year?

The US should concede President Duterte’s gripes, skepticism and bitterness towards it have merit, because Duterte doesn’t share the blind loyalty of 80-90% of Filipinos.

Fulfill these conditions, and perhaps we can truly say the US and the Philippines enjoy a “special relationship.”

In short, prove it.

David Nye as posted on Facebook.


  1. Typically Failipinos mentality: begging... give me give me give me and I give you nothing except stabbing you in the back as soon as you turn your head...
    Hoping US will say go to he'll when the next Hayian land fall on Philippines...


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