As its hegemony declines and the liberal order slides toward disintegration, the U.S. response has been to increase pressure on China and Russia, while tightening control of countries like the Philippines. The crisis of imperialism is driving the U.S. to war, with the military buildups from the East China Sea to the Malacca Strait acting as tripwires for bloody confrontation with China.
Situated by the South China Sea, the Philippines guards the busiest maritime routes in the world, through which passes much of China’s oil supply. These disputed waters host rich fishing grounds, as well as untapped reserves of undersea oil, gas and minerals. From the Philippines, the U.S. has access to East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean—the litoral of the most populous, economically active part of the world.
For decades, the Philippine left has supported the bourgeoisie’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. The forces influenced by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its National Democratic Front (NDF), the social democrats and the labor bureaucracy have enthusiastically cheered for the bourgeoisie’s legal case in the Arbitration Court in The Hague against China’s maritime claims. Their often hysterical anti-China nationalist campaign, in concert with capitalist forces, over the Spratly Islands gave cover for U.S. imperialism to ramp up its presence in the region, eventually gaining access to nine military sites under President Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr. via the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).(read more)