TO be honest, I am in awe of the United States, its strategic thinking and moves to maintain its hegemony over the globe forever. In 2005 and 2006, it struck so-called defense agreements with Romania and Bulgaria, respectively, which allows US military forces to use military camps to stockpile their war material and station its troops for an emerging war.
Sixteen to 17 years later, these camps are proving to be of great strategic value if Russia’s war against Ukraine spills over to Eastern Europe: the US forces will be using those bases against the Russians. They will also be used if Bulgaria and Romania agree to allow these camps to serve as a staging ground for the delivery of weapons from the US and NATO to Ukraine.
Of course these defense agreements — that would allow the US to use Bulgarian and Romanian camps — were among the US and its allies’ moves (the most important of which is the prodding of Ukrainian leaders to get their country to become a NATO member) that convinced Putin that Russia was being encircled. In Putin’s mind, he had to stop that and invade Ukraine. He fell though into the US’ hands, and is now demonized as a ruthless killer of Ukrainian civilians.
It’s a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The basing agreements with Bulgaria and Romania were intended to provide the US with a means of fighting Russia in case of a war; but it is these pacts that is leading to precisely that war.
That could also be a self-fulfilling prophecy in case of our basing agreement with the US.
In 2014, US strategists cut and pasted numerous paragraphs from those Bulgarian and Romanian defense agreements to write the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the US and the Philippines, which President Benigno Aquino 3rd hastily agreed to, with current President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. expanded to add four more of our camps that the US could use on top of the original five.
Of course the US-Philippine EDCA is obviously a major move by the US to encircle the other threat to its hegemony, China. And China knows that.
I do hope though that the Americans are not as prescient as they were as to see a coming war in our neighborhood in which their bases in the Philippines would be used under EDCA. We will be trampled under in this war of superpowers.
I posted the following column on May 6, 2014, eight years before the US put in high gear its encirclement moves against China, and to prevent it from its alleged plans in the near future to take over Taiwan.
Excerpts from 2014 column
The EDCA isn’t a novel agreement. It implements the US’ new strategy for the global projection of its military power: Less permanent bases and more “forward operating sites,” as Pentagon jargon calls these, which could rapidly be transformed into bases when needed.
Our EDCA is almost entirely copied from the military treaties the US entered into with two Balkan countries, Romania in 2005 and Bulgaria in 2006. The US had become worried that if conflicts in Eastern and Central Europe erupted, its military would be too far to be quickly and effectively deployed, leaving Russia as the unchallenged superpower in that region.
Unlike our dummy of a president, though, the two countries’ prime ministers asked their parliaments to ratify it right after the treaties were signed. Their Supreme Courts didn’t waste their time and energy to rule whether the treaties needed their parliaments’ ratification.
The unicameral Bulgarian National Assembly ratified the pact a month after it was signed in April 2006. However, in the case of Romania, its bicameral parliament approved the country’s defense agreement 17 months after US State Secretary Condoleeza Rice and her Romanian counterpart signed the pact in December 2005.
Romania and Bulgaria are small countries, having 20 million and 7 million populations, respectively. Will we, with a 100 million population, be so wimpy as not to require our senators to rule whether EDCA is good or not for our nation?
The EDCA, whether we like it or not, is the modern counterpart of the US bases agreement during the Cold War. The difference is that EDCA allows access for the US military to foreign soil, without the hundreds of billions of dollars permanent bases require.
Drawing lessons from its invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, during which its supply lines were dangerously thinly stretched, the Pentagon had developed its new concept of “forward operating sites” (FOS) for wars and low-intensity conflicts in which the US may be involved in the future. This was, as one study pointed out, America’s new, cost-effective “[military] basing paradigm” in the 21st century.
Russia there, China here?
Russia was the obvious “target” for the Bulgarian and Romanian FOS made possible through their EDCAs. Who the target is for the Philippine FOS, which our EDCA will allow, is a no-brainer: China. Our EDCA, therefore, would be another factor besides the case we filed against Beijing involving its South China Sea territorial claims, which could worsen our relationship with our second biggest trading partner (2013 and 2014 data).
Informally dubbed “lily pads,” the FOS would allow rotational or periodic access for training purposes (for the US military), while also providing readily ‘expandable’ facilities with pre-positioned equipment, a study of the European Center for Security Studies explained. (Moldovan, D. et al. “Joint Task Force East and Shared Military Basing in Romania and Bulgaria,” Occasional Paper Series, George C. Marshall Center For Security Studies 2009.)
With EDCA, the US will be making the Philippines its FOS laboratory in East Asia, using the Bulgarian and Romanian experiences as its template.
If you read the two Balkan treaties and then our EDCA, you’d strongly suspect that the Americans simply pulled out of their computer files the Bulgarian and Romanian treaties, and simply inserted the word “Philippines” into the relevant portions.
They were rushing at the time. Aquino 3rd approved the pact on April 28, 2014 as the government was secretly told that without the EDCA, “there was no point for US President Obama to visit the Philippines.”
Aquino was desperate at that time. By April, Obama had visited Indonesia (twice), Thailand, Cambodia and Burma — countries with which the US doesn’t even have any of that “special relationship” the Philippines is proud of. The window was fast closing: it was already 2014 and the US President hadn’t visited the Philippines under Aquino’s term.
Worse, Obama was scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea and Malaysia during that month. It would certainly appear that the head of the most powerful nation on earth snubbed the Philippines if Obama didn’t visit the country in that Asian tour. And he could have done that for the flimsiest of reasons, if the EDCA wasn’t signed.
So, Aquino ordered it signed, telling the US to go ahead, implement it, no need for Senate concurrence. Two former senators who, 24 years ago, fought for the removal of US military bases from the Philippines asked the high court to strike it down.
There is a very important difference in the Philippines’ military pact with the US compared with those of Romania and Bulgaria.
The treaties of the two Balkan countries specify that only 2,500 US military personnel may be deployed in each of their countries at any time. In case of an overlap of two deployments, a maximum of 5,000 US troops may stay in their countries, but only for three months.
In our case, there is no such limit on how many US troops the treaty allows to be deployed in “agreed locations” in our military camps.
They could even deploy a US Special Forces division of 25,000 troops — which could certainly be accommodated in nine of the “designated” military camps — and Aquino’s treaty would allow that.
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