Military aid a backdoor means of getting the U.S. back into Philippines bases?

Jonah Blank, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation and a former policy director for South and Southeast Asia on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, suggested in USA Today using the U.S. military aid to those suffering in the Philippines as a backdoor means of getting the U.S. military back into a larger occupation of the Philippines:

“Deploying military resources for disaster relief is a remarkably effective — and inexpensive — investment in the future. One of the largest such deployments in history, the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and other assets following the Asian tsunami of 2004, is estimated to have cost $857 million.

“[However that’s roughly only] the price of three days’ operations in Afghanistan last year.”

“The goodwill the tsunami relief brought the U.S. is incalculable. Nearly a decade later, the effort may rank as one of the most concrete reasons Southeast Asian nations trust the long-term U.S. commitment to a strategy of ‘Asian rebalancing’

“The Obama administration recognizes the value of disaster relief. As the Pentagon attempts to shift more of its weight to the Asian Pacific region while balancing a shrinking budget, this could turn out to be one of the best decisions it could make.”

[From an article by David Swanson]

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