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President Rodrigo Duterte reviewing troops at the Philippine Air Force headquarters, Pasay, Philippines, Sept. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

How Much Damage Can Duterte Do to the U.S.-Philippine Relationship?

Friday, Oct. 7, 2016

Over the past decade, the United States and the Philippines have bolstered what was already a strong strategic and diplomatic relationship with deep historical roots and a 65-year treaty alliance. During the George W. Bush administration, after 9/11, the U.S. launched a training and assistance program for the Philippine armed forces, designed to help combat terrorist networks based in the southern Philippines, especially Abu Sayyaf. For a time, a significant detachment of U.S. Special Forces was based there, training Philippine soldiers.

Under the Obama administration, the U.S. and the Philippines have moved even closer together. For the past six years under President Benigno Aquino III, the Philippines was a major recipient of increased U.S. assistance for maritime security in Southeast Asia—the result of frequent travels to Washington by Philippine officials to plead for aid to modernize their navy and coast guard. Two years ago, Manila and Washington signed a 10-year enhanced defense partnership that is supposed to allow U.S. forces to rotate through the Philippines for extended periods of time at local bases. ...

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