Rommel C. Banlaoi
Director, Center for Intelligence and National Security Studies
Oct 31 , 2016
Rommel Banlaoi argues that President Duterte’s controversial remarks about the U.S.-Philippine relationship are not a signal of distancing, but rather it is an effort of strategic ambiguity on the part of Duterte. Duterte is creating a relationship with China and the U.S. that will best move forward his domestic policy, a key concern for Duterte; however, strategic ambiguity is a difficult strategy for Duterte, the two super powers, and the international community.
Jul 18 , 2016
The Philippine government does not want the Tribunal ruling to escalate security tensions in the South China Sea, acknowledging the enormous enforcement challenge with China’s rejection of the ruling. President Duterte is now counting on China’s goodwill. The arbitral ruling should guide China on how to behave more responsibly in the South China Sea.
Jul 07 , 2016
The new Philippine government is serious in its intention to talk to China in order to peacefully manage the South China Sea Disputes even after the arbitration ruling. However, if China overreacts at the expense of Philippine security, the Duterte administration will face no choice but to succumb to the pressures of other major powers.
May 31 , 2016
Duterte’s strong performance at the polls seems to demonstrate Filipinos’ approval of a new approach to the South China Sea problem by holding bilateral talks with China and the U.S. But if these talks fail to benefit of the Filipino people, particularly on Filipino fishermen who are greatly affected by sea disputes, Duterte may use the arbitration decision as a second option.
May 16 , 2016
While Duterte seriously values the Philippines’ long-standing security alliance with the U.S., he seems to be more enthusiastic in repairing the Philippines’ damaged political ties with China. Rommel Banlaoi warns, however, that excessive accommodation of China could potentially undermine the Philippines’ long standing alliance with the United States.
Apr 18 , 2016
As China’s permanent neighbor and the U.S.’ long-time ally, the Philippines has a unique role mediating between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea. However, if the Philippines fail’s to improve its current political relations with China, while continuously enhancing its defense alliance with the U.S., the Philippines can become a catalyst for the proverbial “Thucydides trap.”
Mar 17 , 2016
Despite some negative social costs, most Philippine presidential candidates welcome American presence in the country because it provides deterrence from China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea. But China is very wary of EDCA and the subsequent increase of U.S. military presence in the Philippines because of Beijing’s long-standing fear of American containment.