What the Philippines can learn from the South China Sea and Ukraine crises


HONOLULU, March 21, 2014 — The modern world that emerged from the end of the Cold War and the disastrous terrorist attacks of 9/11 has deceived the United States and her traditional allies into assuming that war between states was a thing of the past. As the world sees Russian advances in Eastern Europe and Chinese power plays in the Asia-Pacific region, U.S. partners such as the Philippines should use these watershed events as case studies for developing stronger defense policies.

“The U.S. will never face another peer threat” — a flawed doctrine

After 9/11, countless pseudo-academics at prestigious Western universities and think tanks claimed future military engagements would revolve around counterinsurgency, anti-terrorism and police actions against genocide. In military journals, officers penned articles asking why carriers with flight decks loaded with fighters and dedicated attack aircraft were necessary when amphibious warfare ships would be better suited if an expeditionary commander’s mission was simply dealing with third world nations with no air forces.

During the 2012 presidential elections, President Obama re-affirmed his 2008 campaign promises to restructure the military to address “new” forms of warfare, particularly in the area of special forces, cyberwarfare and drone development. The American people were told in 2012 that the Army supposedly “didn’t know what to do” with things like tanks and wanted more special forces and UAVs.

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested the U.S. Navy was shrinking and at its weakest ever, Obama sarcastically replied “we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed.” The “new” U.S. military, which operates on the clichéd banner of “leaner, lighter, faster” supposedly is more capable and powerful with its cyber weaponry, littoral combat ships and unmanned aircraft — all scaled for fighting small regional threats and lightly armed terrorists.
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