The role of threat in the dynamics of the Philippine-United States alliance
Pascua, Randy M.
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Threat serves as an impetus in the foundation, development, revitalization, and waning of the contemporary Philippine-United States alliance. Using Stephen Walt’s balance of threat theory as the analytical framework, this study proves that, historically, the dynamics of the Philippine-U.S. alliance revolves around the interaction of threat-centric issues and the member-state’s response. Threat serves as the prime mover of the alliance; foreign aid, ideological solidarity, and institutional penetration do not guarantee the alliance stability. They do, however, serve as critical factors in the alliance management. Shared or unshared existential threats with external overtones have a greater impact on the alliance. Moreover, internal security threats affect alliance efficiency. A coordinated approach is needed to confront and master them. The Philippine Communist Insurgency of the CPP-NPA-NDF, the South China Sea Dispute with China, the ambiguity of 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty provisions including its executory mechanisms, and U.S. strategic ambivalence in the case of conflict serve as disconnecting factors of the Philippine-U.S. alliance. These factors created and continue to create friction between the Philippines and the United States. This study recommends that the allies must align their threat assessments, resolve or manage disconnecting threats, and then address the ambiguity of the agreement through further research and deeper strategic discourse.
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