Pentagon officials are touting a great victory today as the Philippines Supreme Court voted 10-4 to approve a deal that will allow the return of US troops and weapons to military bases inside the Philippines. This ruling was related to a 2014 deal on the return of US forces, which had been challenged in court.
The agreement was related to territorial disputes between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea, with the Philippine government hoping to use US military forces to enforce their claim. Already, Philippines military officials are calling for US deployments to the contested islands, citing “flashing flights” from China as a military challenge.
The Philippines has a long and rather ugly history as a US colony, which saw US military forces killing massive numbers of civilians around the start of the 20th century. The Philippines finally voted to expel US forces in 1991, but struggled with the US desire to remain.
Under the 2014 deal, no troops can be “permanently” stationed in the Philippines, though it is vague on how many troops the US can deploy on a non-permanent basis, with analysts expecting several thousand US forces to arrive.