No US President would even dare ignore or bypass a significant region in the global community like Asia. It has developed into a competitive entity that challenged the hegemony of western power after World War II. It has stood the test of time and has sustained its culture and civilization as against the usual influence of ancient culture and civilization. As a matter of fact, science has uncovered evidences that point out the influence of East on Western norms and tradition.
That realization exacted much consideration as shown with the visit of US Presidents on the shore of Asian countries. US President Barack Obama actually continued the routine as 7th US President to have done so. For Obama, the trip to the Philippines was more of curiosity more than a package of braggadocio in the face of challenges from neighbouring countries like Japan, Malaysia, China…
Principally, Obama is more Asian than African since his childhood is locked in Indonesia and Hawaii where Asians predominate. Even his taste buds are Asian. His choice for chef is a Filipino and even his favourite meal is adobo and lumpia. His sports is almost a chip off Filipino national past time: basketball. He, like any Filipino, would spend time in the gym playing half court. Obama’s 6’2” frame although not ideal in NBA where giants rule but his interest in the sports make him more Asian, yes, more Filipino than any other US President.
And then, there was the just concluded high paying boxing match between an 8 division champ Manny Pacquaio and undefeated US boxer Bradley. The Filipino’s predominant presence in American sports could have caught the attention of a sportsman like the US President. It is, one again, the Philippines on the map.
Previously, before the 911 debacle on the myth of American power, a intelligence report was submitted to US Military Command regarding the suspected presence of terror cells contemplating on bombing specific areas in US Mainland. These terror groups had encamped in the southern territory of the Philippines. There were signs of terror training and planning; and these were noted and reported accordingly. But since Philippine law enforcement and military establishment had a low regard and poor impression on their capability, it was passed on as raw and therefore unverifiable. In less than a year, the plan was pursued and the worst bombing in the history of US came into the light. It was then when red faced American intelligence operatives began to treat with seriousness Philippine reports on intelligence matters.
The Philippines was placed at the center of concern not only in terms of how American forces can virtually use its former military bases in the country but also in sustaining its political relationship with government. The realization of having a joint venture, a partnership in exchanging notes on closing ranks in the face of challenges to global peace and order that the Philippines finally has been conscripted in the military and economic perspective of USA.
This is the significance of the recent US President visit. While it is seen as a move out of curiosity and to a large extent less political but more social; less formal, but more personal; less global, and more parochial. It is in projecting US friendship with Philippine government that makes Asian forces stronger in the face of terror and related display of power by countries in the region out to promote its political agenda through display of arrogance and military might. The presence of the US leadership in Asia is a statement of concern against the ambitions of China and Korea who are virtually rearranging the forces that govern stability in the world.