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The Philippines Hedging Between Alliance or Appeasement: Can the Biden Administration Tip the Balance?

May 14 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

This webinar will look at how the Philippine and the U.S. defense establishments have effectively managed the crisis in the Philippine-U.S. alliance created by the Duterte Administration’s appeasement policy on China since 2016. This appeasement policy was characterized by the administration’s efforts to foster closer diplomatic and economic relations with China while making calculated moves to distance the Philippines from the U.S. and its allies (Japan and Australia) relative to the South China Sea disputes. In February 2020, however, President Duterte unilaterally abrogated the 1999 Philippine-U.S. Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). This triggered another crisis in the alliance. The webinar will look at the Biden Administration’s immediate challenges facing the Biden Administration as it seeks to renegotiate another VFA with the Philippines in the face of President Duterte’s ambivalent attitude toward the alliance and to ensure that it will remain intact beyond his administration. It will also look at Biden’s long-term task to ensure that the Philippine-U.S. alliance remains intact, flexible, and vibrant in the face of a changing 21st-century Indo-Pacific region.

Presenter:

Renato Cruz De Castro is a Distinguished University Professor in the International Studies Department, De La Salle University, and Manila. He is the chair-holder of the Dr. Aurelio Calderon Chair in Philippine-American Relation. He earned his Ph.D. from the Government and International Studies Department of the University of South Carolina as a Fulbright Scholar in 2001, and obtained his B.A. and two master’s degrees from the University of the Philippines. As a member of the Board of Trustees of the Albert Del Rosario Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ADRI), he contributes his two monthly opinion columns to the Business World and Philippine Star.

Discussant:

Gregory B. Poling is a senior fellow for Southeast Asia and director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS. He oversees research on U.S. foreign policy in the Asia Pacific, with a particular focus on the maritime domain and the countries of Southeast Asia. His research interests include the South China Sea disputes, democratization in Southeast Asia, and Asian multilateralism. Mr. Poling’s writings have been featured in Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, Nikkei Asian Review, and Foreign Policy, among others.

Moderator:

Ann Marie Murphy is a Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University, Senior Research Scholar at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and 2019-2010 ASEAN Research Program Fulbright Scholar. Dr. Murphy’s research interests include international relations and comparative politics in Southeast Asia, U.S. foreign policy toward Asia, and governance of non-traditional security issues. Dr. Murphy is a founding partner of the New York Southeast Asia Network and is currently completing a book on the impact of democracy on Indonesian foreign policy with the generous support of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

This event is part of the Southeast Asia Views America: Perceptions, Policies & Prospects virtual conference.

This event is organized by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and cosponsored by the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN) and the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.