Dr. John Evans

Dr. John Evans, Discussion Leader

Wednesday, January 29,

2:30-4:00 p.m.,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Rodrigo Duterte

The dilemma of U.S. relations with the Philippines will be second topic in the 2020 ASA series of Discussions based on materials prepared by the non-partisan Foreign Policy Association (FPA). Now in its second century, this nonprofit was formed to serve “as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues.” For each of our eight 90-minute sessions, an Academy Village resident summarizes the issue to be discussed based on materials from Great Decisions and his/her own research and experience, shows a short video provided by the FPA, and leads a group discussion.

 In this segment, we examine the Philippines and their special but complicated relationship with the United States. This began 120 years ago, when the islands became a U.S. colony, then evolved into a Commonwealth before becoming independent in 1946. The alliance deepened after Independence, and the relationship has been considered “special,” in that the two countries have historically maintained very close ties, including joint defense and trade agreements and liberal travel and immigration policies.

 However, there have been major changes in government, military, and business policies since the election of the aggressive populist President, Rodrigo Duterte in 2016. He clashed with President Obama over human rights and defense issues, complaining of being treated as a mere colony. Duterte has continued to be antagonistic and erratic in his attitude towards America, though the Trump administration is unconcerned about ongoing human rights issues, easing some tensions.

 Despite his often vulgar, bombastic and brutal behavior, Duterte is beloved by a majority of his citizens as an iconoclastic, populist champion of Filipino sovereignty and pride. His country is functionally split into three states with differing cultures, religions, and ruling structures. Their overseas loyalties are increasingly oriented towards Asia or the Middle East, though U.S. involvement continues to support the well-being of Filipinos.  Come hear a fresh, boots-on-the-ground report of our alliance with an oft-overlooked country of 100 million people.

 Dr. John Evans serves on the Board of Directors of NonViolence International NYC. The organization’s CEO, his son, has just returned from the Philippines on a peace promoting endeavor. Come hear of important current events in the Pacific that are not obvious in the mainstream media.

 

Jan. 29: Great Decisions II–“The Philippines and the U.S.: Strength & Strain”