The US Disaster Relief Mission In The Philippines Has Big Strategic Implications

U.S. Marines/ Cpl. Codey UnderwoodMarines with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade deliver humanitarian relief supplies to the Philippines Nov. 12.

Yesterday, Marines with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade from Okinawa, Japan, unloaded
the first shipments of emergency suppliesin the Philippines as part of a complex disaster relief mission launched in the wake of
Typhoon Haiyan.

Haiyan wreaked havoc on the Philippines, leaving more than 10,000 dead, billions of dollars in damages, and dire conditions for those who survived.

And though it is common practice for the U.S. military to offer humanitarian assistance after a disaster, here’s why the stakes are particularly high in the Philippines.

The Philippines are a major ally for the United States. The two nations regularly hold military training exercises together. In fact, U.S. Marines were in the Philippines just last month as part of a large-scale amphibious training exercise.

The Philippines have a terror problem. There are four major Islamic extremist groups in the the Philippines, and terror groups recruit best when the situations are dire. Any perception that the United States turned its back on the people there could breed extremism.

The Philippines are a keystone in Obama’s ‘Pacific Pivot.’ In 2011, President Obama announced an initiative to shift U.S. military focus to the Pacific theatre. With the rise of China and bellicose rhetoric from North Korea, it’s an obviously important target. If the United States hopes to succeed in this endeavour, it is of vital importance to keep friends close.

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