Halt US Buildup in Philippines

June 24th, 2023 - by Douglas Lummis / Peace and Planet News (Spring 2023)

Okinawans protest construction of airstrip at US base.

Oppose the US-Japan Military Buildup
in Okinawa and the Philippines
Douglas Lummis / Peace and Planet News

(Spring 2023) — Ever since its Civil War, the United States has fought its wars outside its territory, usually on the enemy’s turf.
•  The Indian Wars were fought on Native American land, in order to take control of that land.
•  The Spanish-American war was fought in the Philippines and Cuba.
•  The War Against Philippine Independence was fought in the Philippines.
•  The First World War was fought mainly in Europe and the Middle East;
•  The Second in Europe and Asia.
•  The Korean War was fought in Korea,
•  The Vietnam War in Vietnam,
•  The Panama War in Panama,
•  The Afghan War in Afghanistan,
•  The Iraqi Wars in Iraq.

Today it is planning a war with China on a similar pattern, by arranging so that any damage inflicted by China will fall not on the continental United States, but on its allies in Asia.

As a barricade with which to “contain” China, it is arranging to use three of what can be called “semi-sovereign states” — states whose foreign/military policy is determined by the United States, meaning South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines — as the principal bases for attacking China.

This means that (if this strategy succeeds), China’s missiles will fall not on California but mainly on these countries, involving them in a war in America’s, not their own, national interest. Similarly, Japan is trying to arrange so that its war damage will fall on its former colony, Okinawa.

Veterans For Peace block gates at  US base in Okinawa. 

From the Pacific War
To the “Taiwan Contingency”

This is being carried out in the name of coping with the “Taiwan contingency”. The US military and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are building missile bases in the Ryukyu Islands, and the US is building new bases in the Philippines, all for the purpose of attacking China.

During the Pacific War, Japanese and US forces stationed bases in Okinawa and the Philippines, with the result that the people there suffered tremendous casualties. More than 100,000 Okinawans were killed in the Battle of Okinawa, and more than one million Filipinos were killed, mainly in the Battle of Manila, during the Pacific War.

They have learned from history that bases are targets for attack and that military forces that aim to fight do not protect the people. Fearing that they will be caught in the crossfire once again, they are voicing their opposition to military buildup. The people of Okinawa and of the Philippines categorically refuse to be victims of war again.

US military bases in Okinawa and the Philippines were established after World War II in the context of US military strategy. They were used as sortie bases in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf Wars. The Philippine constitution prohibiting the stationing of foreign troops was adopted in 1992, when the National Assembly rejected the extension of the stationing agreement and the US’s Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base were removed.

Since 1998, however, under a new treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, US bases have been reintroduced into the Philippines on the flimsy excuse that the US troops are not stationed there, only visiting on a rotational basis, so the constitutional prohibition doesn’t apply — thus hollowing out rule of law in the Philippines.

Nine Illegal US Bases in the Philippines
In 2014, under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the US obtained five military bases in the Philippines, with the constitutional ban on foreign bases circumvented by the charade that the bases are Philippine bases hosting American visiting forces. In 2023, the Philippines gave the US four more bases.

In Okinawa, where Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution has never been applied and where 70% of the US bases in Japan remain, those US bases were used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In both the Philippines and in Okinawa, military buildup continues. In particular, the deployment in Okinawa of long-range missiles makes a mockery of Japan’s long-standing policy of “defensive defense”.

Even after the end of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, the US has continued and strengthened its. military presence in Asia, and has steered a course toward a “New Cold War” that regards China as an enemy.

Rather than enjoying the “peace dividend” that was promised by the end of the Soviet Union, the US is trying to force Okinawa, the “semi-sovereign states” of Japan, the Philippines and South Korea, and other neighboring countries to follow it in a new policy of military containment, this time of China. As did the earlier cold war, this divides the world.

We Oppose the Military Buildup by Japan
and the US in Okinawa and The Philippines.

The following statement opposing the US-Japan military buildup in Okinawa and the Philippines and calling for the avoidance of war was issued June 9, 2023 and signed by No More Okinawa-sen, Nuchi du Takara no Kai (No more Battle of Okinawa: Life is a Treasure Association), Veterans For Peace-Ryukyu/Okinawa Chapter, Kokusai (VFP-ROCK), and Walden Bello, a citizen from the Philippines.

We call on the governments of Japan, the US, and the Philippines,
1) to cease their military buildup aimed at threatening China;
2) to engage in talks with China to ease tensions and avoid war through disarmament and negotiations;
3) to cease organizing the militaries of Japan and the Philippines under the command of, and as subordinate branches of, the US military;
4) to adopt as a main policy goal the withdrawal of the US military bases from our countries.
And we call on the people of all east Asian countries to join in a solidarity movement aimed at the achievement of these goals.


  • No more Okinawa-sen Nuchi du Takara no Kai (No more Battle of Okinawa: Life is a Treasure Association)
  • Veterans For Peace-Ryukyu/Okinawa Chapter, Kokusai (VFP-ROCK)
  • Walden Bello, Citizen from the Philippines