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Power and Primacy

Abridged and Updated Edition

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 5

America in the Philippines: How the United States Established a Colony and Later Neo-Colony in the Pacific


The Americans found it hard to realize that in the eyes of Asia they had become almost a spearhead of imperialism.1


A state in the grip of neo-colonialism is not master of its own destiny.2


The Philippines was among the earliest countries in the Asia-Pacific to suffer from occupation and subjugation to Western interests. From 1521 to 1898 Spain imposed an imperial government over the country for over 350 years. This occupation came to an end only following Spain’s defeat at the hands of the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, after which the Filipinos proclaimed their own independent republic. Almost all Asia-Pacific nations were Western ‘possessions’ at the time however and, as Spain withdrew, they sought to pass what they viewed as their territory onto another Western imperial power. The Spanish Empire thus sold the territory of the Philippines to the United States for $20 million, and the U.S. then sent over 50,000 troops to establish their rule and crush the country’s independence movement in its infancy. The Spanish had not trained ←147 | 148→or armed a Filipino fighting force during their centuries-long occupation, and only the Japanese Empire, guided by pan-Asian principles at the time, helped the republican movement with limited funding and arms. While this was a valuable asset to the independence struggle, it was negligible compared to the forces which would be brought against the Philippines by the...

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