Friday, February 24, 2006

Coup In the Philippines?

I won't even pretend to know much about the Philippines. I know that the name of the country is biblical, deriving from the name Philippi, and I know it's harder to spell than Misissipi (er, Mississippi) and I know that, back when I was a kid, our country offered shelter to its deposed dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

I also know, though I won't go into detail because, I don't know the details, that the U.S. has been interfering in that country's development for 2 centuries, starting when we wanted Spain not to have it, continuing to when we wanted Japan not to have it, continuing to when we didn't want it to turn communist and right through to this day, where we continue to treat it as a dependable ally in the Pacific Region.

And, these days, on the it's undergoing a coup attempt against its elected government, on the 20th anniversary of the coup against Marcos.

To reiterate, I don't know a whole lot about this country. But I know that we've, for a long time, interfered in its internal affairs, and that twice in my still brief lifetime, coups have been attempted. One succeeded. This one, is seems, failed, though we don't know yet how far it will go.

We've tried and tried and tried to make the Philippines to our likings and it seems we've failed to guide them towards a government that its people like enough that they can deal with it without resorting to force. It's a country that's been, for far too long, our project, and right now, it seems like a too-little-noted example of how we tend to fail when we try to force other societies into the mold we want them to form. There's a lot about the Philippines in the news right now, but too little about how it's an example of how our current "nation building" efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan could fail.


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