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Mico A. Galang PS 288.

David Wurfel, Philippine Foreign Policy, In David Wurfel and Bruce Burton, eds.,
The Political Economy of Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia (London: Palgrave
MacMilan, 1990), pp. 146-176.

In this book chapter, Wurfel discussed the domestic dynamics that affect the
formulation and implementation of Philippine foreign policy. In this regard, Wurfel
underscored three major points in an attempt to illustrate how domestic politics affect
Manilas external relations.

First, instead of utilizing the rational choice model in analyzing foreign policy
decision-making, the author stressed that intra-elite politics and leaders imperative are
the more useful frameworks in understanding Philippine foreign policy. At the outset of the
article, it was noted that Philippine society is dominated by a pattern of patron-client
relations which arose from the ancient bilateral system overlayed by increasing economic
inequality.1 Domestically, the dynamics between the patron and the client led to the
formation of a neo-patrimonial state, where support is recruited by distributing material
benefits, from both private and public sources, controlled by the patron. In this context,
foreign policy-making is largely concentrated on the top political elite. This patron-client
relationship, in turn, has an external dimension. Because neo-patrimonialism weakens the
state promoting national interests (including national defense), it will have an even greater
tendency to turn to the international patron for help.2

Second, in addition to domestic resources, domestic constraints also helped shaped


Philippine foreign policy. Wurfel identified these constraints: (1) a divided political culture;
(2) the political system anchored on neo-patrimonialism; and (3) the legitimacy of the regime,
which became a constraint during the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos.

Third, partially the result of the Americanization of the values and attitudes of the
Philippine elite, Philippine leaders largely share the world view of their American
counterparts. Although the Manila and Washington have sometimes opposing views on
certain foreign policy issues, such as Japan, Borneo, and decolonization, the two allies share
the fundamental views on world affairs, such as being on the same side of the Cold War.

Based on these premises, Wurfel discussed the evolution of Philippine foreign policy.
From 1946-1957, the article described the period as pure neo-colonialism, largely because
of the heavy influence of Washington in Manila, such as the provision of parity rights to the
Americans on the exploitation of Philippine resources, and the retention of US military bases
in Philippine soil, among others. From 1957 until the declaration of martial law in 1972,
Philippine foreign policy saw a more nationalist tone. Indeed, Presidents Garcia, Macapagal,
and Marcos adopting a more diverse foreign policy which stressed closer ties with fellow
Asian countries. But after martial law was declared in 1972, the focus of foreign policy was
the survival of the Marcos regime. Forging economic diplomacy, Marcos, as Wurfel stressed,
understood that without a general sense of economic progress he would lose legitimacy in
the eyes of the Filipino people as a whole. Following Marcos ouster in 1986, Philippine

1 David Wurfel, Philippine Foreign Policy, In David Wurfel and Bruce Burton, eds., The Political Economy of
Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia (London: Palgrave MacMilan, 1990), emphasis added.
2 Ibid.

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foreign policy appeared to take small steps towards dependency reversal, with nationalist
provisions incorporated in the new constitution.

The article clearly articulated the impact of domestic politics in Philippine foreign
policy. What is interesting is how domestic dynamics that govern Philippine politics appeared
to be an extension of the countrys external relations.

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