Analysis: Ulterior Motives In Panetta’s Philippines Visit

Panetta & Arroyo

Panetta, Arroyo

Few heads outside Southeast Asia were turned last Sunday by CIA director Leon Panetta’s brief visit to the Philippines. Panetta arrived in Manila early Sunday morning and left at 10 p.m. on the same day. But he managed to squeeze in meetings with Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, as well as her most senior cabinet executives, such as Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. Panetta’s meeting with the President was brief, reportedly lasting around 30 minutes, but its significance was enormous for Washington’s continuing military and intelligence presence in the region. To understand the level of that commitment, one must consider the rare telephone call that US President Barack Obama recently placed to his Philippine counterpart. Read article →

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