The U.S. military is headed back to the Philippines. On Jan. 12, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). As part of the deal, a Philippine military spokesperson said that Manila had given permission for the United States to use eight Philippine bases. Many believe that the United States is primarily motivated by a desire to limit Chinese aggression in the South China Sea, but some worry that the deal will increase the risk of confrontation between U.S. armed forces and China’s rapidly modernizing People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). The truth is that the implementation of the EDCA is significant, but not because it has anything to do with China. What China is doing in the South China Sea is a sideshow of little relevance. With the EDCA approved by the Philippine government, the overwhelming superiority of U.S. naval power in the Pacific just became even more pronounced.
On Dec. 27, 1991, one day after the S