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Trump’s loss, Manila’s gain —think tank

A THINK Tank has suggested that if Democratic Party challenger Joseph Biden beats incumbent President Donald Trump in the race to the US White House, that will be good for the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China.

Stratbase ADR Institute president Dindo Manhit said a Biden administration would establish a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific Region as Beijing continues its aggressive moves in the disputed South China Sea.

“What’s good with a Biden presidency, there will be a renewed confidence and respectability with regard to American leadership globally, not only in Asia Pacific, but also in Europe,” Manhit told ANC.

“It gives more credibility for American power or soft power or influence around the world. That would be good for the Philippines because a key ally in our own security challenges, in our own maritime dispute, has always been the United States,” he said.

Manhit’s statement coincides with the observation of former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña that if Biden won, that would be favorable for the Philippines and the rest of the world.

La Viña, in a phone interview with GMA News Online, said “It’s a very different US that will now be confronting the world. Then, the US of Trump was unilateral, America first, very self-centered, very erratic,”

He said: “Under Biden, you will have a more predictable, more deliberate [US government], a better partner internationally in most things, more multilateral than Trump [administration].”

He added the Philippines could expect less “conflict” between Washington and Beijing if Biden won, saying “Overall, it would be better because we need the US to be supportive of the Philippines with respect to China but also not reckless. I think Trump is reckless and Biden, in a way, would be more predictable.”

Manhit added that if Biden eventually would be declared the winner, the US would strengthen its alliances with like-minded countries, shifting from Trump’s “America first” policies.

Manhit said: “His foreign policy, if you read through it and dig deep to it, it speaks of invigorating democracies. That means building renewed alliances among like-minded democratic societies that share their values.”

“And that’s what we need in this world. A liberal democratic world that has created prosperity around the world and uplifted poverty.”

Asked if a Biden presidency would affect the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has pivoted to China as from the start of his presidency in 2016 and Russia, he said that would remain to be seen.

Manhit said Biden might focus on domestic challenges in his first year in office while Duterte had only less than 2 years left in his six-year term.

“There might not be too much noise on interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. But maybe, more on global issues especially in dealing with the pandemic, dealing with economic consequences of this long public health crisis…There might not be traction initially,” Manhit said.

Biden on Thursday (Manila time) predicted a US election win over Trump after major victories in Michigan and Wisconsin, while the Republican incumbent sought to offset a narrowing path to re-election with lawsuits and demands for a recount.

Topics: Donald Trump , Joe Biden , Dindo Manhit , Stratbase ADR Institute , South China Sea
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