A Look Back at America’s First “Regime Change” War: The Philippines

In a blow to global media freedom, independent journalist Maria Ressa was convicted in the Philippines last week on trumped up charges of cyber-libel. Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has made a sharp turn toward authoritarianism, and Ressa’s arrest signals the continuing decline of democracy in the Philippines.

EGF traveled to Manila to speak with Ressa along with the columnist Richard Heydarian to better understand the Philippines’ complicated history, and why the country is slipping back into its illiberal past. The forgotten legacy of America’s colonization of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th-century helps illuminate this worrisome trend.

This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by EGF senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how U.S. foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.