Philippine foreign policy in the early 1990s was broadly prodemocratic and pro-Western in orientation. Philippine international prestige was at an all-time high when Marcos was overthrown. During the Aquino administration, the Philippines pursued active, nationalist policies aimed at promoting "genuine independence" and economic development. As a charter member of the United Nations, the Philippines participated in all its functional groups, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization; the World Health Organization; the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. In addition, the Philippines has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The Philippines was a founding member of the Asian Development Bank, which is headquartered in Manila.
Article 2 of the Constitution states that "the State shall pursue an independent foreign policy." For historical, economic, cultural, and strategic reasons, the Philippines has been tied most closely to the United States. Economic necessity dictated maintaining a smooth working relationship with Japan. Filipinos wanted a foreign policy oriented more toward their Southeast Asian neighbors, but for most purposes implementing such a policy was not high on their agenda. The proximity and large population of China, plus the presence of Chinese in the Philippines, required amicable relations with Beijing. Because of the Muslim separatist movement, and also for economic reasons, relations with Middle Eastern countries became more important in the 1970s and 1980s.
Filipino nationalism, which is an important element of foreign policy, showed every sign of intensifying in the early 1990s. Diverse elements in Philippine society have been united in opposition to their common history of foreign subjugation, and this opposition often carried an anti-American undertone.
Leftists have long held that Philippine history is a story of failed or betrayed revolutions, with native compradors selling out to foreign invaders. In the post-Marcos years, this thesis received wide acceptance across the political spectrum. The middle class was deeply disillusioned because five successive United States administrations had acquiesced to Marcos's dictatorship, and Filipino conservatives nursed grievances long held by the left.
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