***** Philippine Security in the Age of Terror: National, Regional, and Global Challenges in the Post-9/11 World. By Rommel C. Banlaoi; published by Taylor & Francis Group/Routledge, www.routledge.com; 376 pages; $92.95.
In the preface of this text, author and Philippine security scholar Rommel Banlaoi states that “this book is my humble, yet daring, attempt to discuss Philippine security in the context of national, regional, and global security challenges after 9/11.” He need not be humble, and his daring may lie in the daunting breadth of the work.
Largely a compilation of academic papers, Banlaoi’s text would likely be of most interest only to those specializing in this part of the world. The good news is that its sections, chapters, and sub-headings are organized and clearly labeled, which can help people locate specific information.
The book’s first section covers Philippine national security interests, including identity politics, globalization, radical Islam, local responses to terrorism, the military and democracy, and elections. A second section addresses bilateral concerns, including the history and scope of Philippine-American relations, defense and military cooperation with China, and the broadening of Philippine-Australia relations. Finally, Banlaoi weaves together global, regional, and multilateral issues and the threats and opportunities they bring. Points of interest include weapons of mass destruction, the World Trade Organization, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Banlaoi is largely balanced, thoughtful, and analytical, but in the concluding chapters he appears to favor ASEAN’s regional forum as the way forward for the Philippines in a dangerous world.
The text might have benefitted from a “primer” chapter for readers new to the subject matter or the region, but such an approach risks clouding the complexity of the issues.
Security professionals responsible for interests in the Philippines are bound to wish for a local authority to explain the country’s security concerns and the intricate social and political factors at play. This is the book for them.
Reviewer: James T. Dunne, CPP, is a senior analyst with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security He is a member of the ASIS International Global Terrorism, Political Instability, and International Crime Council. (The views expressed in this review are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the State Department or the U.S. government.)