In Our Image: America's Empire In The Philippines

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In Our Image: America's Empire In The Philippines

By Stanley Karnow
Random House, 1989
494 pp. $24.95
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This book has already been widely and justly acclaimed as the most comprehensive study yet to appear on U.S.-Philippine relations, as a good read, and as an absorbing history of the turbulent relationship between Washington and Manila since the United States was vaulted into the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. The conclusion is rather somber. Karnow quotes a World Bank study completed in summer 1988 which observes that there are more people living in poverty in the Philippines today than at any time in recent history. Even with an unusually high growth rate of six percent, the study concludes that the Philippines would return to its 1982 level only by 1992. The study cites a familiar litany: the government's neglect of rural areas, widespread tax evasion by the rich and a grossly inequitable land ownership pattern. Can Cory make it? Karnow ends by quoting Stephen Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to Manila: "If 'making it' means turning the Philippines into a stable, prosperous, self-confident model of democracy in a developing country, the answer is clearly no. . . . If the question is whether her government can survive and she can continue to make gradual but important progress, then my answer is yes."

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