The Philippines: A Natural Solution

A Natural Solution

Mount Pinatubo, the volcano that covered much of Luzon with dust and ash last month, also proved a kind of mediator in the protracted bargaining over the future of U.S. bases there. The Philippine government had been demanding direct compensation of $400 million annually for a seven-year lease extension on Clark Air Base and the huge U.S. Navy facilities at Subic Bay. Washington was offering $360 million a year and wanted an eight- to 10-year lease.

Negotiations wound up quickly last week after Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney announced that the U.S. was no longer interested in Clark because it would...

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