Military- touriSM
PartnerShiPS in haWai‘i
and the PhiliPPineS
“Joe” is an identity that is almost automatically attributed to
young white men of a certain age in the Philippines, regardless
of whether or not they are American soldiers. The insistent hail
“Hey, Joe!”—in city streets, at markets, or at the beach—while
a somewhat awkward attempt at intercultural communication,
evokes a long history of U.S. military occupation in the islands
that established Joe as a regular fixture. Joe’s history militarizes
his status as a visitor: his practices of leisure (and by exten-
sion, those of civilians) were secured by the labor of his mili-
tary tours. As symbolic and material evidence of the promise of
U.S.- Philippine fraternal collaborations, Joe as tourist and sol-
dier embodies the masculinized mobilities of American- style
modernity. His is the ambassadorship of military protection
intertwined with the pleasurable cosmopolitan possibilities of
stability and security.
Joe’s reception, of course, is uneven: in places where massive
military installations dominate the landscape, he is welcomed
for the income that base economies bring and resented for the
sexual trade and erosion of local sovereignties fostered by his
presence. In Mindanao, where the U.S. military has waged a
century- long pacification campaign against Muslims, Joe might
be greeted as a savior or reviled as a violent interloper. My own
initial encounters with Joe were largely benign. Growing up on
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