Case 173 - The Fall of Marcos: A Problem in U.S. Foreign Policymaking
Kline, William E.
In February 1986, President Ferdinand Marcos fell from power after 20 years as leader of the Philippines. Marcos’ success as a politician, his decline, and his eventual fall all took place within the context of the special relationship that had existed between the United States and the Philippines ever since 1898, when the Philippines became a U.S. colony. This case study uses that episode to examine the role of Congress, in shaping U.S. policy toward the country; the media, which provided extensive and influential coverage of the crisis; and intelligence within the U.S. policy process. It also analyzes ways for Washington to respond effectively when the leader of a country with which we are allied becomes corrupt and loses popular support. This case study could usefully be paired with “A King's Exile: The Shah of Iran and Moral Considerations in U.S. Foreign Policy” (Case Study 261) and “The Fall of the Shah of Iran” (Case Study 120).