THE GEOPOLITICAL GAME
AND RODRIGO DUTERTE OF THE PHILIPPINES
By Apolinario Villalobos
America bit the bait dangled by the detractors of Rodrigo Duterte on the issue of the “extra judicial killings” in the Philippines imagined by them to be perpetrated by him. These detractors are obviously funded by drug lords who want to liquidate him, as well as, his political opponents with misdoings when they held the reins of the government, hence, lined up for future prosecution/investigation as what is being done to de Lima. If these detractors want “due process”, here’s one for them: PROVE THAT DUTERTE DID ALL THE JUDICIAL KILLINGS.
On the part of the Americans, they did not even give a damn thought on the much-talked about narco-politics and corruption that is gnawing at the whole system of the country. Two American senators did not even give a thought on the fact that the three branches of the government are independent from each other, hence, their call for Duterte to put the Judiciary system in order first, before embarking into the “genocide” of drug addicts is out of tune, as he belongs to the Executive branch, ergo, has got nothing to do with the Judiciary…and who are they to pre-judge Duterte as criminal?…they who live so far away from the Philippines?
America gave Duterte a reason to react to their uncalled for remarks which are tantamount to dipping of their fingers in the internal affairs of the Philippines, much more, in accusing the president of embarking on a genocide of drug addicts. What a way to defend criminals! As a show of nervous reaction, American legislators practically take every statement of Duterte literally. So perhaps, if Duterte will compare a person to a fly, these white-skinned wise guys will assume that the person is really a fly! On the issue of the genocide, what has America done on the genocides happening in African countries that involve tribes….if the image that she wants to project is that of a “Big Brother” of the world?
The best thing that America could have done when Duterte took office as president was discreetly offer help for his immediate plan to embark on a drive against illegal drugs. But she took her time, as if cautiously observing what this ordinary looking and cussing guy from the south of the Philippines can do to realize his ranting against the drug lords and drug pushers…short of saying, “let us see if he can do it”, obviously underestimating his capability.
On the issue of the West Philippine Sea, looking back to so many years in the past, America kept a “safe distance” from the issue. It did not say anything when a concrete facility built by the Chinese suddenly popped up on one of the contested shoals. It maintained the principle of distance and her being a non-claimant, hence, has no business in the contested maritime area. It did not do anything when the Chinese poachers practically “mined” the reefs for their rare corals and shells. Finally, she gave hollow warnings to China only after more shoals have been transformed into fake islands and when the UN committee that handled the maritime dispute issued its verdict in favor of the Philippines. But, they remained as warnings while China does not give a damn as she bides her time in reclaiming more reefs. The warnings even made many wonder if they were sincerely given, considering the tight financial grip that China has on the neck of America.
Duterte knows for a fact that America will never release her hold on the Philippines based on the issue of strategic location in Southeast Asia. America needs the Philippines to maintain her dominance of the world, and so it seems. In this regard, every time Duterte utters the scrapping of the joint exercises between the US and the Philippine militaries, he makes the American leadership nervous. The overt high regard of Duterte to China and Russia makes America more nervous.
If America is wise, she should behave the way she should and respect the sovereignty of the Philippines, not like a landlady admonishing a tenant who has long overdue unpaid bills. Unfortunately for her, the new president of the Philippines is one who has been toughened with nationalism, ill-feeling against corruption, and illegal drugs….also, one who cannot be bent with threats….traits of a leader in a world beset with bluffs, exploitation, and treachery among the weak and strong nations that characterize geopolitics.
With the shaky relationship of the Philippines with America, Duterte this time is holding on to the ace. America should better think twice before making her next move and utter another statement. She should realize this time that she is not the only powerful nation in the whole world, based on the economic trends and political movements that constantly re-align alliances among nations. What is clear here is that America IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION….in the game of geopolitics.