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Friday, March 23, 2018

American “battleship” at the Chinese border still went down

On Friday, the defense Minister of the Philippines stated that the army of his country can easily do without US aid. Earlier, the President of Duarte, famous for his eccentricity, has already made it clear to Washington that the long-term military Alliance came to an end. For the United States is a severe blow to China – a gift from heaven for Russia – a chance. And Duterte clearly waiting for the parties bids.

Rodrigo ROA Duterte became President of the Philippines a little more than two months ago – July 30, 2016, as world media reported the victory as “East trump”. Meant, of course, the eccentric American billionaire, but in this part of Duterte trump is clearly surpassed. In those two months he managed to compare himself with Hitler, to hell or hell several world leaders (including the Pope, UN Secretary General ban Ki-moon and Barack Obama), and in the end seriously ruined traditionally strong relations with the United States.

“Philippines when Duterte – as a marriageable girl, confident that she will soon be showered with benefits of potential suitors”

With all this Duterte enjoys the widest support of Filipinos, his approval rating, according to various estimates, ranging from 70% to 90%. In fact, he has already taken in international politics the place left vacant after the death of Hugo Chavez, equally beloved by the people.

The leader of the Philippines not young (71 years old) and not new to large Philippine politics. It all started in 1986 when ousted President Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country unchallenged for over 20 years. According to his critics, he has established in the Philippines, the regime of personal dictatorship and propagated the cult of personality, imprisoned and killed opposition politicians (of Corazon Aquino – the widow of one of the slain became a next President). According to his supporters, Marcos is a true hero of the war (Pacific theatre of world war II), who pulled the Philippines out of the stone age, legalized the Communist party and began to converge with the Soviet Union, pursuing an independent foreign policy.

Whoever was right, Marcos was overthrown. The Americans, mindful of his former merits, took the former President to Hawaii, where he soon died. The opposition started to reorganize Philippines to your taste. Then Vice-mayor of Davao city – the third populous in the country – got the local Prosecutor Rodrigo Duterte. Interestingly, this city was not a stranger to the deposed Marcos – his father was a local Governor during the colonial period.

Two years later, Duterte was already a full-fledged mayor. Davao city he ruled until 2016, with two breaks associated with the restriction on the number of mayoral terms in a row – then Duterte was sat in a chair Vice-the mayor (it is hard not to recall Medvedev a break in the presidential career of Vladimir Putin), and the second time (2010-2013) father at the post was covering his own daughter. She became President of Duterte, handed over the keys to the city.

In 1989, during the first period of Duterte in a local prison, a riot broke out, during which there was a gang-rape and murder of the citizen of Australia. When in the course of the presidential campaign, the journalists recalled Duterte about the case, he replied that the woman was attractive, and so “the mayor was supposed to be the first” (among those who raped her). Naturally, this provoked the indignation of Australia and women’s organizations around the world, and the campaign headquarters had tried to smooth over the situation, declaring the statement a joke. But he Duterte, as usual, sent all critics to hell.

Even before Duterte managed to name “son of a bitch” the Pope – the policy did not like that because of the Pope’s motorcade in Manila – the capital of the Philippines – originated traffic. It should be noted that 90% of believers of the Filipinos are Catholics. And such a statement to the Pontiff could be costly to the candidate. But Duterte won, succeeding to the presidency Benigno Aquino III – son of the previous President Kirsana Aquino, murdered by Marcos Senator.

Like his parents, Aquino’s foreign policy focused exclusively on the United States and was reluctant to change the traditional Union. The new President, even before he could properly enter into the course of Affairs, began to provoke the conflict with the Americans out of the blue. The first went to United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg, and less than a week after joining Duterte office. The Philippine leader said that Goldberg gay son of a bitch and grossly interfered in the presidential campaign. Gross interference, according to Duterte, was the indignation that Goldberg and the other Western ambassadors had expressed about jokes about gang rape. The state Department and the foreign Ministry of the Philippines has tried to hush up the scandal, but he immediately followed by a new one.

As the Prosecutor and the mayor Duterte was famous for its merciless attitude towards criminals and other offenders. In 2015, a visitor to one of the bars in Davao city lit up right at the table, violating local anti-Smoking law. The owner called the mayor (good, apparently, a bar, since the owner is the mayor of 1.7-million city), and he arrived in person, after which the offender was forced to eat a cigarette butt. This episode provoked criticism from various human rights organizations, but added Duterte political points. That was very useful: at that time it was awake presidential ambitions.

Subsequently, Duterte repeatedly expressed in that spirit that will be for criminals the same as what Hitler was to Jews. Jewish organizations of this comparison is, of course, did not like, and the President, contrary to his custom to send all to hell, you apologized. But more importantly, in contrast to many modern populists, Duterte trying to keep his words do not disperse from business. As mayor, he declared total war on drug dealers, and after moving to the presidency, spread it all over the country, practicing extremely brutal methods, including extrajudicial killings. By the way, the death penalty in the territory of the Philippines is prohibited. The President really wants her back, but couldn’t push the corresponding decision through Parliament.

In principle, the police of Manila, and usually tried not to take the drug dealers live, preferring to kill them during the arrest. With the beginning of the presidency of Duterte this practice was extended to the whole country. For a few months at the hands of policemen and their voluntary assistants killed several thousand suspected drug dealers. The exact number is unknown, and it is unclear who most overestimates the figure – a human rights organization or the President himself, who wants to show Filipinos all his brutality against the drugs that really are one of the important problems of the Philippines. These extrajudicial killings had intended to discuss with Duterte Obama after the summit in Beijing, what was the reason for the unprecedented (at that level) harassment in the White house. But this episode pretty quickly hushed up: the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Philippines issued an apology on behalf of the Philippine President, his American colleague they took. And given the stubbornness of Duterte did the right thing. The gap with the Philippines – the last thing the outgoing President Obama.

“The owner of the establishment called Duterte, and he arrived in person, after which the offender was forced to eat a cigarette”

Philippines – a former American colony, which was ceded to the United States after the victory in the Spanish-American war. Their independence only a few decades, and in all spheres of Philippine life influence US very much. For example, a very high percentage of English speakers in the country are several us military bases, and the presence of American business. In addition, the Philippines has outstanding territorial dispute with China, under which the United States has always stood on the side of his younger partner. We are talking about the Spratly archipelago. Though the main battle going on between Vietnam and China, Manila in the precursors of Duterte repeatedly promised to fight for those rocks “to the last sailor and marine”.

It would seem that in this situation to remain without strong friends not in the interests of the Philippines. Therefore, the US State Department in its assessment of the situation came from the fact that Duterte – yeah, stubborn and shocking, but overall focus on domestic issues, and foreign policy will not touch. Diplomats are severely mistaken.

12 September Duterte said that it was a good idea to close one of the U.S. military bases in the Muslim part of the country, as the local population does not like America (and many other Muslims). In early October, the Philippine leader hinted that his country is looking for new friends and military allies such as Russia and China, and annual military exercises the U.S. and the Philippines will be the last. Then it became obvious and a definite pattern in the statements of the President. Previous insults to Obama came during a summit in Beijing ahead of the visit of Duterte in China.

Even the hint of a possible curtailment of military cooperation with the United States is a very serious gift of China. These specific annual exercise Beijing is extremely annoying. We can only guess what the present will bring Filipino soon to Moscow.

What was once perceived as shocking from the sharp-tongued politician-populist, now looks like a well thought out work the change in foreign policy. And the Americans are currently in a “transitional period” in connection with the presidential election and who the main diplomatic power on “problem solving” in Europe and the middle East, this agility is clearly not the time. Minister of defense Ashton Carter on Thursday called the Union of the Philippines with the United States “as strong as a battleship” than spawned jokes on the part of American publicists on the topic “ship that sank”.

Philippines when Duterte – as a marriageable girl, confident that she will soon be showered with benefits of potential suitors. Of course, a window of opportunity opened you should use the Russian military to expand markets, especially in recent years, it works very well, as Vladimir Putin puts a goal in each thematic meeting. “I will break up with America. If you don’t want to sell weapons, I appeal to Russia and China,” said Duterte a few days ago, stressing that Russia is ready to cooperate.

However, other things being equal, the chances of China while that look is preferred. Yes, Southeast Asia is a promising region where Moscow has gradually increased its presence, relying primarily on Vietnam. But for China, the Philippines, the immediate neighbor with a huge number of tried and tested contacts. To win over the American “battleship” at its own borders, the Chinese will go to very, very much. Especially in a period when China is expanding its territorial expansion in the South China sea, and the United States in response to the increasing restraint regime (Philippines in this deterrence, the second most important “wall”, Japan is the first). Not the fact that Moscow deems it necessary to argue with Beijing over the plot – the relationship with yourself China in any case are for her in the first place, and the conflict between China and tested ally Vietnam over the Spratly and so is the cause of many diplomatic tricks. The inclusion of this equation is even and the Philippines is infinitely more complicated.

However, with only one hand. There is another: the situation directly dictates of Moscow, the continuation of the already selected lines in the framework of the dispute over the spratlys principally to stay “above the fray”. And what about this thinks Duterte and how his views seem acceptable to Beijing, is an open question. The Chinese are true to their strategy and only look to an eccentric President, clearly not trusting him for fear of “false starts” that gives Moscow a temporary handicap and the obvious chance to go to the local arms market, leaving (so be it) the role of the main player respected Chinese partners.

But do not forget that Duterte is not the only Filipino politician. And most of the local establishment has been focused on Washington and focuses on it until now. Yes, now Duterte enjoys the widest support of the population, but not the fact that he will use it always. In addition, the President is 71 years old. It is unlikely that he, like Marcos, with whom he recently fashionable to compare hold on to power for 20 years. All this gives US hope that the ship of the American-Filipino friendship can go even through the storm.


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