Rodrigo Duterte Is Sick of America’s Moral Interventions
President Vladimir Putin had Russia roll out the red carpet for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s arrival on Monday. A five-day tour of Russia was planned, and hints of military alliances and weapons sales have already made headlines.
“I don’t want anything to do with the U.S., and I want them to stop telling me what to do. I’ve never been to their country, and when they invited me to [President] Trump’s inauguration I declined, because I was planning to visit Russia,” Duterte told Russian news outlets before the visit.
“America, since the end of the 1960s, has been interfering in other states. They offer a country help but demand in exchange that the country adopt certain laws, for example legalize gay marriages,” he added.
It’s this type of moral interventionism which has Duterte sick of his country’s alliance with the U.S. Constantly criticized for his (extrajudicial and brutal) war on the sickening drug problem in the Philippines, as well as being refused the sale of thousands of rifles to Philippine police, Duterte would love another stable option.
“I remember what the Russian diplomat said: ‘Come to Russia, we all have here anything you need,’” Duterte told cnn Philippines in November 2016.
Duterte is currently diverting resources to the fight against Muslim terrorists in the southern Philippine islands. He’s already threatened to invade the island holding the prominent Abu Sayyaf terrorists, told citizens to arm themselves and to kill terrorists, and said he can be “50 times” as brutal as the militant “animals.”
Duterte told a crowd of laughing Filipinos in April that if he was in a foul mood and was presented with a terrorist, he’d say, “Give me salt and vinegar, and I’ll eat his liver.”
In fact, only a day into Duterte’s Russia trip, he flew back to the Philippines and declared martial law in the south amidst shootouts between police and terrorists.
No matter how much the Philippines has absorbed American culture, everyday realities put a wide gulf between the two countries. The problems of the Philippines are not the problems of the United States. Rodrigo Duterte knows this and wants a partner willing to go along with his plans—the fewer questions asked, the better.
In looking east to China and Russia, Duterte sees the partners he wants.
“Russia sells weapons, no conditions. With the U.S., it’s a different story. They make conditions. But I’m not gonna stand on bended knees,” Duterte told Russian media before he left. “If my country collapses, who will bring it back? The U.S? We need weapons.”
Even with President Trump’s more positive stance toward Duterte’s war on drugs (Duterte previously told President Barack Obama to “go to hell” after his criticisms), he still wants to shift away from America. “I have nothing against America, Trump is my friend. But my foreign policy has shifted. I want to deal with China and Russia. Because in Western world, it’s double talk,” he told Russia Today, Russia’s government-controlled media conglomerate.
“America is double-talk. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. So there will always be a problem; there will always be misconceptions and probably a dislike, if not hatred, for one another,” Duterte said according to Sputnik, another Russian government-controlled news organization.
This shift in alliances matters to the Trumpet because we watch for the prophesied rise of a powerful eastern bloc to challenge the supremacy of the U.S. These eastern “kings,” or authoritarian leaders, of Russia and China will be joined by a number of other nations. The Trumpet has indicated previously that the Philippines may be part of this group. (Read our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy for more information.) President Duterte’s actions should teach the West that a powerful leader can easily change the preferences of a nation that has historically looked to the U.S. for assistance. This in spite of most Filipinos maintaining a favorable view of America.
“When it comes to the military sphere, the current situation in the world is reaching a critical state, and I can’t rule out military alliances,” Duterte told Russian media, adding that China and Russia were the only two countries he believed to be reliable.
The other reason we watch Duterte’s moves to wrench the Philippines away from America is further proof of the fulfillment of America’s decline. Allies who refuse to cooperate, losing ground in the South China Sea, destruction of international credibility, and internal divisions are only the beginning. (Even Duterte said the United States would one day collapse because of conflicting values and agenda originating in its “multi-racial” character.)
When Duterte runs his mouth and the Western world scoffs at his stupidity or dictator worship, he is actually revealing a powerful truth that everyone else is beginning to realize: On the scales of world power, the United States is descending while the counterbalance of the Russia-China alliance rises.