President Duterte of the Philippines is behaving more and more like a bull in a China shop. After he won a victory in the last election, Duterte has assumed this was a signal for him to carry out his actions as he deemed fit. He started a war on the drug mafia and as per reports almost 3-4,000 men have been killed in extra-judicial killings.
Duterte and the US
Obviously, President Obama and the US government cautioned the Philippine government against these extra-judicial killings. In return, the Philippine president attacked Obama with profane statements. President Obama had no choice but to call off a scheduled meeting with Duterte on the sidelines of the last ASEAN summit in Indo-China. Duterte did not stop at that but threatened withdrawal from the #military pact with the USA. Earlier he had said he would withdraw from the UNO.
Duterte showed he was a naive leader when he made overtures to China over the head of the USA, even after China had rejected the decision of the Hague tribunal on the islands in the South China sea. The complaint to the tribunal had been filed by the Philippines and it is a matter of surprise that instead of following up with China on the status of the islands in the South China sea, Duterte talked of getting weapons from China and #Russia. Were Duterte to go ahead with his pronouncements, the power equation in South East Asia would profoundly change.
Naive and foolish?
One wonders if Duterte is serious as he has also attacked the EU and mentioned that as hell was full so the EU will have to settle for purgatory. Duterte is talking big, more like a sheep trying to ape a lion. Can he forget that the Philippines is no great shakes as a military power and the survival of the Philippines depends on US military power? He should not forget the prophetic words of Nehru that a strong China is always an expansionist China. China already claims the islands in the South China Sea which have traditionally been part of the Philippines' sphere of influence. Duterte seems to be oblivious to the Chinese threat in SE Asia as he recently brandished that he had sent his generals to Russia and China and they had promised him all the weaponry he needed.
Duterte will probably meet his match in case Donald Trump becomes president. He could well be at the receiving end then. In the meantime, Duterte will do well to establish Philippine sovereignty and fight the Islamic insurrection that is not yet controlled.