Not sure what to make of the new President of the Philippines, Duterte, who is stacking drug dealers like cord wood and telling off the USA Hegemon. The massive US Air Force Base was shut down a while ago, but to throw out the rest of USA soldiers is new:
At the height of that, some 1,200 Americans were in Zamboanga City and on Jolo and Basilan islands, both strongholds of Abu Sayyaf, which is known for its brutality and for earning huge sums of money from hostage-taking.
The U.S. program was discontinued in the Philippines in 2015 but a small troop presence has remained for logistics and technical support. Washington has shifted much of its security focus in the Philippines towards the South China Sea.
In his speech to officials on Monday, Duterte repeated comments from last week when he accused the United States of committing atrocities against Muslims over a century ago on Jolo island.
Now Trump will like cutting that cost being cut, but the more interesting thing is Duterte is admitting Moslem complaints. Will he reach a detente with militant separatists? Will he guide he Philippines through the dicey decade to come with the USA/China sea lane fights coming?
A Philippines with no USA military presence is actually in a better position to negotiate with China than with USA presence. The Philippines itself is no threat to China, so China can afford to be magnanimous with a Philippines free of the hegemon. Maybe that is the thinking.
The Philippines and Vietnam both claim the Islands China claims. The more the Philippines freezes Uncle Sam out, the easier it is for Duterte to cut a deal with the Chinese.
(And I swear, every Filipino has a nickname, and Duterte's is Digong. Ancient Rome was the same way, people were known and addressed by their nicknames, Cicero is "Garbanzo beans, Caligula is "little boots" and so on. To this day mobsters are called "the torpedo" "the chin" "the bull" An Air Philippines flight is a hoot, "Hey Candy" "Sit down, Lucky" "hello Kitty...')
Filipinos I know speak approvingly of Duterte, although, like Trump, uneasy at his cowboy-style, wild west style. But the admire. The Philippines economy may improve now with such fundamental shake-ups, and usually someone effective is initially questioned.
At the same time the fact that more countries are telling the hegemon to take a hike, means less power for the hegemon. The hegemons power is/was based on ex nihilo credit. For whatever reason, that weapon no longer works. This is good, so we can get back to an organic market.
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