Saturday, April 15, 2017

30 Pesos of Sliver

China is a belligerent nation.  Not content with its already large landmass China wants to break free and stretch her arms into the Sea.  Specifically China has laid a claim to the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.  These islands are well within the bounds of the Philippines and are the Philippines territory.  

China's brash act prompted much heat from the Aquino administration which filed a case with the UN. The UN ruled in favour of the Philippines.  During the presidetial election campaign the Spratly Island situation was also a topic of much debate.  Duterte's solution was bold and forthright. He vowed to jet ski to the islands and plant the flag of the Philippines.

Shortly after winning the election Duterte visited China. It is during this visit that he made his famous "Good-bye America" remarks and began strengthening the Philippines ties to China.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks. 
Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate. 
"In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States," Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. 
"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," Duterte told his Beijing audience.

Now this week he has reversed course completely regarding the Spratly Islands.  From this:

to this:

and now to this:

So much for that campaign promise.

The decision to not raise the flag isn't necessarily a sign of weakness or betrayal to Philippines.  After all China is sensitive and would see such an action as aggressive. It could be interpreted as a shrewd diplomatic move.  Why upset a new friend?

But this move combined with his decision to negotiate with the NPA rebels rather than wipe them out, to seek the help from ISIS financiers Saudi Arabia in securing peace in Mindanao, and his blindness to the threat of ISIS in the Philippines it looks like a betrayal.

Or stupidity of the worst kind.

Why should anyone trust Duterte in the first place?  He has said he is on the road to perdition.  He has admitted to killing men. He says good-bye America and then he asks for their help fighting terrorism while ignoring the US Embassy's terror alert for the Central Visayas. He claims to want to do what's best for the Philippines yet he declares that Abu Sayaf  are not criminals.

Men who kidnap and behead innocent people aren't criminals?
It's hard to draw any solid conclusions from all this.  Duterte is a loose cannon who does what he wants and says what he wants.  If he wants to change his mind then so be it. Let's just hope that he hasn't decided to sell out the Philippines to China for 30 pesos of silver.

No comments:

Post a Comment