Philippines Rodrigo Duterte: “Bye Bye America. I have China”

First, he is alleged to have called President Obama an SOB. Now he appears to be cursing all of America. As reported on Politico.com:

While calling Americans “sons of bitches” and “hypocrites,” Duterte praised China as having “the kindest soul of all” for offering what he said was significant financial assistance. “So, what do I need America for?” he asked. He also said Russia can be a very important ally. “They do not insult people, they do not interfere,” he said.

According to recent reports, the U.S. government aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation; is reviewing whether to renew several hundred million dollars in poverty aid to the Philippines following Mr Duterte’s alleged claim that he has killed drug dealers/drug users when he was mayor in a Philippine province – prior to being elected President.

If true, these murders would be extra-judicial and would violate perhaps Philippine law as well as international human rights laws and treaties to which the Philippines could be members. This and other claims and outbursts have reportedly given agency officials pause and they are taking a wait and see attitude about giving more money to Duterte’s regime. Monsieur Duterte has promised to strike back at America by annulling or abrogating their Visiting Forces Agreement, a pact between the US and the Philippines to have joint combat exercises between the two militaries.

Duterte continued to express disdain for sitting president Barack Obama. For example, according to a recent article on Politico.com:

Duterte, who has had a difficult relationship with President Barack Obama, said he would change his mindset if President-elect Donald Trump appeals to him. “I have talked to Trump, he was very nice, very courteous,” he said. “I could not sense any hostile drift, or even the manner he was saying it, so, in deference, I’ll just wait.”

“I will let Obama fade away and if he disappears, then I will begin to reassess.”

But if there is any silver lining about the future US/Philippines relationship, he still seems to respect the idea of Donald Trump as president and has praised the businessman expressing appreciation for their similarities and brash style:

Duterte said, adding that he and Trump acknowledged each other’s similarly brash manners.

“We talk in the same language,” Duterte said. He recalled that when he told Trump in a recent phone call that “I like your mouth, it’s like mine,” he said Trump responded by saying, “Yes, Mr. President, we’re similar.”

“And you know, people with the same feather flock together,” Duterte said.

He certainly is controversial but the good thing about all of this is that Monsieur Duterte has put the Philippines on the map and has drawn attention to himself and his country. He gets an inordinate amount of press now and enjoys international scrutiny because of this very controversial nature.

And so far, while Duterte has  promised to turn his energies and loyalties towards China, which he claims has showered the Philippines with economic incentives, he has not reneged on his agreement to come to the United States in 2017 at the invitation of President elect Trump, who, reportedly has invited Mr Duterte to the White House for tea.

 

North Korea’s Kim Jung Un Capitalizes on the Chaos Besetting South Korea by Conducting Special Operations Drills/Combat Exercises

Kim Jong Un is sending a message to everyone, including, perhaps, US president Elect Donald Trump. The message? “I am badass and you know it.” In the interim, he is also taking advantage of the constitutional and political crises that have besieged his southerly neighbor – South Korea – after the impeachment of president Park Guen Hye last week.

Though she is still technically living in the presidential palace called the Blue House, Park Guen Hye has been stripped of all her power and the country is being governed temporarily by prime minister Hwang kyo ahn while the country’s constitutional court weighs whether to affirm or deny the impeachment and thus either restore her rule or relegate her to criminal proceedings.

Things are definitely tense in South Korea however the prime minister of South Korea says that despite the uncertainty brought on by the recent impeachment of the president, that South Korea is ready and poised to retaliate if Kim Jong Un should try any theatrics.

According to a Reuters report, Kim Jong Un watched with binoculars as his military personnel performed drills using South Korea’s Blue House as target practice. And Mr Un alleged crowed “well done. Enemy troops have no space to hide.”

Things are definitely tense in the Korean Peninsula.

Out-going US Secretary of State John Kerry Almost Begs Assad and Putin to Show Some Mercy

According to a recent media report US Secretary of State is at his wits end with Bashir Assad and Vladimir Putin. Kerry reportedly told reporters in Paris that Bashir Assad and Vladimir Putin are “in a dominant position now in Aleppo and should show a little grace” to the civilians and fighters trying to leave.

Mr Kerry is heading to Geneva Switzerland to hold talks with officials from Moscow and Syria – as well as other countries – to try to find a solution that would serve everyone’s best interest. Neither Assad nor Putin seem particularly keen on obeying, however.

South Korea’s Park Guen Hye Impeached Just When Voters Worry About Trump’s Impact on Trade

South Korea’s president Park Guen Hye was holed up at the Blue House – the presidential residence – when she learned her fate. She has been impeached by the country’s parliament for corrupt dealings and now awaits the decision of the nation’s constitutional court, on whether the parliamentary decision to impeach her will be upheld, or not. The impeachment was by an overwhelming majority of votes which included some from Park Guen Hye’s own party – 234 in favor to 56 against –  according to a Reuters report. Notably, she is not the first leader of South Korea to be impeached and the previous was exonerated by the Court. Thus it is not necessarily game over for the beleaguered president.

Ms Guen Hye who is a fruit of a political oligarchy (her late father was president until he was assassinated in 1979) could in fact face prosecution for these alleged misdeeds if indeed the constitutional court affirms the decision of the parliament.

This impeachment upheaval comes at a time when the country is worried about how President Trump’s foreign policies will impact their economic outlook as a nation and when the country is experiencing heightened tensions with their neighbor to the North – North Korea.

 

US President Elect Donald Trump’s Friendliness With Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Unnerves Journalists

A recent article in the Washington Post highlights the budding relationship  between US president elect Donald Trump and Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte who are quickly becoming political bffs. The former has allegedly been showering profuse praise on the latter for his handling of domestic drug problems in the Philippines; and Mr Trump has even invited Mr Duterte to the White House for tea early next year in spite of the fact that Mr Duterte is alleged to have very recently used derogatory, vulgar and insulting language to describe Barack Obama, the current president of the United States.

Some journalists are sounding the alarm bell. Why? Some believe that Mr Duterte is a violator of human rights in his country where he has waged an aggressive and deadly war against drug users and drug traffickers in his country and they balk at the idea that a US president (elect) could take pride in associating with such a character. And they also feel that journalists are not safe in the Philippines.

In the Washington Post article which referenced an article in the New Yorker as well as a piece in the Atlantic, the following quote about Mr Duterte emerged:

When he campaigned for the presidency of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte promised to wage a deadly war on drugs. In fiery speeches, he called drugs “the evil that will destroy the country,” and said users were sub-human beings who deserve to die. “Go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful,” he said in one speech. With hyperbolic flourish, he committed to killing 100,000 criminals and dumping so many of their corpses in Manila Bay that the fishes would “grow fat” by feeding on them. “The funeral parlors will be packed. … I’ll supply the dead bodies,” he bragged. Duterte was pledging to do what no other president had managed to do: Go after drug traffickers and end drugs and criminality, all within a self-imposed timeline of three to six months.

All of this would be important reporting anyway, but it has taken on an added significance since last week, when Trump spoke with Duterte over the phone and, according to Duterte, invited him to visit the White House next year and praised the war on drugs in the Philippines as the “right way.”

It is not possible to authenticate this quote and thus one can only say that he is alleged to have said these things. The larger question is whether, even without this particular quote, Mr Duterte’s is the kind of friendship that the president of the US should be courting.

Trump and Duterte share one key thing in common: they both detest the press. Mr Trump has even joked that he would never kill journalists but that he does not respect them very much. In a recent article on Reuters, Mr Duterte apparently did not hold back his candor when speaking about the assassination of journalists.

 

 

What Americans can learn from the South Korean’s attempt to impeach their president

South Korea is having a crisis brought on by a corruption scandal that has hit President Park Geun-hye who is facing impeachment because of these allegations of fraud, nepotism and outright corrupt dealings. Ms Park Geun Hye is the daughter of the former president of the country – Park Chung Hee. The country, which transitioned from a military dictatorship to a “democracy” in the 1980s seems poised for even greater political change, according to one article in the Washington Post which reads in part:

South Korea made an astonishing transformation from a poor, agrarian nation in the 1960s to the rich, high-tech powerhouse it is today. This metamorphosis was driven by the current president’s father, military strongman Park Chung-hee, whose government support for conglomerates such as Samsung and Hyundai not only powered industrialization but also forged the bond between politics and business that endures today.

The one lesson that can be gleaned for countries such as the United States (and the citizens of these countries, as well as their leaders) is that politics and business can make good bedfellows, except in those circumstances when politicians over-reach and act in a self-serving manner on behalf of themselves and their friends/families/associates. The consequence for the latter could mean public outcry as can be seen in South Korea where citizens have been spilling into the streets for weeks, demanding the resignation of their current leader who more than likely will be impeached by the country’s constitutional court due to her alleged corrupt dealings.