Reliable Security Information

Dump Duterte

The United States does not need the Philippines. As Mr. Dooley noted in 1898, americans were initially unsure "whether they were islands or canned goods.... We can't sell thim, we can't ate thim, an' we can't throw thim into th' alley whin no wan is lookin'." Now President Duterte is making it pretty clear that his Philippines does not need the United States, and he would rather kowtow to Beijing. So be it.
On 14 September 2016 Duterte's government announced that maritime patrols will be limited to "12-mile territorial waters" which effectively concedes to China's maritime claims in the South China Sea. and ti warns Philippine fishermen that their government will not defend their legal rights against the tender mercies of China.
A rehearsal of the century long colonial and post-colonial history of the two countries is probably un-neccessary for most people who can find the place on a map.
The Philippines does not have any special claim on American attention. The American interest in freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is entirely independent of the territorial claims of the Philippines, and independent of any resolution of disputed claims between the Philippines and China. American bases in the Philippines are nice, but there are other countries that are receptive to an American presence. The Islamist militancy in the Philippines is no greater than that in several dozen other countries.
Dutertes is a great believer in death squads, and since his inauguration death squads both official and un-official have been murdering Philippino citizens at a rate of about a thousand a month - a number of murders rate just short of the number of people are killed by guns in America. Now the United States is no stranger to death squads and the purposes to which they may be put, and the Philippines has a history of what is nicely termed "Extra Judicial Executions".
But normally the sponsors of death squads seek to hide such deplorable activities. Almost always death squads operate in the shadows, behind veil of official denials. But Duterte lacks even this common decency. Death squads are Duterte's signature policy initiative.
Foul and indecent language is Duterte's signature style, but there is no law against that.
There is a law against American assistance to the Philippines in order to pressure the Philippine government to hold the perpetrators of extrajudicial executions [EJEs] and political violence accountable. In fiscal years 2008 and 2009, $2 million of some $30 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) authorized for the Philippines was withheld because conditions were not satisfied.
This no more than a pinprick, and not surprisingly, it was at best ignored in the Philippines, if not laughed at.
What is needed now is the full weight of American sanctions against the Duterte government - travel ban, international financial transactions, the whole ball of wax. And not just against Duterte personally, but against all his cabinet ministers, major financial backers, and any other un-indicted co-conspirators that come to hand. The American people have no argument with the Philippino people, and these actions should be restricted to the high and mighty alone.
But until the Philippine people have a President who wants American security assistance, and who can refrain from publicly calling the US President's mother a prostitute, the American government should have other fish to fry besides the philippines.

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