The United States has allies and partners all over the world. Yet very few people question the necessity of such partnerships, even when they are with states led by unhinged maniacs or tyrants.
Exhibit number one in the unhinged category falls to President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. Recently, Duterte seemed to call President Obama a “son of a b—-.” As a result, bilateral talks were canceled between them. Duterte has a propensity for such language, having slurred the pope and the American ambassador with similar language in the past.
However, one might be able to get over President Duterte’s colorful turns of phrase if such language weren’t accompanied by outright disturbing rhetoric and even more disturbing actions. Duterte was elected on a tough-on-crime platform. According to The Guardian, Duterte promised during the election that “100,000 people would die in his crackdown on drugs, with so many dead bodies dumped in Manila Bay that fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.” This hardly seems like an empty boast, since when Duterte was mayor of the town of Davao, he was connected to vigilante groups believed to have killed over 1,000 people. He has admitted to participating in the killing of three suspected criminals while he was mayor and is nicknamed “the punisher.” Nearly 2,000 people have been killed within his first two months in office, and he has called for addicts to be killed by vigilantes.
Despite this outrageous behavior, the U.S. has pledged to help the Philippines in its war on drugs. Even worse, following a 10-year defense agreement signed in 2014, the U.S. has begun deploying U.S. troops to the country in order to balance against China’s claims in the South China Sea.
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