Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, has made a very controversial name for himself during his past few months of office.
“Hitler massacred three-million Jews. Now, there are three-million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte said in a speech he had made in September. Duterte’s stance on drug-addicts and drug-dealers is nothing short of extreme, but the rabbit-hole goes much deeper than mere statements
The Philippines Drug War has been very gruesome, with more than 400 Philippine citizens dead from the start of Duterte’s presidency. There have been several instances of Philippines authorities carrying out brutal executions of suspected drug-dealers.
Images emerging from the Philippines show suspected drug-peddlers, bound at the hands and feet, with blood pouring from their heads. These bodies lay in open streets and public places, some lay with “confessions” written on signs next to them. These grotesque scenes are accompanied with a looming elephant: Do these people deserve death?
Duterte, it appears, has only been fueling the flame of their current war, yet he has the approval of the majority of the nation. His influence isn’t isolated to his own nation, in fact, his open ties with the PRC and his criticism of the United States has led to a bit of tension.
In a visit to Beijing in October, Duterte told Chinese leaders this: “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself with your ideological flow.” It has been clear that Duterte has yearned for closer ties with the PRC, but this could prove to be a problem for the United States and its long standing alliance with the Philippines.
Duterte’s view on the United States is very negative, seeing it as a controlling force which wishes to take advantage of his nation. It should be noted, however, that he doesn’t wish to break away from American relations completely.
The year isn’t over, and foreign relations are going to continue to change. If Duterte goes through with his promises of harsh punishment and closer ties with China, we could be seeing quite a bit of hostility between the United States and its current ally.