Recently Michael Moore made a video comment that the election of Donald Trump would be the biggest middle finger to government in history. It’s not often I agree with the personification of Jabba the Hut, but he is spot on in this case.
The rise of one Donald Trump is not about him; it’s about the anger and disgust the common American has with the political, media, cultural, corporate, education and entertainment elites. However, the American people are not the only ones poised to give a one-finger salute.
As reported by the Washington Post, “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he wanted U.S. troops out of his country, perhaps in the next two years, underlining his intention to press ahead with a major realignment of his country’s foreign and security policies.
It is not the first time Duterte has made this kind of threat, but his two-year timetable for a U.S. military exit appeared designed to reinforce his break-the-mold message to Washington and neighbors in Asia, particularly powerhouse China.
So far, however, his administration has failed to follow through on previous pledges to remove a small contingent of U.S. counterterrorism troops from the southern island of Mindanao or to notify Washington of an end to military exercises.
The United States “has received no formal communication from the government of the Philippines expressing a desire to make specific changes to our relationship or alliance,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday at a news briefing in Washington.
“The United States remains committed to our pursuit of shared objectives” in keeping with the “seven-decade alliance between our two countries,” he said. Earnest said Duterte’s comments appear to be “rhetoric at this point,” although they do “contribute to some uncertainty.”
He said there were no plans yet for President Obama to meet with Duterte at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru next month, but he did not rule it out. The Philippines is one of the oldest U.S. allies in Asia and hosted permanent U.S. military bases until they were evicted in 1992. It is also an important Pentagon counterweight to China, whose expansion plans into the South China Sea have dismayed the Philippines and other nations.
“I want to be friends to China,” Duterte told an audience of business representatives in Tokyo, the Associated Press reported. “I do not need the arms. I do not want missiles established in my country. I do not need to have the airports to host the bombers.”
President Duterte just recently announced his desire for a “separation” from the United States — rhetoric is one thing, but international embarrassment is another. My assessment? This is a response to a very weak and dismissive Barack Obama who never really “pivoted” to the Pacific Rim as his foreign policy objective was stated.
There’s no doubt China is the growing regional hegemonic power, economically of course, and growing so militarily. It is unconscionable to think we would find ourselves in such a global conundrum with a longstanding ally such as the Philippines.
And even if there were an undercurrent sentiment of such, making the open declarations says something very clearly: we have lost respect and regard. Obama’s foreign policy has been perplexing, confusing and confounding to say the least for those who have been our longstanding allies.
If there’s ever been a penchant for over-the top-rhetoric, it’s held by President Obama. He traipsed around the world, blathering about with soaring speeches and rhetoric, but the results speak for themselves. We must consider what a Pacific looks like without an alliance with the Philippines? And if this is more than rhetoric, then who would be next to fall under the red flag of Communist China?
I believe President Duterte is also taking a stance in preparation for what he believes will be a Hillary Clinton presidency — she wasn’t exactly a stellar secretary of state. Hey, maybe ol’ Hillary could give Rodrigo a “reset button” — after all, that worked REALLY well with the Russians. This is the old hedging of bets as we go into the final two weeks of our presidential election cycle. Duterte is probably reading the polls — which may be flawed — and thinking ahead, knowing he can always come back and recant, and change his positions if it’s President Donald Trump.
My recommendation is this for whomever is serving as the Trump foreign policy transition team lead: open up a line of communications between Donald Trump and President Duterte. Ascertain what his concerns are and seek out his counsel as to a strong U.S. foreign policy in the Pacific. Talk about how we can strengthen our economic and national security bonds — especially knowing the Islamic terror group Abu Sayyaf still has a base of operations there.
Now of course, there are those progressive socialists who will chime in that it would undermine our current foreign policy — which would be the case if we had a policy. Right now, President Duterte may be a leader who is looking for some reassurances…we know what he’s going to do if it’s a Hillary Clinton presidency — BOLT.
Here is where it’s important to begin to demonstrate leadership. Trump needs to start reaching out to foreign leaders and provide them reassurance — especially those in Eastern Europe who are staring down the resurgence of the Russian bear. He could clear up concerns about his NATO rhetoric and start building relationships.
These leaders know exactly who Hillary Clinton is and what they’ll get with her, just a lot of frequent flyer miles…and more gimmicks like the reset button, along with more power vacuums such as what happened in Iraq. Mrs. Clinton has already said she will carry on Obama’s policies who has stated he’d be personally insulted if she isn’t elected. I’m offended he’d make such an assertion!
Remember when President Obama was in Asia — Japan I believe — and he made the insidious statement that world leaders were nervous about a Donald Trump presidency? Well, it’s Obama who’s nervous. World leaders are anxious to see him gone, but are truly antsy about him being followed by the “pay to play” Choom Gang known as the Clintons.
Here we are, in the final months on his term – as a matter of fact my Barack Obama countdown clock says 84 days, 8 hours, 19 minutes, and 30 seconds at this moment — and we have a longstanding ally speaking publicly of separating from the United States and evicting U.S. troops. This is yet another example of Obama’s fundamental transformation of our Republic. We give billions of dollars to those who chant “death to America” and turn our backs on our allies.
I suppose President Duterte simply believes, with friends like Obama, I prefer to align with communist China.