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Farewell to Arms
Senator Blocks Weapons Sale, and Duterte Fires Back
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  • Kevin

    Would have have similarly opposed Lend-Lease to our allies during WWII?

    Good thing he wasn’t a senator then.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Pity he is a Senator now…. I suspect that the people of Maryland would have been better of with Incitatus….

  • Andrew Allison

    Grandstanding.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Any particular reason to sell weapons to a guy who says he is switching his country’s main alliance from us to China? This is not yesterday’s Philippines. If we want military assets there, we might just inform Duterte that we are staying put—-just like at Guantanamo Bay and we have no plans to pussyfoot with him or humor him personally.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Normally I would agree with you (yes, I know….stop the presses…), but in this case, I don’t think that it really makes much difference. We are talking about small arms, which this clown can get virtually anywhere. By not selling to him, we (further) alienate an already unfriendly leader of an important ally who will merely use this as yet another reason to dislike us, and thus make him even more likely to embrace the Chinese. Worse still, since the small arms that we aren’t selling are available from just about anyone with an arms industry (there is no significant tech here, so we don’t even have any leverage on what can be sold by others), Duterte will simply go elsewhere (as he himself has pointed out), so we accomplish precisely nothing, and at significant cost. This is pure moral posturing at a very high price to us.

      Once again, if we were talking significant weapon systems, I would agree with you here (the American reluctance to sell AH-64s to the Nigerians really did have an impact for instance), but here we are getting no leverage at a pretty high price.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Perhaps. If I was the Dem senator, I probably wouldn’t have done this at this time—-and it may change anyway. But whether it is Obama, Clinton or Trump, someone from America is going to need to find the way to inform Mr. Duterte that we are not going to “give up” our presence in the Philippines and we are not going to pretend he is anything more than a pain in the butt.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Actually I don’t disagree with you on this. Cardin’s objection was not the smartest move, but Duterte’s behavior is not acceptable if he expects to get the ‘fun’ toys.
          With that said, however, just how do we respond if Duterte says that yes, we ARE going to give up our presence in the Philippines? It is their country, after all…do you propose a coup? Like him or not, he is the legally elected leader, and we have to deal with him. That is considerably more than a ‘pain in the butt’

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t know. On one end we have the Obama style of foreign relations which might say, “Well, if you guys like China, we’ll have to respect your decision to re-align.” As you know, that is possibly or probably not the mindset of a Trump government and a Trump Pentagon. I don’t know who is going to be elected, so I don’t know where this is going.

          • f1b0nacc1

            What evidence do you have that a Trump administration would favor such policies? I don’t care for a LOT of Trump’s foreign policy preferences, but when it comes to slapping recalcitrant would-be allies into line, he seems to be opposed…something I agree with. Actually Hillary seems far more hawkish (remember, she was the driving force behind Libya, and her comments on Syria are anything but dovish) than Trump does. Given public statements, I don’t see where the danger of a Trump admin going all nasty on the Philippines comes from.
            Much more to the point, what precisely would we (the US) do even if we did wish to get nasty? Stage a coup? The Philippines is a VERY big place, and Duterte, while not my favorite guy, is reasonably popular and would be tough to dislodge. The Philippine military is laughably weak, even by third-world standards, so unless they got some VERY significant (and difficult to hide) support, a coup isn’t really an option for them. Trade sanctions are one possibility, but they are a blunt tool at best, and we might be cutting off our nose to spite our face. The truth of the matter is that we can bitch and moan about it (and likely will), but other than fiddling a bit with military and economic aid (a losing battle, China can quite easily outbid us, if it comes to that) there isn’t much we could do to coerce an unfriendly Philippine government.
            Finally though, it is THEIR COUNTRY! I thought liberals were against the US intruding in other people’s affairs? I think it will be a catastrophe for the US if the Philippines do realign, and that would have been much smarter to avoid this situation in the first place, but we had also best get ready for this possibility, if indeed it is a serious possibility. If a Trump administration decides to make nice with Duterte (and we all know that good Democrats would NEVER do such a thing!) then perhaps that is best thought of as acknowledging reality and moving forward. Is any of this good for human rights, of course not….but then Ben Cardin (and the twits at State and the Pentagon who enabled him) was far more interested in posturing than actually achieving anything, so there you are….

          • FriendlyGoat

            I think you might be confusing my phrase “back-slap” with “slap”. As far as I can tell, Trump’s approach to Putin is to brag on him and very possibly tell him, as president, to go ahead and consolidate whatever he wants into Putin’s multi-polar vision of a powerful and pertinent Russia on the world stage. Trump might also try to keep Duterte by telling him how smart he is to be sorta dictatorial in the Philippines——they do, after all, share “rhetorical style”, no?

            I don’t know who is going to be elected, so I am not predicting where any of this goes.

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