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Pivot in Trouble
Duterte “Serving Notice” to US Armed Forces

Unpredictability, thy name is Duterte. Reuters relays the latest outburst from the volatile President of the Philippines:

“I am serving notice now to the Americans, this will be the last military exercise,” Duterte told a gather of the Filipino community in Hanoi, referring to next month’s joint marine exercise with the Philippines’ former colonial master.

Duterte added that there would be no chance of joint naval patrols with Washington and that the notion that there was conflict between the Philippines and China was “more imaginary”.

Earlier this week, Duterte was talking up alliance-building with Russia and China. The White House, for its part, has studiously avoided commenting on every outburst. Reuters consulted an expert who presumably echoes Obama Administration thinking:

“One could say that the U.S.-Philippines relationship might become strained and even shaken,” Jacobson told Reuters, but he doubts if it will be broken.

“The U.S. geopolitical stakes in the region are much too high to react to his hyperbole. The current attitude in Washington is mature – more of patience than feeling provoked.”

There is no use hyperventilating in public about the gyrations of the Philippine populist, but one would hope that serious diplomatic work is being done behind the scenes. Having the Philippines definitively peel off for China at this juncture would not be a good thing.

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  • Fat_Man

    Just imagine the twitter flame wars that the Donald and Duterte could get into.


      Just imagine Obama losing relationships with so many of our allies. Just imagine so idiot calling the Russian invasion of Ukraine an uncontested arrival? These are not twitter flame wars whatever they are this is reality. Yeah, these are the ones we were waiting for.

      • Fat_Man

        I was just trying to find some humor in the wreckage.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Won’t be long before someone starts telling us we need Trump to “manage” Duterte——–but, nah, not really.

  • docscience

    It’s that strong horse, weak horse thing. I am not sure why ANYONE would trust the US after 7+ years of Obama.

  • Guest

    An electorate which would elect and reelect Barack Obama as president is unreliable. For the Philippines, China is a much more predictable and reliable ally, especially since China and Russia are working together in the South China Sea.

  • Brian

    “There is no use hyperventilating in public about the gyrations of the Philippine populist, but one would hope that serious diplomatic work is being done behind the scenes.”

    Yeah . . . serious diplomatic work . . . by our serious head-diplomat, the Secretary of State, under the able direction of his omniscient boss, President Obama.

    What could possibly go wrong?

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