He’s rude. He’s crude. People question his temperament and fitness to be president. He scares the bejeebers out of Europe’s wimpy leaders. He even called our own President Obama a “son of a bitch”.
No, it’s not Donald Trump. It’s Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, and the baddest president on the block, at least for now. Duterte was elected last June by a landslide and commands a 76% positive performance rating.
Duterte campaigned on a platform of law and order, specifically the elimination of illicit drug trafficking and abuse. The Philippines has struggled in recent years with meth addiction, particularly among its growing numbers of poor and unemployed. As president, Duterte assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner, and has given orders for police and military personnel to kill anyone they suspect of selling drugs. The death toll is estimated at 4,000 and counting, and Philippine prisons are overstuffed with drug addicts who turned themselves in. The president has even invited the general public to join in the bloody anti-drug crusade, and has ordered 26,000 Sig Sauer rifles from the USA, over the objections of Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), who voiced human rights concerns.
Many Americans think our current president and president-elect are both endowed with ample egos. But when it comes to self-confidence, Obama and Trump are not in Duterte’s league. Responding to criticism from EU leaders, Duterte said, “I’ve read the European Union’s condemnation against me. I tell them f*** you!”, flipping the bird for emphasis.
Duterte has waffled on his relationship with the USA. Angered at Obama’s censure of his brutal policies, he called for the ouster of all American military operations in the Philippines, but later backed down, acknowledging that his nation would need US aid managing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. And after President Obama cancelled a meeting with Duterte, the Philippine president apologized for his potty-mouthed attack. The two quietly met later before a regional summit meeting dinner in Laos.
It remains to be seen if Duterte will have a more amiable relationship with America’s new president, Donald Trump. After Trump’s election, Duterte offered congratulations and observed that “we both like to swear.” Trump holds all the cards, as the Philippines is reliant on American trade and military support.
For some time now many global leaders have demurred to their softer, more nurturing tendencies – at least publicly. Russian president Putin rode bare-chested and bareback in his bid for the title of manliest man-in-charge. Obama’s skinny jeans were an immediate disqualifier, not to mention his penchant for retreating from every foreign-policy challenge. Trump, on the other hand, showed machismo on his way to winning the presidency.
But for now, all eyes are on Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. He’s bad.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
We going downtown in the middle of the night
We laughing and I’m jokin’ and we feelin’ alright.
Oh I’m bad, I’m nationwide.
Yes I’m bad, I’m nationwide
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide – ZZ Top
Pretty good little three piece band there – git you some Top today.