Duterte and Trump fans and opponents continue to draw connections and comparisons between the two but is there really anything to worry about between the two leaders?
It is not a secret that Rodrigo Duterte hates the US. Apart from failing to intervene against China when China invaded Philippine waters in 2012, the supposed spiriting-away of Michael Meiring way back in 2002, plus other historical details, Duterte also seems to have implied that the US is bullying him. The US does have a record of intervening with other countries’ affairs, raging from starting civil wars to espionage, even if that country is an allied nation, so that claim isn’t as far-fetched as some would have liked us to believe. In any case all these contributed to Duterte’s anti-US sentiment. He vowed to “break up with America”, and announced in China that he would “separate from America”.
But, oddly enough, it seems he sings a different tune when it comes to the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Trump and Duterte had a very engaging phone call at one time and people can’t help but notice how Duterte seems more friendly to Trump than he was to Obama, whom he had supposedly called “son of a bitch”(though some contend this claim). In fact Duterte considers Trump “a safety net”, which enabled him to boldly negotiate with China and bring back $24 million worth of funding deals while making China leave Scarborough Shoal.
And Trump, according to Duterte, wished the Philippine President good luck in his campaign against drugs and crime. And just recently, Duterte, though he was not able to attend the ceremony, was singing him praises, and called Trump’s inauguration “superb”.
And while some see this as a very, very disturbing sign between the two presidents their fans actually celebrate this. Even during their campaigns the two were usually being compared, with Duterte being called the Trump of the East, by their shared critics and fans. But why does Duterte have higher opinion on Trump than Obama? What does Trump have that Obama lacks? Is it just Duterte’s hate for America? Not really. The actual answer is so simple:
“We both like to swear. One little thing, we curse right away, we’re the same,” Duterte claims.
Indeed, in the age where political correctness has become an insidious tool for censorship instead of just being guidelines for politeness, Duterte and Trump have both offered people a refreshing breathe of fresh air free from the choking political correctness with some amusingly rude remarks that their respective fans liked (and their haters blew up) during their campaign, and in Duterte’s case, his reign, with some varying results.
But truth to be told, people can only guess what might come out of this two Presidents with very colorful languages. Trump has only been inaugurated as of this writing so there’s really nothing to say about his policies that can be certain because he’s known to change his mind, except when if its about him building a wall on the Mexican border or killing the Trans Pacific Partnership deal and ripping out Obamacare. As for Duterte, he’s still concentrated on welcoming US rivals to our country while he continues waging his violent war on drugs and crime. At least he got China off the Philippines’ back and give us $24 million at the same time.
So right now, apart from their rude mouths that easily fire unsavory remarks for jokes (or when Duterte gets angry), the seemingly lack of respect for women by Duterte and Trump, the hate they get from mainstream media, and their praise of Putin and other autocratic leaders, Trump and Duterte have no common interest whatsoever that can be said to affect anything between US and the Philippines for certain, except a very vague “better ties”, which Duterte’s officials continue to say, despite his declaration of separating from the US.
To find out what this means for both countries, though, we’ll have to wait and look forward to this year. Both Duterte and Trump are heavily unorthodox in their methods and both have different agenda to pursue. Both are determined to serving two very different nations. And both of them are brand new, Duterte hasn’t even had a year as President. There’s really nothing to to be alarmed about immediately between the two Presidents. For now, at least.
One thing’s for sure though – this is going to be an eventful 4 years.