As ISIS moves across the world, conveniently popping up wherever America wants to touch down, the fact that the terrorist organization is an American creation is becoming more and more obvious to many people. Regardless, the news that ISIS recently managed not only to conduct terror attacks in the Philippines but was able to seize and occupy an entire city caught many people by surprise. Indeed, for those who are unaware of the nature and history of the terrorist organization and what role American imperialism plays in regards to its activity, the recent events in the Philippines no doubt have many Americans absolutely befuddled.
The IncidentAs the Independent article “ISIS-Linked Militants Behead Police Chief And Take Priest And Churchgoers Hostage In Philippines City,” reported on May 24,
A Catholic priest and churchgoers have been taken hostage by Isis-linked militants attempting to seize control of a city in the Philippines, while the local police chief has been beheaded.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law on the island of Mindanao, where militants have taken over much of the largest city of Marawi, and cut short a state visit to Moscow in order to return to Manila.
While details of events from inside Marawi remained hazy after militants cut off electricity, gunmen are believed to have forced their way into a cathedral and seized the Rev Chito Suganob, alongside more than a dozen members of his congregation and staff, as fighting continued to rage with government troops.
. . . . .
. . . . .
Thousands have fled the city amid intense fighting between the army and up to 100 militants from the Maute group, part of a loose alliance of militant groups which pledged allegiance to Isis in 2015. The fighters appear to have reacted to a botched security raid on a hideout belonging to Isnilon Hapilon, a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group and designated leader of the alliance.
Two soldiers and a police officer were among those killed and at least 12 people have been wounded in the violence, in which Maute fighters set fire to a school, a church and a prison.
“The city is still under the control of the armed group,” student Rabani Mautum told Reuters in nearby Pantar town, where some residents were leaving in overloaded trucks.
“They are all over the main roads and two bridges leading to Marawi.
“I was in school when we heard gunfire … when we came out there were bloodstains in the building, but we did not see dead or wounded.”
. . . . .
A photograph from one resident showed the black flag used as a symbol by Isis flying in Marawi, and other flags are believed to have been erected elsewhere in the city.
Alongside Abu Sayyaf, the Maute group is one of two major militias in the Philippines linked to Isis, which is attempting to intensify its presence in Asia.
There is little question that ISIS is attacking the Philippines but now the question is why?
Why Is ISIS Attacking The Philippines?If one can rightly understand ISIS for what it is – the proxy army of the United States, NATO, Israel, and the GCC – the reasons for attacks, the location of attacks, and their timing tend to make much more sense. Such is the case with the recent “surprise” attacks in the Philippines.
Bouth Maute and Abu Sayaff are offshoots of ISIS and al-Qaeda which are themselves funded by and facilitated by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the intelligence agencies of Western powers. The United States has successfully used this strategy since at least the late 1970s and it continues to do so today.
The global network of terrorism, allegedly inspired and dictated through cave-dwellers with good modems is evidenced by the fact that, even as Russia, Syria, and Iran destroy the focal point of radical Sunni terrorism in the Middle East in Syria and Iraq, the organization continues to launch attacks across the world in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa, and Asia. The Philippines is only the most recent location to witness a surprise jihadist offensive that overwhelms security forces and shakes the confidence of the population in their government.
ISIS and ISIS-style terrorism is Asia is not a new thing, however. As Tony Cartalucci writes in his article, “ISIS Touches Down In The Philippines,”
Likewise, violence in Malaysia and Thailand are directly linked to this wider US-Saudi alliance, with violence erupting at each and every crucial juncture as the US is incrementally pushed out of the region. Indonesia has likewise suffered violence at the hands of the Islamic State, and even Myanmar is being threatened by Saudi-funded terrorism seeking to leverage and expand the ongoing Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
This NATO-U.S.-Saudi-Israeli support network for terrorism easily explains how allegedly backwards terror organizations have such a massive global reach. Philippine officials have been aware of this fact for some time, at least since around 2005 when a WikiLeaks cable stated,
Philippine officials noted their continuing concern about Saudi-origin terrorist financing coming into the Philippines under the cover of donations to mosques, orphanages, and madrassahs. Although three Saudi nationals suspected of being couriers had been detained on separate occasions, Saudi Ambassador Wali had intervened in each case to secure their release.
ISIS Is Controlled By The U.S. And NATOIt is important to point out that the Islamic State is not some shadowy force that emerged from the caves of Afghanistan to form an effective military force that is funded by Twitter donations and murky secretive finance deals. IS is entirely the creation of NATO and the West and it remains in control of the organization.
As Tony Cartalucci writes in his article “Implausible Deniability: West’s ISIS Terror Hordes In Iraq,”
Beginning in 2011 – and actually even as early as 2007 – the United States has been arming, funding, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and a myriad of armed terrorist organizations to overthrow the government of Syria, fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, and undermine the power and influence of Iran, which of course includes any other government or group in the MENA region friendly toward Tehran.
Billions in cash have been funneled into the hands of terrorist groups including Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and what is now being called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. One can see clearly by any map of ISIS held territory that it butts up directly against Turkey’s borders with defined corridors ISIS uses to invade southward – this is because it is precisely from NATO territory this terrorist scourge originated.
ISIS was harbored on NATO territory, armed and funded by US CIA agents with cash and weapons brought in from the Saudis, Qataris, and NATO members themselves. The “non-lethal aid” the US and British sent including the vehicles we now see ISIS driving around in.
They didn’t “take” this gear from “moderates.” There were never any moderates to begin with. The deadly sectarian genocide we now see unfolding was long ago predicted by those in the Pentagon – current and former officials – interviewed in 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh. Hersh’s 9-page 2007 report, “The Redirection” states explicitly:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
“Extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam” and are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” – is a verbatim definition of what ISIS is today. Clearly the words of Hersh were as prophetic as they were factually informed, grounded in the reality of a regional conflict already engineered and taking shape as early as 2007. Hersh’s report would also forewarn the sectarian nature of the coming conflict, and in particular mention the region’s Christians who were admittedly being protected by Hezbollah.
While Hersh’s report was written in 2007, knowledge of the plan to use death squads to target Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, had been reported on even as far back as 2005 by Michael Hirsh and John Barry for Newsweek in an article entitled “The Salvador Option.”
Regardless, Cartalucci states in a separate article, “NATO’s Terror Hordes In Iraq A Pretext For Syria Invasion,”
In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey’s (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.
Cartalucci is referring to a cross-border invasion that was coordinated with NATO, Turkey, Israel, and the death squads where Israel acted as air force cover while Turkey facilitated the death squad invasion from inside its own borders.
Keep in mind also that, prior to the rapid appearance and seizure of territory by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, European media outlets like Der Spiegel reported that hundreds of fighters were being trained in Jordan by Western intelligence and military personnel for the purpose of deployment in Syria to fight against Assad. The numbers were said to be expected to reach about 10,000 fighters when the reports were issued in March, 2013. Although Western and European media outlets would try to spin the operation as the training of “moderate rebels,” subsequent reports revealed that these fighters were actually ISIS fighters.
Western media outlets have also gone to great lengths to spin the fact that ISIS is operating in both Syria and Iraq with an alarming number of American weapons and equipment. As Business Insider stated,
The report [study by the London-based small arms research organization Conflict Armament Research] said the jihadists disposed of ‘significant quantities’ of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings ‘Property of US Govt.’
The article also acknowledged that a large number of the weapons used by ISIS were provided by Saudi Arabia, a close American ally.
The fact that ISIS is nothing more than a name change for al-Qaeda is significant as well since the terror organization was the open creation of the United States with the help of Saudi Arabia as far back as the late 1970s. In its article, “Sleeping With the Devil: How U.S. And Saudi Backing Of Al-Qaeda Led Directly To 9/11,” Washington’s Blog writes:
Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted on CNN that the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets.
Brzezinski told Al Qaeda’s forefathers – the Mujahadin:
We know of their deep belief in god – that they’re confident that their struggle will succeed. That land over – there is yours – and you’ll go back to it some day, because your fight will prevail, and you’ll have your homes, your mosques, back again, because your cause is right, and god is on your side.
CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed in his memoir that the U.S. backed the Mujahadin in the 1970s.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agrees:
MSNBC reported in 1998:
As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar – the MAK – which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.
What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.
The CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan … found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.
To this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. “It was worth it,” he said.
“Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union,” he said.
Indeed, the U.S. started backing Al Qaeda’s forefathers even before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. As Brzezinski told Le Nouvel Observateur in a 1998 interview:
Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [“From the Shadows”], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct? Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
The Washington Post reported in 2002:
The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings ….
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books ….
The Council on Foreign Relations notes:
The 9/11 Commission report (PDF) released in 2004 said some of Pakistan’s religious schools or madrassas served as “incubators for violent extremism.” Since then, there has been much debate over madrassas and their connection to militancy.
New madrassas sprouted, funded and supported by Saudi Arabia and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, where students were encouraged to join the Afghan resistance.
And see this.
Veteran journalist Robert Dreyfuss writes:
For half a century the United States and many of its allies saw what I call the “Islamic right” as convenient partners in the Cold War.
In the decades before 9/11, hard-core activists and organizations among Muslim fundamentalists on the far right were often viewed as allies for two reasons, because they were seen a fierce anti-communists and because the opposed secular nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh.
By the end of the 1950s, rather than allying itself with the secular forces of progress in the Middle East and the Arab world, the United States found itself in league with Saudi Arabia’s Islamist legions. Choosing Saudi Arabia over Nasser’s Egypt was probably the single biggest mistake the United States has ever made in the Middle East.
A second big mistake … occurred in the 1970s, when, at the height of the Cold War and the struggle for control of the Middle East, the United States either supported or acquiesced in the rapid growth of Islamic right in countries from Egypt to Afghanistan.
In Egypt, Anwar Sadat brought the Muslim Brotherhood back to Egypt. In Syria, the United States, Israel, and Jordan supported the Muslim Brotherhood in a civil war against Syria. And … Israel quietly backed Ahmed Yassin and the Muslim Brotherhood in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the establishment of Hamas.
Still another major mistake was the fantasy that Islam would penetrate the USSR and unravel the Soviet Union in Asia. It led to America’s support for the jihadists in Afghanistan. But … America’s alliance with the Afghan Islamists long predated the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and had its roots in CIA activity in Afghanistan in the 1960s and in the early and mid-1970s. The Afghan jihad spawned civil war in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, gave rise to the Taliban, and got Osama bin Laden started on building Al Qaeda.
Pakistani nuclear scientist and peace activist, Perez Hoodbhoy, also wrote about the role of both the West and Pakistan in the creation of global jihad and the control those countries had over the movement. He wrote,
The bleeders [leaders who advocated the idea of “bleeding” the Soviet Union, by Hoodbhoy’s own definition] soon organized and armed the Great Global Jihad, funded by Saudi Arabia, and executed by Pakistan. A powerful magnet for militant Sunni activists was created by the US. The most hardened and ideologically dedicated men were sought on the logic that they would be the best fighters. Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.
American universities produced books for Afghan children that extolled the virtues of jihad and of killing communists. Readers browsing through book bazaars in Rawalpindi and Peshawar can, even today, sometimes find textbooks produced as part of the series underwritten by a USAID $50 million grant to the University of Nebraska in the 1980’s . These textbooks sought to counterbalance Marxism through creating enthusiasm in Islamic militancy. They exhorted Afghan children to “pluck out the eyes of the Soviet enemy and cut off his legs”. Years after the books were first printed they were approved by the Taliban for use in madrassas – a stamp of their ideological correctness and they are still widely available in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At the international level, Radical Islam went into overdrive as its superpower ally, the United States, funneled support to the mujahideen. Ronald Reagan feted jihadist leaders on the White House lawn, and the U.S. press lionized them.
Washington’s Blog also adds that, Michael J. Springmann, chief of the visa section at the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, claims that the CIA insisted that the consulate approve visas for Afghanis so that they could travel to the United States and be trained in terrorism so that they could then be sent back to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.
This, of course, only addresses the beginning of the terrorist group and not the fact that the United States has used and supported al-Qaeda ever since during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the attempted assassination of Ghaddaffi in Libya in the late ’90s, death squads in Iraq, the eventual overthrow and murder of Ghadaffi in 2011, and terrorists in Syria for the last six years. Indeed, the United States has also openly supported them in their operations against Iran.
The U.S. Pivot To AsiaIn accordance with the Obama administration stated strategy that the United States would “pivot to Asia,” the United States is becoming increasingly active (read, aggressive) in the entire region, most notably southeast Asia. This is because the strategy is based mainly upon the perceived need to not only contain China as a geopolitical competitor but to break China from providing any resistance to the Western financier system which is being imposed by force on nations all across the world. Russia, partially in Asia itself, also falls into this target system. The Philippines is just one of many other nations in Asia facing the incremental destabilization and force of the Western countries, particularly the United States as a repercussion for not simply falling into line with the dictates of the Anglo-European financier system.
“The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, cancelling his meeting with Russia is a microcosm of the very sort of results Maute and Abu Sayaff are tasked with achieving in the Philippines,” Cartalucci writes. “Attempts by the US to justify the presence of its troops in the Philippines as part of a wider strategy of encircling China with US military installations across Asia would also greatly benefit from the Islamic State “suddenly spreading” across the island nation.”
The “Asian Pivot” was announced by one of the leading bloodthirsty officials of the 21st Century, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011, and involves the “rebalancing” of 60% of U.S. forces to the Asia-Pacific theatre. Obviously, more forces equal the need for more bases in the region and the U.S. is moving fast to acquire those bases as well as other necessary staging grounds. In the Philippines, the U.S. is using the spectre of the Chinese threat, a real but stoked and overstated concept, in order to frighten the Filipino government into cooperating. One issue surrounds the desire to re-open U.S. bases in the Philippines which were closed in the late ’90s due to pressure from the population surrounding the behavior of American servicemen as well as the political domination of the U.S. over the Philippines as a whole.
Shortly after the Obama administration’s Asian pivot plan was publicly announced, in 2014, the EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) was signed, allowing the United States access to five separate bases in the Philippines on a rotational basis under the guise of “humanitarian and maritime security” operations.
Although not legally “permanent” or “officially” controlled by the US,” writes Andrew Korybko of The Duran, “this wink-and-a-nod arrangement would in reality allow the US to redeploy its forces to the Philippines, returning the Philippines archipelago to the role of the US’s second ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ (alongside Japan) which it had during the Cold War.”
Korybko further explains the usefulness of the Philippines in regards to the U.S. plans to “contain” China. He writes,
The Pentagon plans to use the Philippines as the maritime lynch of its “China Containment Coalition” (CCC), gathering all of its allies’ navies together and deploying them within provocative striking range of China’s claimed islands.
The other three members of the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – Japan, India, and Australia – would find their own way to “rotate” their military units throughout the Philippines islands as well, thereby forming the core of the CCC.
To add a regional element to this mix, the plan is for the Philippines and Vietnam, both of which contest some of China’s maritime claims, to intensify their strategic cooperation to the point of a mutual defence treaty.
This would draw Vietnam into the network of the anti-China coalition being built up by Washington by using the defence ties between Vietnam and the Philippines to making the members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue de facto allies of Vietnam.
Altogether, the Pentagon plan is to produce a critical mass of hostile states near China’s southern maritime border which backed by the US could quickly “counter” any moves by Beijing thereby “containing’ it to the East Asian mainland.
The Philippine Pivot To ChinaWhile the Philippines under Duterte have made positive motions toward China, it has also made moves toward greater independence from the influence and control of the United States. As Washington becomes more and more hostile to Beijing, the two acts are becoming more and more exclusive.
Back in 2014, Duterte stated that, while he intends to honor the EDCA, he will do “from a position of strength,” giving credence to the suspicions that he has the EDCA set in his sites and that the agreement will be scrapped as soon as he has the legal justification for doing so within the framework of the agreement. Duterte went on record that same year to state that the EDCA should be abandoned if Americans soldiers are going to use it in order to escape justice for criminal acts they commit in the Philippines.
Andrew Korybko writes,
This pinpoints an issue very sensitive for Filipinos who have vivid memories of how US troops were able to escape punishment for acts of gross misbehaviour whilst the US military occupied its bases in the Philippines. Public anger over this issue was one of the key factors in mobilising local opposition to the bases and explains why many Filipinos oppose their return.
Since it is impossible to imagine such an incident not arising at some point, it is all but inevitable that a situation will occur which will fulfil Duterte’s criterion for scrapping the “Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement.” Taken together with Duterte’s assertion that he intends to deal with the US “from a position of strength” it is easy to see how this might trigger the process of revoking the agreement.
No Filipino politician has previously spoken about the US in this way. Moreover other things he has said also suggest an intention to send a strongly independent line.
In article published by Stars and Stripes in 2016, it was noted that Duterte does indeed have the EDCA in his sights. The article reads,
Duterte publically [sic] opposed the Visiting Forces Agreement with the U.S. – of which the EDCA was an amendment – and claimed in 2013 that he had rejected a request by the U.S. to establish Davao as a base of operations for drones.
Earlier this year, he was quoted saying that although the country was now bound by the EDCA, he had “reservations about the presence of foreign troops.” He added, “We will not allow the building of structures.”
Duterte has also recently become more and more critical of the U.S. foreign policy in public such as the interview conducted by Maria Finoshina of RT. During the course of the interview, Duterte pointed out the hypocrisy of the West whenever it complains of human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in other countries. Duterte said,
RD: Yes. Even in war, even in your own country, if there is fighting between the police and security forces, and civilians are hit, accidentally, and they die. That is not a crime for the police or the security officer. Because they use automatic guns. And when you are confronted with automatic guns, several bullets go out of the barrel, and some of those would penetrate the walls of the houses, and some will go long way and hit another one. But it is really in connection with the fight between law and order and criminals. But you have to pay, the state has to pay. But – sorry. Just like Americans. When they drop the bomb there, it is so powerful that it also kills others there.
But we are talking about human liability. So, it doesn’t say that, because they are Americans, they are exempted. And just because I am a small time government official, I am not exempted. So, where’s the fairness there? No? When they drop bombs, they kill so many villages, and there’s not even a whimper. America invaded Iraq. What was the excuse? That there were weapons of mass destruction. And yet when they invaded Iraq, so many people were killed. So where is justice now?
MF: So you think it’s really hard to avoid civilian casualties?
RD: We need to say, justice has to be equal. It cannot be a justice for one, and another set of standards of justice for another. It has to be equal.
MF: Is that the reason why you’re turning away from America?
RD: Because they refused to understand my predicament when they knew that they were also in the same predicament, only on a larger scale. Remember Panama? Okay, they invaded Panama, a sovereign state in Central America. So what was the purpose there? They went inside, seized the country, arrested the president, brought him outside the country, placed him in a detention cell in New York. He faced a trial in the Federal Court and is convicted. What happened to the invasion? And what was the reason? Drugs.
You invade a country. Me, I’m just fighting the criminals in my country. I never invaded a country. You have to look at it this way: there is so much incongruity in the principles that are being followed by nations. The powerful ones, they can invent the weapons of mass destruction or they can invade your country. Me, I never touch anybody. I do not even go to the United States. And then they criticize me for the criminals that I have killed!
The Stars and Stripes article did more than point out Duterte’s hostility to the EDCA. It also highlighted the fact that Duterte appears interested in dealing with the Chinese one on one as an independent country. Stars and Stripes quotes Duterte himself in regards to the President’s China policy. It says,
In Romualdez’s interview with the front-runner, the candidate said “we really don’t need the Americans to deal with the Chinese because the Chinese want to talk to us alone.”
“If I become president I’m going to reach out to the Chinese and talk to them alone without American intervention,” he said.
Andrew Korybko adds even more to the question of the Filipino-Chinese relationship when he writes,
Worse still for the US Duterte is saying the Philippines and China could have peaceful and pragmatic relations with each other, engaging in bilateral dialogue over their disputes without the meddling interference of the US.
What that would mean for the US is that the Philippines might become a tacit Chinese ally, which would completely upend the regional strategic balance.
That is not what Duterte is actually calling for, but he did say is that he not only would be open to talking to Beijing, but would even further and engage in joint exploration in the South China Sea. Further, in seeking to develop the decades-neglected infrastructure of one of the most promising economies of Asia, Duterte has suggested that he would be open to inviting China to build a railroad and other types of connective projects that Beijing has become globally renowned for. This would of course mean replacing US contractors – traditionally heavily entrenched in the Philippines – with cheaper and possibly more efficient Chinese ones – potentially causing US companies to lose out from billions of dollars of construction deals.
Joint maritime exploration and infrastructure cooperation between the Philippines and China has the potential to turn the entire Philippines archipelago into the latest pit stop for China’s New Silk Road, presenting the US with its biggest geopolitical setback since the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
Opposing US Imperialism Does Not Equal Supporting DuterteIt seems clear enough that Duterte and his country has now found itself in the sites of the United States and a Western world aimed at forcing the hegemony of a corporate-financier oligarchy on the rest of the planet. What is left of Filipino independence is now at stake. The recent ISIS activity in the Philippines is clearly an attempt by the United States/NATO to force Duterte back into the Western sphere of influence and American domination. It is an attempt to prevent China from gaining a valuable ally and expanding its own sphere of influence and to use the Philippines as America’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier.”
Unfortunately, the Filipino people are facing the onslaught of a Western-backed terrorist organization as well as the leadership of a verified killer. Duterte’s “war on drugs” has already claimed a sizeable number of lives of both drug dealers and drug users. The Filipino people are thus being forced to choose between Western imperialism and internal fascism. Those of good will seemed to be faced with the same choices.
However, the reality of the situation is not that simple. One does not need to side with a tyrant in order to oppose American imperialism. Opposing American intervention in the Philippines, whether directly or by use of proxy terrorist organizations like ISIS, does not mean that one supports Duterte and his murderous war on drugs. It simply means the Filipino people should have the right deal with Duterte in the Philippines while Americans should deal with America within their own borders as well. Indeed, those who oppose America’s imperialism must also have the courage to admit that America’s targets are also flawed and, at times, tyrants themselves. America’s evil does not make its victims good. Likewise, evil of America’s victims does not justify America’s intervention, wars, or destabilization tactics.
Recognizing that Duterte and thus the Philippines is now a target of Western imperialism should not be seen as a glorification of Duterte or a glorification of his leadership. It is, however, simple realism. If people of good will cannot maintain a commitment to their principles without simply joining sides, then there will be few positive effects to come out of all the good will in the world.