Translated excerpts from an interview of Rodrigo Duterte with RIA Novosti
With comments by New Silk Strategies staff
The day before Phillippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited Moscow to discuss arms sales, he was interviewed by the Russian msm. The purpose of these arms – of which only modest quantities are requested – is to help control terrorism, which has long crept into the Phillippines and has established a foothold particularly in the southern island of Mindanao, where a full-fledged war broke out during Duterte’s negotiations with President Putin in Moscow. Western governments are cold and even hostile toward Duterte because he does not mince words and is not afraid to do battle with terrorists, which not only seize swaths of his country militarily but also inundate it with drugs, causing an enormous social and economic problem. Duterte is not afraid to talk about using deadly force when dealing with these thugs. It is either the government or the terrorists, the same problem Assad has faced for years. And like Assad, he is held to unrealistically high standards by foreigners who have no understanding of the magnitude of his problem and no sympathy for his person.
For Russia, which also faces an existential threat from terror, particularly in Chechnya, common sense tells the Kremlin leadership that fighting militants who kill citizens requires killing terrorists before they destroy entire regions. For Western governments, there is no such thing as terrorists in continents beyond their own. In these far-off places where governments are unwilling to bow the knee, any militant who claims to be a freedom fighter is awarded special status and the government protecting its people is labeled a criminal, no matter how desperate the situation on the ground might be.
Russia, China and their Eurasian allies take a completely different approach, based on the viewpoint that countries and their elected leaders are sovereign and especially when terrorism is involved, there is a responsibility to help these leaders combat the terror, without prying into murky areas like human rights, which are impossible to gauge correctly from a distance. After all, it comes down to whether or not a leader has the right to defend his people by fighting back, and Russia believes he does. The US and EU are not so sure.
Some snatches of this interview with Duterte provide insight that is virtually unavailable in the West. The translation from the Russian below is by New Silk Strategies.
Duterte on the US:
We ordered weapons from America. But since they have expressed doubts about the observance of human rights in the Philippines - and they want to do the same with other countries - we have exchanged harsh statements with President Barack Obama, and the State Department. And I decided I would not deal with them.
And in the matter of human rights, I think America has gone beyond its natural powers in relations with other states. In fact, this is a new phenomenon. Previously, this did not affect the sovereignty of states. But since the late 1960s, the US has begun to support the state, but at the same time it began to interfere in their affairs. It came to the point that they offered assistance to one or another country in exchange for introducing laws on same-sex marriage and the like. This is not only about human rights, but also about the promotion of ridiculous theories about a way of life. And I said it was too much. I said if you want to investigate me, I'm ready for it. In the end, who would want to kill the citizens of his country? But they continued to insist on their point of view. And I said, "Okay, but from now on ..."
[New Silk Strategies: This is analogous to the way the US-led IMF assesses loan applications from Third World countries, and in both areas, ie, weapons supplies and loans, countries that insist on a traditional definition of marriage can have their applications rejected and receive a stern admonition from the self-righteous official in charge that they need to establish human rights “safeguards,” meaning pass laws allowing same-sex marriages. But yet, remarkably, only countries with a majority-Christian population are subjected to these stern standards. In the recent agreement by President Trump to sell billions of dollars of weapons to the unelected repressive Saudi dictators, the royals were exempt from such restrictions. They always are, regardless of the US administration signing the deal. The officials in charge of these sales have no adequate explanation for such policies].
Duterte on Europe:
So Europe gave us grants for about 200 million dollars. But I told my Foreign Minister to refuse this money. Because the EU, together with America, prefers to look for shortcomings instead of helping countries. Instead, they threaten to sue you at the International Court of Justice. At the same time, they do not even stop to think that America, for example, is not even a member of this court.
On Trump’s recent invitation to visit Washington:
I do everything for my country. When I was nominated for the presidency, I put my honor, my life at stake. And I will not let my country slip into the abyss. Four million Filipinos suffer from addiction. It's not just a figure, it's not just a problem. This is a problem for other countries, including the European Union. So I decided to keep my distance from them. I see prospects for a new friendship, new ways of cooperation between the Philippines and China, as well as the rest of the ASEAN countries and Europe. But I specifically excluded the US from the list of countries from which I will seek new sources of assistance. In the US, I was not excluded. I was invited to Trump’s inauguration ceremony of. But I said: "Not yet, I need to go to Russia."
NSS: As we saw in our recent article by William Engdahl, that author believes both the drug runners and the terrorists in the Phillippines are operating under the auspices of the CIA. This possibility that both groups are operating at the behest of a foreign government puts Duterte’s stated desire to kill the drug dealers – typically armed killers – at sight in a new light. In such a scenario, Duterte would then be up against a low-key invasion fighting foreign-supported armed combatants. The more information we receive on his situation, the more evident it becomes that this is truly the case.