Sleeping with the Wrong Enemy


WHY IS President Duterte bent on sleeping with the wrong “enemy” (China), and insulting an old ally (America) which can help us deal more effectively with our big northern neighbor that reportedly undermines human societies through the dangerous drugs it manufactures and smuggles worldwide?

He himself has told the media a number of times that “the real drug lords are not here—they are in China.”

An exposé of the extent of China’s global “drug war” (read: part of Beijing’s asymmetric warfare against America) was highlighted by the New York-based Epoch Times last month. In what is tantamount to a reverse “opium war” which rapacious Western nations waged against China in the 19th century to soften up its people by weakening its moral fiber through the highly profitable opium trade, Beijing “has been illicitly supplying huge amounts of synthetic drugs and methamphetamine (shabu) to Mexican and Latin American drug cartels,” the journal said.

The centrality of Mr. Duterte’s peace and order campaign is his war on the illegal drugs that he perceives as an existential threat to our society. He reasons that his draconian means will prevent the Philippines from becoming another narcostate.

People close to Mr. Duterte, such as Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, say that behind his folksy persona and incendiary rhetoric lies a deep “strategic thinker.” Academics like Clarita Carlos and Richard Heydarian commend his strong, savvy leadership.

If they are right, why is there a glaring disconnect between certain aspects of the President’s domestic and foreign policies? Briefly, why is he a roaring lion against those who oppose him (here and abroad) and a surprisingly quiet lamb toward China, where the drugs originate, and which continues to squat on vast areas of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone, despite the recent ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that invalidates Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea?