The Philippines chooses sovereignty and firm power

The opposition candidate Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide victory in the presidential elections in the Philippines. The politician nicknamed the "Asian Trump" has promised to "be a dictator" to exterminate crime in the country. In addition, he seeks to improve relations with China and enhance Philippine sovereignty in its relations with the United States.

Good old ultra-violence

Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao-city, is best known by his methods of direct and uncompromising violence to defeat crime in the former crime capital of the Philippines. His plan to restore order in a country that suffers from crime as well as from Islamic extremists is simple - to destroy the criminals on the spot without trial. Moreover, he promises to create new jobs and attract investments to the country, including from China, and rebuffed the presumptuous US military by reviewing the existing agreements on military cooperation with the US.

The crisis of democracy

After making many insulting remarks about women, the Pope, the US, and Australia’s Ambassadors, Duterte’s victory shows that the trend of populist politics coming to power is global. Duterte and Donald Trump’s electorate are disappointed in liberalism. It is the process that the American sociologist Christopher Lasch called "the revolt of the elites." This alienation of liberal elites from the conservative majority leads to a complete misunderstanding of the two layers of society. As a result, leaders who are opposed to the establishment and review of the key provisions of state policy emerge and their popularity grows.

Global implications

The US previously considered the Philippines as a fully controlled territory. For a long time, the Philippines was a colony of the United States (from 1898 to 1946). In 1992, under the presidency of Corazon Aquino, the US withdrew its military bases from the Philippines, but in 1998 the US started to increase its military presence in the Philippines again. In 2014, the Enhanced Treaty on military cooperation was signed, which de facto gave the US the right to build military bases in the Philippines. The US military enjoys extraterritorial status in the Philippines. Deterte intends to revise these unequal relations.

In addition, in the last few years under President Benigno Aquino Jr, the Philippines spoiled its relations with China by supporting the United States in the conflict in the South China Sea. Rodrigo Duterte intends to resolve disputes with China through negotiations, or to forget about their own claims in the area in exchange for Chinese investment. Thus, the US risks losing a key ally in the Western Pacific, which significantly changes the global balance of power in favor of China.