The White House has confirmed that President Donald Trump has invited President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the United States. The invitation has provoked criticism from human rights groups, among them Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has been unrelenting in its condemnation of the toll in lives of Mr. Duterte’s “war” on drugs. It is widely presumed that Mr. Trump supports the Duterte approach, which could be the basis for a meeting of the minds of the two unconventional heads of state.
Re-investigating the January 25, 2015 Mamasapano incident, as President Rodrigo Duterte says he’s planning to do, would seem to be unnecessary at first. But that first impression soon yields to the need to address a number of questions in the public mind that until today remain unanswered.
ABOUT THE Middle East and Libya many Filipinos have one fear, and that’s the loss of their jobs as the region and that country fall apart, besieged by the violence of contending sectarian groups and the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
That, together with paeans to their bravery, was the subtext in the expressions of concern over the Filipino peacekeepers’ repatriation last week from the Syrian Golan Heights, peacekeeping under UN auspices being, like other jobs in the Middle East, relatively high-paying at around P45,000 a month.
THEN US President George W. Bush. His Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. His Vice President, Richard Chaney. His Chief Political Adviser, Karl Rove.
These were some of the lords of destruction who engineered the invasion of Iraq in 2003. But they were not the brains behind it but merely the executors. For a look at the theoreticians and ideologues of unabashed imperialism, one has to go to a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, which was prepared by the neo-conservatives of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
THE LAST time US forces occupied several military bases all over the Philippines, among them Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, it took a decades-long campaign against their presence, a volcanic eruption, and over 40 years to get them out.
Anticipating the need to get and keep them out, the 1987 Constitution barred foreign troops and military bases without a treaty ratified by the Senate, which, despite then President Corazon Aquino’s advocacy, refused to renew the US lease in September1991. Not that the US was at the time still seriously interested in keeping the latter, the global projection of US power through its nuclear submarine complex and aircraft carrier tax forces being then seen to be less costly and more effective. The cleanup at Clark because of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991 would not have been worth the expense and effort anyway. The Senate action wasn’t as disastrous to US strategy as some thought at the time. But it did end a long period of occupation by foreign troops in places where they were the undisputed, non-accountable sovereigns.