Rome–Wow. Killing drugs dealers by the ton. Silencing political opposition. Making nice with China, which wants to take away of chunk of other people’s land. Stiffing long-time neighbors. Dumping on Barack Obama (is that becoming a global sport?)
Welcome to the world of Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of The Philippines. Across the globe, new politicians have emerged to take on–or should I say, dump on–the political establishment of the post-Cold War era. Trump and Sanders in the United States. Marine LePen in France. Nigel Farage in the UK. Beppe Grillo in Italy. Embryonic populist movements in Spain and Germany. Anti-migrant uprisings in Hungary and Poland. And the guy who may be the model for all this, Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
They all have in common one theme: the establishment has screwed the little guy. They also tend to talk in language once reserved for barroom brawls, but never mind.
Certainly, Duterte takes the populist cake. He won office in a June landslide and part of his appeal were his pledges to help out parts of the population marginalized by past governments; farmers, for instance. Duterte said he will crack down on corruption and tax evasion. He promised to finally crush The Philippines’ perpetual Muslim and Communist rebellions in the nation of 7,000 islands. He has applied his maverick muscle everywhere–most notoriously with summary executions by vigilantes of criminals in the street.
Media says his approval rating is through the roof, notwithstanding his controversial methods.
And if you don’t like his methods, be prepared for blowback. When the US mildly complained about Duterte’s drug crackdown, on human rights grounds, Duterte told Obama to “Go to Hell.” I suppose that means a night in a Trump Tower suite.
An overview from Eurasia Review.
Stratfor tries to make sense of it all.