Why I Support Asia’s Donald Trump
The world today has been facing many new problems from global warming to military groups and more importantly new mercurial political leaders around the world. One of these political figures is the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, nicknamed “The Punisher.” Duterte recently decided to end a long relationship tie with the United States to pursue a closer bond with neighboring giant China. The move has gained wide publicity and has been seen as economically beneficial to the Philippines. Although the Philippines gained from the bi-lateral agreement — an exchange agreement between two countries — it is sudden actions like these that make us question if Duterte is fit to run a country. This sudden shift in dynamic, wherein a strongman is ruling, is not only very important for the Philippines but to other countries that have elected audacious leaders like Russia, China, and most recently the United States. Although some people do not want audacious and risky politicians running their country, it has become the new norm today and the fact that these leaders take action is far better than inaction or playing it safe.
When I throw-out the word ‘audacious,’ I mean its literal definition, which is showing an impudent lack of respect. An example would be a remark President Duterte made while under stress from the European Nation for his deadly war on drugs; he simply said, “Fuck you,” then went on to stick out his middle finger. This is one of the many remarks he has made over the last few months all while still being in his early term. Usually, presidents are more conservative when new to the position but he is a “colorful character,” as Obama puts it. Another instance is when himself called out Obama. “So you can go to hell, Mr. Obama, you can go to hell.” In this sense audacious is the perfect word to describe this man who, has been entrusted to lead a nation. To be clear, in no way do I support this foul language nor do I align myself with his dark side. But when speaking among a wide range of new leaders expressing a dark side can humanize them in most cases because we are able to see that they are imperfect just like everyone but it also scares many because there is a potential that these leaders will be power hungry and set a authoritarian or a dictatorship type of leadership. However, there is a reason why they are where they are and the people should see past that and look forward to what these leaders can offer the people.
The Philippines, a country struggling with criticism on its lethal war on drugs, has a flawed justice system and no funds to send drug addicts to rehabilitation centers. In this case most drug users and dealers either go to jail or fight to not go to jail, in which they unfortunately end up losing their life. This is the harsh reality, the problem nobody wanted to deal with. President Duterte’s new implementations can fix this pandemic drug problem and that is through strict implementations of the laws that have already been set. This strict implementation is seen in neighboring countries like Singapore, which is known as the number one safest city in Southeast Asia according to nembeo.com. More importantly Singapore has been ranked 9th best at enforcing their strict laws in the world. When Duterte was the former mayor of Davao City, he too implemented and made sure the police enforced the laws and was able to turn the city into the 3rd safest city in Southeast Asia. Before even registering for presidency in the Philippines Duterte stressed, “I do not want to be president, I do not want to kill people.” Still majority of the people wanted him in presidency and voted for him. Now that the deadly war on drugs has gained popularity people are expressing deep concern as to whether extrajudicial killings are going on. According to Duterte, he made the message clear that, if police are to be put into a dangerous position, “my God shoot him first!” These implementations and strict enforcements are the least worst option there is to solving the drug problem and avoiding the spread to younger generations. It is important to stress again that all these negatives sometimes seem to compromise the main goal, which is for the whole society to benefit. Duterte is making it clear that no one person, especially a drug dealer or user, is more important than whole nation. Some argue that instead of putting these addicts and dealers in jail why not build new rehabilitation centers and treat this as a sickness instead of a crime. An alternative way to fix that is to build new rehabilitation facilities but as I said earlier there is no budget for such; however, Duterte has made efforts to acquire budget by turning to China.
Duterte’s bold move to create a new bilateral agreement with China indeed helps the Philippines because of the many benefits received in that one visit he made. The new bilateral agreement benefits the Philippines because they will be gaining $6 billion in soft loans from the Chinese government to the Philippines government, another $3 billion would be made available by private Chinese banks, cooperative fishing in the Scarborough Shoal, lifting the travel advisories encouraging more Chinese to visit and tour the Philippines and etc. More important was the $15 million allocated by President Xi, for bulding rehabilitation centers to aid the war on drugs in the Philippines. This puts at ease that the drug problem is not one sided, there is a bright future wherein addicts and users will be given the choice to better themselves and be a positive force in society again. The problem with the move to China was the skepticism between the U.S. and the Philippines. A poll suggested that 92% of Filipinos have positive views on the United States*. Although Duterte said he was done with the U.S, he did not officially cut of ties with long-term ally U.S.; Instead, they are still agreeing to their previous bilateral ties with each other. The deal with China was done in a critical time with the unsure election going on in America. Whether he strengthened the relationship with China out of spite (from the US criticism on his deadly war on drugs) or if it was a strategic plan it worked out delightfully. Trump has been criticizing Obama for many things one of those things was for loosing the Philippines to China, wherein he said, “America has grown so weak that the Philippines have broke decades of pro American foreign policy to instead leave for the orbit of China and Russia.”*From that statement it is obvious to see that he wants to regain the Philippines’ trust and make America strong again. This puts Duterte in an even better position a position with freedom.
Duterte is a maverick; what to take from his presidency so far is his ability to take action. Not just the action of doing things in a conservative manner and playing it safe but his ability to tolerate risk and ambiguity it is seen as careless and reckless but so far has paid off in the short run. His war on drugs has been bloody but has also seen hundreds of thousands surrender and more importantly he is taking action to try and solve the problem, which the Filipino people have been begging him to solve. The bold move to China has enabled the Philippines to seek better options and more choices. To have a leader who is loyal, takes action, and executes his task is someone I can stand by and support.
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