You can call it Chrenkoffâ€™s First Law of Politics: for every tinpot dick in the developing world there are always more than enough Western experts to excuse him as long as heâ€™s sufficiently anti-American.
Today, News.com.au has chosen for some reason to profile the Philippinesâ€™ strongman, President Rodrigo â€œThe Punisherâ€ Duterte, the man who looks as dumb as his, though his main claim to infamy is provoking a spate of vigilante killings that has so far claimed the lives of more than 4000 alleged drug dealers. I understand peopleâ€™s frustration with what drugs and drug dealers are doing to their communities, but a civilised response is either to legalise or use the law and justice system to crack down on the traffic and trade. Instead the President is often the judge and the jury (for example in relation to the 160 public officials named and implicated by him back in August) and citizens are the executioners.
Duterteâ€™s second claim to international attention is lashing out at everyone, famously calling Obama a â€œson of a whoreâ€ and similarly picking fights with the Catholic Church and the United Nations. No wonder News.com.au described him as â€œalmost Trump-like in its crudenessâ€. Trump after all might have grabbed someone by the pussy; Duterte is responsible for thousands of extra-judicial killings â€“ a long way to go to match Trumpâ€™s level of appallingness in the eyes of Western journalists.
Thirdly, Duterte has switched the geopolitical orientation of his traditionally pro-Western country to what I call the PRICKs (Petrocracies, Russia, Iran, China, Korea), the new axis of anti-American and anti-Western evil. As Duterte said recently in Beijing, â€œthere are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. Itâ€™s the only way.â€
All in all, a picture-perfect leftist thug. Which is why there is Adele Webb, PhD researcher at the Sydney Uniâ€™s Department of Government and International Relations and Sydney Democracy Network (enough said), jumping to his defence (in “the Conversation”, which is left-speak for a monologue):
But if we condemn the president for his recent remarks because we claim to be concerned about the rights of Filipinos while showing no interest in acknowledging the past crimes and injustices against the Philippines, we fall into our own sort of hypocrisy.
Letâ€™s be honest, if Duterte didnâ€™t curse and swear and offend our sensibilities, would we be paying so much attention to the Philippines? For once, I heard a Philippine president holding the US to account for all its doublespeak and hypocrisy in US-Philippine relations. And I couldnâ€™t help but appreciate that.
I bet you couldn’t.
In other words, we have Duterte today because the United States invaded the Philippines 120 years ago. Like the Devil, America is ultimately responsible for everything bad that happens in the world. Itâ€™s OK though, because Duterte is aligning himself with two states which are quite proud of their modern history, in which they had murdered between them some 100 million of their own people. Duterte himself has got a long way to go to get into the same genocidal league, but maybe he can use this pile of bodies to help him hold up â€œa long-hidden looking glass to the USâ€ that Webb waxes lyrically about.
Itâ€™s getting a bit old and passÃ© to use the sins of Western colonialism as a full proof explanation and excuse for everything that has ever gone and keeps going wrong anywhere throughout the developing world. It was a cop-out in the past, it is getting more than tiresome in 2016. Stop treating people throughout the Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America as children. And petulant children to that, because the implication of Webbâ€™s apologia is that had the United States apologised for its 19th century foreign policy, Duterte would be less sweary and a nicer person. This is an insult both to the Philippine people and to the intelligence of Western readers.
Duterte is a typical anti-American Third World socialist, common as dogshit throughout the world, both the developing and the developed (think, for example, Obamaâ€™s dad), including places that have been free in any meaningful way of Americaâ€™s nefarious influence. If the United States did not exist, the left would have to invent it. Let us stop constantly asking about the world â€œwhy do they hate us?â€ and start asking the same question of our academics.