Is Duterte Crazy? The Chinese don’t think so…
Maybe, if you consider the extra-judicial killings – but politically with China right now — he’s acting crazy like a fox.
If you don’t know about him, the Philippines strongman, and President, has led a war on drugs — that has provably extended to extra-judicial killings.
Duterte even bragged on radio about riding around on his motorcycle, and bagging a few drug dealers himself. However, where it comes to China, his recklessness — combined with his predecessor’s caution — has left him in the cat’s bird’s seat.
Former President Benigno Aquino III took the issue of The South China Sea to The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration, years ago. It wound its way slowly through the machinery as all these things do, and the final result was a huge legal victory for the Philippines.
It was not the final word however, in fact, according to the Chinese it isn’t even the beginning for a possible settlement of the South China Sea issue.
But that isn’t true. The ruling has giving Duterte and his poor country, something the Chinese covet more than money, respect.
They would love to just ignore the ruling – which was emphatically in the Philippines’ favor – and refuse to acknowledge the authority of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
That will not work for China; however, for 3 reasons:
1. Particularly right now, Beijing likes to appear – to be on the right side of International Law
2. Duterte has already called their bluff and reported the Chinese have threatened war — if he insists on the legality of the ruling, making it look bad for Xi if he does attack some Philippine’s fishing and/or resource recovery ships — and lastly, the Chinese would like to make a deal with Duterte because they believe him so crazy, as to be beyond American influence.
This is a big tell by the way, Xi is not our friend over here in the good ole’ U.S. of A.
So Duterte, court ruling in pocket, is using it to exert powerful leverage over the Chinese negotiators meeting this month in Guiyang — something that must really irritate the ultra smooth and polished Xi, who must be wondering how this crazed motorcycle killer-local yokel got one up on him.