Philippines Frustrated, Enraged by US Failures to Help It

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while answering questions during a news conference upon arrival from a trip to Myanmar and Thailand at an international airport in Manila, Philippines March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

The Philippines is weak and poor. It relies on the US to protect its interests in its South China Sea disputes with China. However, it has turned out that the US is unable or unwilling to protect Philippines’ interests. Then Philippine leaders are faced with the questions: Why had the US pressured the Philippines to challenge China? Why did the US tell the Philippines to file an arbitration against China but had not helped it enforce the arbitration award? Did the US use the Philippines as a pawn to create trouble for China?

Entirely disappointed and frustrated and greatly enraged, Philippine President Duterte took a 180 degree turn in Philippine diplomacy to seek friendship with China and become unfriendly and to some extent hostile to the US, Philippines’ old ally.

Quite some media ascribe Duterte’s change in Philippines diplomacy to his personal factors, but I repeatedly made the above analysis in my previous posts.

Now Reuters report “Philippines’ Duterte derides U.S. for past inaction in South China Sea” today precisely proves my analysis.

The report says that Duterte “accused the previous U.S. administration of pressuring the Philippines to take a stand against China, without a guarantee of military support” and said that the US was “bound by a treaty to protect the Philippines, but had done nothing when China started building in parts of Manila’s its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).”

It quotes Duterte as saying, “Why in hell, America, the only one who can act there, why did it want my navy to go there? It will be a massacre for my soldiers.”

The US simply does not want to fight for the Philippines as it has no actual interests in the South China Sea except those related to its world hegemony, but it is not strong enough to fight for the hegemony now. That is why its new president wants to make the US great again.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:

Philippines’ Duterte derides U.S. for past inaction in South China Sea

By Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales | MANILA Thu Mar 23, 2017 | 12:10pm EDT

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday accused the United States of having a provocative stance on the South China Sea and said its inaction when China started building manmade islands was the cause of tensions now besetting the region.

Duterte said Washington’s freedom of navigation patrols risked a “miscalculation” that could spark conflict, and accused the previous U.S. administration of pressuring the Philippines to take a stand against China, without a guarantee of military support.
“You go there in the pretence of challenging them?” he said of the U.S. patrols that began under the Obama administration. “One single solitary shot, it could lead to an explosion and it could lead to a war and it will be a slaughter.”

The firebrand leader is open about his grudge against his country’s oldest ally, which he said was bound by a treaty to protect the Philippines, but had done nothing when China started building in parts of Manila’s its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“Why in hell, America, the only one who can act there, why did it want my navy to go there? It will be a massacre for my soldiers,” he told an audience of lawyers.

“Why did you not, the first instance, go to Chinese working there, building structures there?”

He added: “Why did you not reprimand them? Why did you not send five aircraft carriers? And you had to wait for the problem to ripen to an international issue involving, this time, so many countries.

“You could have cut the problem in the bud had you taken a decisive action.”

Duterte’s comments came amid concern in the Philippines that China would build several environmental monitoring stations in disputed waters, including on the Scarborough Shoal 124 miles off the Philippine coast. China has dismissed that as “not true”.

The United States insists it wants to preserve freedom of navigation and oversight in the strategic waterway and that its actions are not a provocation.


In contrast to his tirade against Washington, Duterte did not criticize China, which he is trying to cultivate as a buyer of farm produce, and builder of its infrastructure.

His overtures toward a country long regarded by Manila as a maritime aggressor marked an astonishing foreign policy shakeup. Recalling his remarks at an October meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, he said the two had a lot in common.

“I decided to change a little bit our foreign policy,” he said.

“Why is it that we are too far from trade and commerce with China? They said we are Americans. Said who? – China.

“I went to China, (and said) ‘I don’t like Americans, we’re the same. I came to shake your hand and if I can have participation in trade and commerce’.”

He invited China to send a battleship to visit the Philippines and suggested sharing offshore energy resources in the Philippine EEZ that China lays claim to.

“Even if I like to claim it all, I have no capital, even the rigs and everything, we cannot afford it,” he said.

Duterte said it was pointless trying to challenge China’s fortification of its manmade islands and ridiculed the media for referring to a comment he made during his election campaign, when he said he would ride a jet-ski to one Beijing’s reclaimed reefs, and put a Philippine flag there.

“We cannot stop them because they are building it with their mind fixed that they own the place. China will go to war,” he said. “People want me to jet ski. These fools believed me.”

(Editing by Alison Williams)

4 Comments on “Philippines Frustrated, Enraged by US Failures to Help It”

  1. Walter Tseng says:

    Saw a couple of CCTV documentaries on China’s OBOR heavy infrastructure investments in Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka & Pakistan. Very impressive! I think Duterte must’ve have seen it too & realised that those countries are getting the chocolate cookies & the Philippines is being pushed forward as a US cannon fodder.


  2. Steve says:

    This is the best commentary on President Duterte. It shows that Duterte is clear headed and his only concern for the welfare of the Filipinos and prosperity of the nation. Clearly, Filipinos should stop dreaming of the 51st US state, it’s embarrassing and humiliating. All Philippines ever got in return for its American dream are worn out coastguard cutters as warships, outdated guns, promises and coca cola. President Duterte understands that the future of Filipinos and its nation lies in the Asian Pacific for trade and economy. Duterte hit the nail on its head describing the economic woes, backward military and stupidity of past presidential administrations. Corruption and greed caused the decline of the nation. In other words a used up nation.

    Pivoting to Uncle Han, securing a genuine helping hand from China and cast away the hegemonic leadership of the hypocritical scoundrels is the only and best way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joseph says:

    Ah, that’s why there was no skirmish on the SCS during the Aquino time. The American wanted Philippines navy to go to engage China on the SCS, but Philippines navy refused. Who wouldn’t? It was just like walking straight into cliff. I bet the plan was when Philippines navy get slaughtered, the US navy comes to the rescue as savior, then aid money will be collected from ‘sympathetic’ regional ‘allies’. Those who refuses the extortion will be bullied in ‘either you are with us or against us’ rethoric. What what did the Philippines navy get for this sacrifice? Three amazing rusting ex-US coast guard cutters which require endless American parts and maintenance. What a great deal, for the American. No wonder Filipinos were so incessant to kick out Aquino, Marcos and whoever American chose to be the next president. No wonder Filipinos were so angry that during Obama’s G-20 visit to Manila,that they wanted to drag Obama out to the street to beat him up Qaddafy-style. I bet Obama would be wary to visit Phillipines after what happened. Even Donald Trump is wary to mention Phillipines against China for fear what the Filipino may do to his precious Trump Tower in Manila.

    Liked by 1 person