Sunday, October 23, 2016

Duterte and Americans: How our President tries to make sense of US policies thru anthropomorphic analysis

Like some of the youth of my generation, I, too, made that decision to break out of America's hold over my body, soul and spirit. I realized that the policies being implemented by America are policies that promote imperialism---a gruesome scourge of humanity that pursues injustices throughout the world. How many peoples have suffered under the tyrannical rule of America as the world's top cop? How many governments have been overthrown and states have been laid to waste just so Americans can actually live comfortable lives while the rest of the world suffered? From the start of the 19th century, US hegemonic influence over the so-called "free world" has been so pervasive, that it actually became the standard of many countries' policies, rightly or wrongly.

I understood perfectly well where our president, Rodrigo Roa Duterte is coming from. We, Filipinos, have been America's little brown brother for so long, we almost forgot our own identity. And this is not just in the social or cultural sphere---it is markedly obvious in the way we do things, both domestically and externally.

Duterte is right when he said in his speech that for so long, we have followed America's lead when it comes to foreign policy. We have stood side by side with America in issues of global importance. We fought the North Koreans in the fifties out of fear of the spread of Communism, and equally so, we risked the lives of our own soldiers in the Vietnam war. In those wars and conflicts which America entered into in the name of anti-terrorism, we, Filipinos, were there with our white brothers fighting side by side and killing other peoples under a belief of shared interests.

Almost every single time the United Nations convene its members and put several issues to a vote, the Philippines votes the very same way the US does. Of course, there are some which we voted based on our own conscience. But, yes, we are recognized all over as America's little Asian bitch.

And for that, we have a treaty that constrains America to risk life and limb in the event we are attacked by a third party. We have cultural and scholarship exchanges where our young idealistic soldiers are sent to America's military schools to learn new ways of combat. And of course, we have exchanges between academics which enrich our knowledge about the world.

The bad side however, is when we noticed a trade imbalance that always favor the US. This, however, is not the case anymore. As the new century came, trade between the two countries, especially in both exportation and importation, there is now a tilt in our decided favor. This came about as a consequence of increased production capabilities in our part, not a conscious effort by our American counterparts. We are now America's biggest supplier of microchips, and of course, the bulk of the people manning America's BPOs are Filipinos.

Over the course of time, the United States became more liberal and more democratic in its approaches and policies between and among other states, so much so, that, trade and other relationships have been more equitous and few if not none of the unfairness of previous years. This, again, is not a deliberate or conscious effort by America---it is a consequence of the times, where it is now a trend for countries to consider co-existence and interdependence to survive the challenges of this era.

As the US administration changes, along with it, the government's attitude towards other peoples and other races. The influence of liberalism in the way the US conducts itself with other nations has a somber and positive impact on other countries. Compared with the Uncle Sam posturing in the fifties, today's US has postured themselves more as Liberals and Socialists, conscious of America's footing, image and reputation before other smaller and weaker states.

The predatory behavior that has characterized America for decades is now, a thing of the past. It has now opened itself further for other influences and other markets, again, not probably a thing favored by most US policy makers, but, it is brought about by the dictates of the new and modern era. Technology has solved many of America's problems, among them, surplus capital. And compared to previous years, when America solves its problems by flexing its military muscles to get what it wants, there is now a conscious effort at limiting armed engagements in exchange for a more rational and humane approach. This, again, is the effects of the increasing interdependency trend which is now sweeping the entire world, thanks to advances in connectivity.

I firmly support Duterte's stand against America, but not his racial biases against Americans. There is a marked difference between hating America because of its imperialist policies and hating Americans per se. It does not follow that since one hates American imperialist policies, you then hate Americans and even attribute to them bad behavior caused by anthropomorphic qualities.

This is simply unacceptable and borders on racism. Again, in his speech before the Chinese, I think Duterte went overboard and created quite a silly stir which is caused by a silly mind. Worse, in this speech, our president even commented against Indians, Japanese and other Asian races. And he did it like a thug discussing global issues with other thugs, using words that most offensive to other races and peoples.

If Duterte thinks that he scored big by picturing Americans like this before Chinese businessmen, he's mistaken. He actually messed it and messed it big. It was a big embarassment, to him, and to us, Filipinos. Frankly, Duterte made himself a big arsehole in that gathering, and instead of respect, expect not just widespread condemnation, but worse, international derision. Or probably, global irrelevance. There is a very thin line separating being insane and being funny. Sometimes, funny people are more dangerous than merely insane. At least insane people admit their insanity. Funny ones do not.