Duterte’s quotes on sovereignty
Rodrigo Duterte has delivered on his promise to withdraw The Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC). As a staunch defender of Philippine sovereignty, Duterte had no time for an international body meddling in the domestic affairs of his nation and particularly one with a track record of systematically targeting non-white leaders from poor or developing nations.
Duterte had the following to say about the ICC during a speech delivered prior to The Philippines exiting the controversial court’s jurisdiction:
“You’re all bullshit. They want to send me to prison and try me for genocide… They’re a bunch of criminals. Show me how they died, when they died, where? Nothing! They would just say, Duterte time, 4,000 killed. Me killing 4,000? I won’t even have time to sit for a shit. It would keep me busy for 24 hours.
What’s your problem? Who are you to run my country? That’s the problem with the European Union. They are into international governing. they create an ICC, European community, and they try to impose their values and the way they think how criminal is categorised. It’s new colonialism.
I said withdraw simply because to announce to the world, and I will convince everybody now who (is) under the treaty: get out, get out. It is rude”.
Duterte further stated that the ICC is run by “white idiots” before saying:
“These people when they went to Africa, they killed the Arabs … it is really an atonement for their sins. And then they run after either the blacks, when there are so many problems, but they still meddle”.
But this was not the only time that Duterte took a swipe at European institutions. When EU politicians attempted to meddle in law enforcement issues in the country, Duterte kicked such individuals out of The Philippines. Speaking about this, he said:
“I will just be happy to hang you. If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you … You are putting us down. You are exerting pressure in every country with the death penalty”.
Upon being invited to Europe, Duterte declined by saying:
“I’ve been invited by the EU, that stupid organisation. I said, ‘For what?”
When it comes to the United States, the former coloniser of The Philippines, Duterte has also been bold in defending his nation’s sovereignty. Duterte once said:
“The problem with these white people, these American blockheads, is that for every five Americans, three out of five are idiots, and only two are in their right minds. You Americans should just shut up”.
In one speech when Duterte contrasted former US President Barack Obama with the EU, he said:
“Mr. Obama, you can go to hell. The EU better choose purgatory”.
Once when provoked by a foreign journalist, Duterte stated:
“I am no American puppet. I am a President of a sovereign state. And we have long ceased to be a colony of the United States. I do not have any master except the Filipino people. Nobody but nobody…..Son of a bitch….I will swear at you”.
On the qualities of leadership, Duterte has stated:
“A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil in order to protect the lives and the well-being of the many who are good”.
In spite of operating within the confines of a deeply flawed and inefficient presidential system that is desperately in need of a shift to parliamentary governance, Rodrigo Duterte’s tireless efforts have helped to achieve major win-win results for his country. Duterte has been able to vastly improve relations with China whilst simultaneously developing a healthy working relationship with Donald Trump. Duterte has been able to strengthen bonds with fellow ASEAN states whilst helping to improve the economy in spite of a quasi-autarkic constitution that Duterte intends to amend in respect of economic modernisation. At the same time, under Duterte, relations continue to grow with countries as diverse as Japan, Korea, Russia, India and Turkey.
Duterte has masted the use of bold language which forces both friend and foe to take notice. This has helped Duterte to convince multiple bilateral partners to take relations with The Philippines seriously and to not double-cross a leader who remains alert to any possible misdeeds against his nation.
This proves that while Duterte may sound gruff to the uninitiated, he has got the job done and delivered for his people in a manner that none of his predecessors were able to do. This is why his approval ratings have remained consistently high ever since he became president in the summer of 2016.
A Duterte Brexit
Against this background, one could imagine how the current Brexit negotiations between the EU and UK would be proceeding if Britain had a Prime Minister who was able to speak boldly in the defence of national sovereignty and dignity. Such a British leader could negotiate with Brussels from a perspective of strength rather than that of a brow beaten leader going before a gangsters’ nest of oligarchs with a begging cup. As such, it is likely that if a Duterte like character was the British Premier, the UK would have long ago had a clean break from the EU and would be getting on with signing free trading agreements with the wider world, including with ASEAN.
Duterte has identified the problems with multiple super-national bodies including the European Union whilst embracing voluntary economic cooperation with respectful partners in the anti-colonial rules based system of Belt and Road. Now that Italy is leaning away from Brussels and towards Belt and Road, there is no reason why a post-Brexit Britain could not do the same and more, given that Italy remains limited in its ability to strike bespoke deals with non-EU states. By contrast, a post-Brexit Britain could trade with any non-EU nation of its choosing on terms that are specifically tailored to fit the unique requirements of both partners.
Duterte’s leadership has secured both peace and prosperity for The Filipino people and what’s more is that unlike in the superior British parliamentary system, Duterte has done so in the context of a political system that ties at least one hand behind his back at all times.
If Duterte can stand up for his nation and achieve results within the framework of a deeply flawed system of governance, there is nothing stopping a UK Prime Minister operating in one of the finest systems of governance in the world from doing the same or even more.
The problem in Britain is therefore a question of poor personal leadership rather than one of poor governance.