Whilst Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s opponents continue to bay for other people’s blood in a conflict they are too cowardly to fight themselves, Duterte remains the calm, dignified and empirically driven statesman that his country deserves. The present context in which Duterte has showed a supreme statesmanlike posture involves a recent maritime incident in which a Chinese fishing vessel collided with a smaller fishing boat from The Philippines.
Whilst the Filipino sailors contend that the collision was intentional on the part of the Chinese boat, the Chinese insist that the entire matter was an unfortunate accident. This however has not stopped Duterte’s political opponents from seeking to escalate tensions with the Chinese government over a matter that in any case has nothing to do with anyone sitting in the halls of power in Beijing.
It remains unclear what the end-goal actually is among those baying for Chinese blood. If such people want a war with China they clearly hate their own country because not only is China a valuable trading and investment partner of The Philippines thanks in great part to Rodrigo Duterte’s reformist style of leadership, but moreover, a war between China and The Philippines would result in a short and devastating loss for The Philippines. Anyone with half a brain automatically understands this. Furthermore, if those baying for blood think that a third country like the United States would make war upon China over a minor fishing accident, they are supremely deluded and categorically stupid.
Perhaps such people wish to instigate an anti-Chinese race riot such as those that Indonesia has sadly experienced and that were once a feature of the first decade of Malaysia’s post-colonial existence? Fortunately, such race riots have not been prominent in The Philippines but perhaps Duterte’s opponents want to change this?
In any case, the entire incident appears to be a molehill made into a mountain by devious political forces that care not for the fishermen and not even for their country but only for their own egos. Duterte’s response however has injected calm and reason into the situation. Duterte said of the incident:
“It is best investigated. I don’t issue a statement now because there’s no investigation and no result. The only thing we can do is wait and give the other party the right to be heard”.
In other words, Duterte doesn’t wish to unnecessarily inflame regional tensions when there is no reason to do so. He likewise does not seek to draw any conclusions on a specific matter before a proper evidence based investigation can be conducted.
In a word, Duterte’s position is logical. Likewise, that of his opponents is cartoonishly hysterical. The grave danger therefore is not one that is worrying in the short term. But if Duterte’s war hungry opponents ever get back into power, it could spell death for millions of Filipinos and create chaos and war for an otherwise placid and economically healthy part of the world.
For now, no conclusions should be drawn until there is a full investigation. In the long term however, Filipinos must be on guard against the overtly racist, war mongering and irrational oligarch backed politicians who taunt and insult Duterte because he is a man of peace.