July 2018, Helsinki. U.S. President Donald Trump met with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin in what is deemed by former Central Intelligence Chief John Brennan as “nothing short of treasonous”.
Trump denied U.S. Intelligence claims that Russia had a hand in the 2016 U.S. elections, forcing top guns within the circle of Democrats and Republicans—even Trump’s allies—to rebuke the U.S. President’s obvious disregard for intelligence information.
Director of National Intelligence John Coats, according to a CNN report, reasserted that “Moscow interfered with the 2016 elections” (https://edition.cnn.com/politics/live-news/trump-putin-helsinki/index.html).
Members of the U.S. Congress, some Republicans, also criticized Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, went on to say, “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The President must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy” (https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/16/politics/congress-reaction-trump-putin-comments/index.html).
Other US Senate Republicans were quick on the draw. U.S. Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky Mitch McConnell, Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, Nebraska’s Sen. Ben Sasse, South Carolina’s Sen. Tim Scott, Maine’s Sen. Susan Collins, South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, Arizona’s Sen. Jeff Flake, and Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch, among others, made it plain that they all support the intelligence community’s assessment on Moscow’s purported election interference.
Democrat Sen. Blumenthal only had scathing remarks to offer during CNN’s interview in “The Situation Room”: “Donald Trump was a patsy, a pushover and a puppet. Not a President. He, in effect, instead of putting America’s interests first, he blamed America first and he blamed everyone except Russia and himself.”
All this came in the wake of a Reuters news report: the indictment three days prior to the news conference by the U.S. Justice Department of 12 Russian spies “for hacking into Democratic Party computer networks” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-summit/trump-backs-putin-on-election-meddling-at-summit-stirs-fierce-criticism-idUSKBN1K601D).
Trump’s United States had to face last week what the Philippines under Rodrigo Duterte has been facing for the past two years: the Philippine President’s groveling before the People’s Republic of China.
For reasons yet found within the bounds of speculation, Duterte seems to believe every word that Chinese President Xi Jin Ping says. Last May 15, Rappler’s Paterno Esmaquel II reported on Duterte’s statement on Xi Jin Ping promising never to allow the ouster of Duterte.
Earlier in Oct. 2016, a Reuters report quoted Duterte as saying that he is officially announcing his separation from the United States: “Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.” Duterte was in Beijing at the time.
Reuters also quoted Duterte as saying, “I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world – China, Philippines, and Russia. It’s the only way” (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-philippines-idUSKCN12K0AS?).
Duterte said this a forum in the Great Hall of the People where the Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli was in attendance.
Of all of Duterte’s statements, nothing can be more jarring than his Feb. 9 speech before a gathering of Filipino-Chinese businessmen: “If you want, just make us a province, like Fujian” (http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/02/19/18/duterte-jokes-about-making-ph-a-province-of-china). Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua was in attendance.
GMA7’s Jessica Soho, in her show “State of the Nation by Jessica Soho,” said the former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. didn’t take the “joke” lightly. “But knowing China, it will not consider it a joke. Chinese leaders are not known to be jokers. Our becoming a province of China may not be too far” (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/650009/ex-cj-davide-troubled-by-duterte-s-philippine-province-of-china-joke/story/).
A Dec. 2017 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed that most Filipinos trust the United States but remained “neutral” when it came to China (http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/28/18/sws-filipinos-trust-us-the-most-neutral-on-china).
A stark change has happened after seven months, with SWS July 2018 survey saying that four out of five Filipinos feel it’s wrong for Duterte to stay mum on China’s incursion in the West Philippine Sea (https://www.rappler.com/nation/207333-duterte-government-action-china-militarization-sws-july-2018).
Thereby, the question: what is happening to the world?
At face value, it seems the world is teetering toward a global move to totalitarianism, with dictators the likes of Duterte and Trump turning into patsies and puppets in favor of China and Russia, respectively.
It is clear why Trump has to grovel before Putin by rejecting US Intelligence reports on Russia’s purported interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. His whole presidency rests on whether he won fair and square or Russian money made it happen. The latter, by all standards, is treasonous.
It is not well-defined, however, why Duterte is veering towards China by letting Xi Jin Ping’s administration get away with incursion in the West Philippine Sea, why he wants the country to be China’s province, and why he trusts China to fund his “Build Build Build” programs without even fearing the “China debt trap”.
Did China’s money have anything to do with Duterte winning the elections? For a landslide win in 2016, did Duterte promise our WPS islands as collateral for payment, among other things?
For now, there are only guesses and speculations, nothing backed by evidence. But until Filipinos do something concrete to get this patsy, pushover, and puppet to side with the people’s interest, there is a good chance, as former Chief Justice Davide feared, for the Philippines to be a province of China sooner than we can say no.
In April, our country’s debt has ballooned to P6.88 trillion, almost double our national budget of P3.757 trillion for 2019. Domestic debt in April rose by 0.7% to P33.08 billion.
Corr Analytics founder Anders Corr has warned that the current national government “debt of $123 billion could rise to over a trillion US dollars in 10 years” should China’s money help fund Duterte massive infrastructure program (http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/04/10/18/ex-envoy-fears-ph-headed-to-chinese-debt-trap).
There’s no telling where this country will be in the next 10 years should the China debt trap seize us by the neck. All because tough-talking Duterte chose to be a pushover. G