The Manila Times writer explains how Duterte's unique style of leadership is changing the landscape of international diplomacy

The Manila Times writer explains how Duterte's unique style of leadership is changing the landscape of international diplomacy

All of this in pursuit of the country’s aspiration to be a progressive and peaceful nation.

The country has been catching up with its traditional progressive Asian neighbors and under the leadership of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte we are embarking on a journey which is totally different from what we are used to.

Geo-politics in Asia, Europe , Middle East and other parts of the world are in constant movement-changing to a path that if one remains unmindful or  stagnant will be left behind in terms of the opportunities one can achieve for one’s country.   *
(photo credit to Rappler)

The Manila Times resident columnist  Mr. Antonio P. Contreras gives his opinion on the matter in his March 17, 2018 article titled “Duterte is rocking the world through a diplomacy of creative destruction” and has presented a well written piece in the whole of what is happening – that is how the Philippine President  with his bold pronouncements, movements , and policies seems to be creating his own unique brand of foreign diplomacy which is benefitting the country in terms of progress and identity in the world stage
For the consumption of our readers, added knowledge, and full understanding of the subject matter we are quoting in full the article that was written by Mr. Contreras in this blog post.


Duterte is rocking the world through a diplomacy of creative destruction


WHEN President Rodrigo Duterte boldly sent the European Union (EU) packing together with its financial aid, his critics screamed in horror as if it was the end of world. Months later, the EU came back with a better aid offer, without its intrusive conditionalities.

He is steering the country into the direction of China, as our principal lender in our ambitious infrastructure program. His critics are once again hyperventilating, painting a doomsday scenario, more so that someone claimed in Chinese media that the country’s natural resources serve as collateral for such loans. The Chinese, of course, will officially deny this, but only the naïve will believe them. It is already a well-known fact that China is into debt diplomacy, which recently went into motion when it acquired control over a piece of land in Sri Lanka when the latter was unable to pay back.   *

However, it is also utterly naïve to paint the President as totally clueless about this. I am beginning to realize that he is in fact fully aware of the consequences if our country will not be able to pay our debts. But that is a big if. What he has effectively deployed is to set us up with a heavy price to pay if we can’t, to galvanize us into making sure that we will not fail. And instead of wallowing in the imagined fear of not being able pay back our Chinese loans, his critics should instead help in ensuring that we will by keeping our economy robust.

After all, despite the iconoclastic, seemingly undiplomatic stance of the President, our country is rated to be the best country to invest in. And this is not just a matter of perception but is in fact matched by actual results. Foreign direct investments (FDIs) are coming in, in record numbers.


President Duterte appears to have embarked on a new doctrine in diplomacy, one that is along the line of what Joseph Schumpeter has coined to apply to economic transformation of societies. Schumpeter called this process as “creative destruction,” when economic structures are built by first destroying the old ones.   *

The President unconsciously applies this doctrine to diplomacy by consciously disturbing, assaulting and destabilizing prevailing diplomatic practices based on age-old precedents, in order to give way to new relationships, arrangements and practices. He thus creates an interruption, if not a chasm, in the prevailing global institutional arrangements, one that has been ruled by traditional power blocs. It is a global order that has long been dominated by alliances revolving around traditional powerful countries that check each other in the world arena, an arrangement that leaves countries like the Philippines into helpless pawns.

His policy of shifting to China is one bold move that seriously interrupted the status quo. It is a strategic move of dealing with a neighborhood bully more directly, instead of perpetually looking towards an absent big brother who has always assumed that our country will always be a loyal underling no matter what.

The United Nations is another global institution which became the target of the President’s diplomacy of creative destruction. He became a leading and powerful voice that articulated a critique of what the UN has become, an otherwise useful idea that was rendered somewhat useless because it allowed its otherwise noble goals to be undermined and hijacked by extreme political correctness. The concept of human rights, which is in fact one noble construct that would normally be unproblematic, was weaponized by the West to become an instrument of selective control over less powerful countries. Liberal politics, another otherwise ideal political construct that celebrated freedom and human emancipation, was reduced into becoming a new colonial discourse that classifies societies and justifies selective assaults on nations’ sovereignties while tolerating, if not being blind to, the transgressions of, others. The UN and other global institutions have become the bearers of what Edward Said has labeled as “orientalism,” where the non-Western world is seen by the West through a lens that is clouded by prejudice, inappropriate cultural universalism, and an air of moral, ethical and racial superiority.  *

We see this in the readiness of the global liberal media, and the UN and its attached organs, or the countries which are the usual suspects, to condemn alleged human rights violations in less developed countries, but not the atrocities of American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are quick to condemn the alleged extrajudicial killings that victimize even innocent children that they attribute to President Duterte’s war on drugs, but remain silent on the school shootings in the US that are brought about by the US government’s policy on gun control, or the lack of it, which is supported by the Republican majority.

It is in this context that one can see the creatively destructive potential that the President’s intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC), can bring.

Duterte’s critics wrongly attribute this move to the President’s alleged attempt to escape prosecution by ICC. The President is not dumb nor naïve not to know that even with the withdrawal, the case filed against him will remain. What they forget is that this move is in fact a political statement, an assault on the structured biases of the ICC, and the global discourse on human rights, in its selective prosecution of President Duterte. It is a strike against a system that entertains politically motivated complaints, but neglects its prerogative to investigate on its own initiative other countries that also launched their own wars on drugs, such as Mexico and many Latin American countries. The ICC seems to be oblivious of the fact that the United States has its own bloody drug war and has in fact committed acts that could even amount to war crimes in many parts of the world.  *

The thing is, if the Senate reverses the President’s intent, or our Supreme Court rules against him, then it becomes evidence of the fact that institutions work in the country, and that the Philippines is not a failed state, and the ICC has no business acting like a court of first instance and thus has no jurisdiction over the allegations against the President.


Report from Manila Times

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