There is no doubt that Rodrigo Duterte is the most interesting president of the Philippines. His unorthodox political method has propelled him to the presidency and now, we are seeing more of him as we witness how he wields the power of his office.
Recently, we have heard a lot of anti-American sentiments from President Duterte, and these inflammatory remarks are causing a rift in the relationship between the United States and the Philippines. Where could all of these lead us?
How close is the United States and the Philippines?
The Philippines have long been known to be the closest ally of the United States. As a matter of fact, it is the oldest Asian Partner of the United States and a strategic major Non-NATO ally. Most Filipinos view Americans in a very favorable light, and even the colonial mentality has solidly stuck on their minds. I would even venture to say that the Philippines is the most pro-American country not just in Asia, but also in the world.
Does Duterte Hate the United States?
On August 5, 2016, Duterte was reported to call Philip Goldberg, the American ambassador to the Philippines, gay and said that he strongly dislikes him.
On the other hand, Barack Obama stated that he would bring up the issue of extrajudicial killings caused by the government’s war on drugs if ever he would meet Duterte. This obviously irritated the Philippine President and made the following strong statement:
“Who does he think he is? I am no American puppet. I am the president of a sovereign country and I am not answerable to anyone except the Filipino people. Son of a bitch, I will swear at you.”
This remark has caused Obama to cancel his scheduled meeting with Duterte during the ASEAN Conference. On the more recent news, Duterte intentionally skipped the bilateral meeting between Obama and the Asean leaders in Vientiane, Laos saying that his principle can’t take it.
When the Philippine President came back to His country, he made another statement calling for the U.S. Special Forces to leave the southern Philippines.
All these had sent Duterte’s spokespeople to come up with different excuses and downplay the obvious meanings of the president’s statements.
Change of alliances?
With Duterte being suspicious with the country’s closest ally, where will this lead? Duterte even questions the wisdom in what the United States has done in the Middle East – something that no former Philippine president has openly done.
As we see Duterte becoming more aloof to the United States, he is seeking a closer relationship with Beijing and Moscow.
The truth is, it is too early to conclude where the new president will lead the country or how this will affect the influence of the United States in the Southeast Asian region.
Last month, we saw the Filipinos had given Duterte a historic trust rating of 91%. This is how popular Duterte is in the Philippines and even abroad.
Is this a fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy?
Bible prophecy shows that the power and pride of the English-speaking nations, including the United States, will be broken. As the US is losing influence around the world, more and more countries will continue to scoff and ridicule it, and we have seen it even from its closest ally, the Philippines.
We read in the Bible about the kings of the east:
“Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was TWO HUNDRED MILLION; I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:13-16).
The Book of Revelation goes on to say:
“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the KINGS FROM THE EAST might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12).
We know that in the end-time, there will be kings from the east that will march and fight in the battle of Armageddon. These kings from the east will bring with them 200 million soldiers, a figure unheard of before in the human history. Could it be that the Philippines will be part of these Confederacy and alliances? If we consider how the Philippines are distancing itself from the US and seeking closer ties with China, this is possible.
Of course, time will tell.
What does this mean to you?
We can see how world politics can easily change in just a short period. What we know of today may drastically change tomorrow. This behooves us friends to stay close to God and maintain a closer relationship with Him.
In a very unstable and volatile world, God is only the surest foundation we need to stand on. As long as we are on His side, we can have the confidence that we are in good hands.
The relationship between the Philippines and the United States plays a crucial role in the stability of the Southeast Asian region. However, there is a better relationship that we must all seek and maintain – and that is the relationship we have with God.