Blowback: Fixit will be as troubling as Brexit



First Read
Whether it’s Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton sitting across the table (or across the Pacific) from President Duterte, there will be plenty of blowback from our President’s announced policy of scaling down (ending?) our close ties with America. The gales have started to arrive much faster than DU30 perhaps anticipated.

I will refer to the Filipino exit from the US alliance as “Fixit” to establish a rough analogy with Brexit–the British exit from the European Union. Both will prove to be unsettling for our countries and the international community.

The Oxford dictionary defines “ blowback” as “the unintended adverse results of a political action or situation.” The word is chiefly American English but it has gained wide currency in the media and in international affairs.

Blowback perfectly describes the reverberations from Duterte’s diatribe against US policy toward the Philippines, as a prelude to his coming visit to Beijing on October 18-21.

Security and economic implications
The blowback has focused mainly on defense and security matters, to the neglect of the equally significant economic dimension.

Security is the main worry of former president Fidel V. Ramos in his strong critique of the first hundred days of President Duterte.

After strongly supporting Duterte during the election campaign, FVR says that instead of “hitting the ground running” Duterte is stuck “in unending controversies about extrajudicial killings and his use of cuss words and insults instead of civilized language.”

Most of all, Ramos expressed dismay about Duterte’s resolve to steer the country away from the ambit of Washington, saying the “on-and-off” statements of the President were “discombobulating.”

Ramos asks: “What gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On [President] DU30’s say so?”

Beyond these concerns is the strategic importance of the Philippines to the US pivot to Asia. The US would lose a major jump-off point in the Asia-Pacific if Duterte really evicts all American forces from the country.

One Australian analyst believes that Duterte’s swing toward China could be good for both China and the United States.

In a policy analysis, “Duterte changes the South China Sea tone,” Graeme Dobell, a fellow with the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), wrote that in spite of the maddening ways of the Philippine President, Duterte has “changed the immediate tone of the South China Sea [SCS] argument at an otherwise dangerous moment.”

Dobell explained that “the fresh opening [Duterte] offers China creates an important pause in a dangerous chain of events. The volatile president met a volatile moment in the SCS and actually brought the temperature down.”

Economic blowback as scary
That said, I think the blowback on the economic sphere will be adverse and punishing.

I would compare the economic effects of the Filipino exit from the US alliance to the traumatic effects of Brexit on the UK economy and the world economy.

Regardless of the priority focus today on the drug war and US-Philippine relations, the Philippines must not neglect the bread-and-butter issues that define the larger reality of national life.

I want to call particular attention to the economy because of the growing perception that international and domestic investors are getting nervous that the country will not be able to sustain its substantial economic gains in recent years — gains which turned the Philippines into the growth leader in Southeast Asia.

President Duterte took over a country that was doing very well economically. He was gifted with a magnificent opportunity to propel the Philippines to new heights.

Unfortunately, however, Duterte’s love of lynching and his propensity to slander Filipino allies and foreign leaders have served as a brake on international and local business confidence.

The sense of insecurity will worsen if Fixit becomes fact. We will wind up in the same boat as Britain, which now faces the harsh reality of its Brexit decision by referendum last June 23.

Agence France-Presse reported on October 7: “The steep drop in the value of the British currency is a sign that the vote to exit the European Union has put Britain’s commercial relationships with the world on potentially perilous ground….

“As the British pound plunged some 6 percent against the American dollar in the span of two minutes in early trading in Asia, the markets offered a reminder that divorce tends to be messy, expensive and laced with uncertainties. It rarely ends happily….

“More than anything, though, the precipitous drop seemed to attest to an increasingly unmistakable reality…

“The world believes that the UK is going to be poorer in the future, and find it more expensive to trade,” said Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, an independent research institution in London.”

Not fear-mongering, realism
Our government must take care that Fixit will not impact our economy and our money in the same way. It’s easy to swagger about how adopting an independent foreign policy will be beneficial for our people and our country.

Those who think this way still have not realized how the world has radically changed since the end of the Cold War.

There is a new international system in place called globalization; and it has totally replaced the Cold War system.

The Cold War system was characterized by the pervasive fact of division — a world divided into allies of the Soviet Union and international communism, and allies of the free world and capitalism

Globalization has one overarching feature — and that is integration. The world today is an interwoven place; whether you are a company or a country, your threats and opportunities increasingly derive from who you are connected to.

The Philippines today is very much wired to this new globalized system, which is exemplified most strongly and pervasively by the US.

The question is, shall we exchange the connections built over years of close ties with America for the new connections promised by China and Russia? If we do, what will happen to our economy? To put the issue at its crudest, what will happen to our vibrant BPO industry, which is wired to the US and the West?

These questions cannot just be dismissed as fear-mongering. This is realism.

If we don‘t ask the questions now, we won‘t have the right to protest later when the crisis hits.

Fixit needs to be fixed now, not later.


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  1. Duterte is right. Brexit won because of self-determination. EU is not elected by the british who make regulations and orders. Remember Obama campaigned for remain that made the british angry with him.

    Obama is a puppet of the globalists. What is the reason Libya, Iraq and Syria are on war made by these globalists?
    There is no central bank of globalists. Putin is anti-globalists.

    Illegal migration (refugees kuno) is caused by the globalists using UN/EU which are created by them for the NWO.
    Let us see what these globalists will do when Deutche Bank falls.

  2. the philippines as a whole has the right to complaint about the iron tight relationship with it’s former mother country the u.s.a.after they gave back a ruined clark airfoce base/subic bay navy base after they outlived their usefulness. now, current phil. government don’t want to repeat the same conditions from the old single side security treaty between the two countries again.. they want a neutrality position dealing with other nations that seem unacceptable to most of the western countries.

  3. Yonkers, New York
    13 October 2016

    As far as Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte is concerned, he has already ‘CROSSED HIS RUBICON,” meaning his turning his back completely on the DEMOCRATIC United States of America and his fervid embrace of COMMUNIST CHINA AND RUSSIA, are already a done deal, or a fait accompli. For him there cannot be a turning back–no “Fix-It.”

    If there is no “Fix-It,” the Philippines will have to suffer the untoward or disastrous financial and economic consequences of a stupid “Independent Foreign Policy” crafted by a psychotic President who is a sophomoric if not a nincompoop in the complicated., complex if not esoteric areas of Finance, Economics, and Foreign Relations.

    One cannot be suddenly catapulted to the Presidency of a country, from being Mayor of Davao City for 23 years, and expect him to make the transition easily and competently. In the case of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, it is obvious that he is finding it hard if not impossible to make the transition from Mayor to President: he is jumping from one serious blunder to the next–and that includes an uncouth and vulgar tongue in a garbage- and excreta-laden mouth.


  4. Benzirach Cruz on

    Realpolitik. As the diplomatic players used to utter during the Cold War. It is not the question of: should we cut our ties with the center of today’s global network. The question is: Are we ready for the political, economic and diplomatic pressure from the still more powerful country in the world? Just review recent history, in one case, Libya, Iraq, Syria Ukraine, and Venezuela. Countries who have tried to cut their umbilical cord from the empire.

  5. Duterte’s remarks favoring China is just rhetoric in preparation for his visit. It is simply mind conditioning but will the chinese government take the gambit, maybe it is a yes or a no. His never-ending tirades against the US, EU and other countries will surely have a riveting effect to our country in the long run and just waiting what will happen to our economy the west philippine sea and the country in a year time.

  6. Let me go back to manicani: It’s the end of W.A.R. that matters, not W_ords,not A_ctions but R_esults.
    In other posts, I call Duterte’s Words and Actions as the DUTERTE GAMBIT. Let’s wait for the R_ESULTS.
    Hasn’t all this invectives resulted in less than 100 days curtailed the drug menace, caught (named) the big fishes of the drug world including Delima.Hasn’t he stepped back one to gain two. (think ASG, NDF).
    Didn’t he hemmed and hawed before running for the presidency that even FVR irritatedly said “either he do it or he don’t”
    Again, it’s the DUTERTE GAMBIT. Let’s wait for the end of W.A.R.(results)

  7. Does anybody listen to the policy of President Duterte , that he is rooting for peace (as he said “he wish to be friends of all” and yet have ” Independence ” . he did want to engage in war with China , that he would rather promote education and well-being( Health) for all Filipinos. he is right in freeing the Phl from drug menace which is destroying the very physical and mental well being of youth and it breaks his heart to see those affected innocent youth , which could be his or your children and grandchildren who will someday ,be the future leader of the Philippines He is not cutting ties our relationship w/ US as his spokesperson explained

    • If Duterte never stops cussing the US, and the rest of the world, US and her people will retaliate. If you are cuss, are you not going to retaliate ? Specially when the nation cussing is a third world nation. There are clear indication that they are fed up and shipping out. First : the untimely ending of the Balikatan exercise. Second : the pull out of foreign currency out . Per Cental Bank, it reached 3 billion dollars in 5 weeks. Third: stock market nosedive to less than 5400 Psei. Fourth : sudden devaluation of the peso now trading at 48.50 to a dollar. Is that not proof enough that these guys are moving out ?

  8. the u.s. does not need the the philippines in order to defend their pacific rim interest. we have practically sorrounded the ever growing might of china u.s. military instatalations like in korea,japan,okinnawa,guam,hawaii and as far as australia which is more than enough to take care of a any china threat. if the scenario get worst our best bet is to build our biggest militatry base to include army/navy/airfoce in the us.marianas terriroty our own land and avoid wasting times negotiating with other uncooperative countries.

    • Then go ahead! What gives?!! Truth is, the US needs the Philippines as they need vassals as pawns!

    • Bravo Yen! First time you wrote something I can’t and don’t agree with!
      Way to go! Cheers!

  9. “So next time, look at the man’s record, don’t just write and write” – Ramos addressing the media in 1987

  10. “What gives? Are we throwing away decades of military partnership, tactical proficiency, compatible weaponry, predictable logistics and soldier-to-soldier camaraderie just like that? On [President] DU30’s say so?” It wasn’t that long ago when the 1991 Senate rejected the extension of the US Bases presence in the Philippines. Critics said the same thing, but look, the Philippines survived and actually thrived.

    • Well there is no war yet. When it comes, where do you side? When there is Catastrope, who you gonna ask for help? During all previous major Typhoons
      which country gave most Aids? On Technology, ours is US Technology, the best in the whole world. How many million graduates are using these technology across the whole world? Their dollars earnings are being sent to our country. And the dollars are loaned businesses to buy imported raw materials for manufacturing industries plus equipment and parts. Any disruption in economic activity in Philippine will really affect the livelihood of