That the US was behind the Davao City bombing is flat-out false, ridiculous and improbable. Utterly pragmatic and focused on its commercial interests here, the US will always support–warts, wrinkles and all — a President like Mr. Duterte. And that is easy to explain.
Mr. Duterte is a President with the political will to rewrite the Constitution, and the critics be damned. With the rewrite, the US and other wealthy countries with major investments in the country will have the chance to fulfill a long-time desire, which is to amend the 60/40 provision that has restricted their interests in many ways and from many angles.
Mr. Duterte is interested in altering the form of government to pursue his federalism dream. The US and other investor countries want the 60/40 amended. This is a happy intersection of interests and the US is aware that the only President with the will and the courage to do a rewrite is Mr. Duterte. Why will they bomb and bring down such a government even if they have the capacity to do so? I do feel the US polity secretly loves Mr. Duterte for his determination to rewrite the Constitution and give the US investors the legal cover to expand their commercial interests here .
What Mr. Duterte stated in a state of pique against the US ambassador, against Mr. Obama or the law and order situation in the US are not really taken seriously by the US . Those are words that they can brush aside. Daily, Mr. Obama is being accused of being born outside the US and Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, has taken a lead in spreading the “ birther “ issue. Mr. Obama has been reacting with utmost calm and equanimity. Nothing personal. Just one of those things that go with the presidency. Pragmatism, not pique, has been the guiding light of US relationship with the world.
On US national security interests, the US loves Mr. Duterte even better.
After Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs, the second security concern of his government is the war on the Abu Sayyaf. Mr. Duterte’s “ galit ako” pronouncement against Muslim fundamentalists who kill and invoke Allah when they do their butchering is visceral hatred. While Mr. Duterte wants to bring the secular MNLF and the less-secular MILF into the fold, he has no other policy toward the Abu Sayyaf except to eliminate each and every member of this bandit group.
Now, the war on ISIL and other Islamic fundamentalist groups is the major element of the US security concerns. Nothing bothers the US more than the ISIL and its clones and its surrogates, which in the Philippines is the Abu Sayyaf. The 9/11 Twin Towers bombing has deeply scarred the US and memories of that mayhem are still at the front, back and center of US security affairs. The instability that the ISIL and its clones and its surrogates have brought on vast spreads of the Middle East and North Africa – and even peaceful Brussels – is the current, dominant concern of the US.
Mr. Duterte’s focus on the Abu Sayyaf is not lost on the US, which needs relentless allies everywhere to fight ISIL and its clones . Right now, on the war on ISIL, Mr. Duterte is their best bet in the Asean. For this reason alone, the US will do everything to prop up the Duterte government. Not bring it down.
Is there a Philippine leader more determined to wipe out ISIL and its clones and, indirectly, help serve the US cause. None. That would be Mr. Duterte.
The 21st century is not the 20th century. The US cannot – and does not want to – launch Landsdale-type propaganda to influence the choice of a Philippine leader. It can neither launch Allende-style operations to recklessly alter the democratic choices of voters. While it does not directly acknowledge “ imperial overstretch,” it does recognize its limitations as the global superpower.
To invoke vehement intent on the part of the US and raise other conspiracy theories that are often wild and off the mark, and without grounding on geopolitics and the dynamic of global security, is to muddle the current investigation on who carried out the bombing in Davao City. The fact that the bombing has alarmed every part of the developed world, for example the European nightmare over it, suggests that we should not look for external factors and outside scapegoats especially from the developed world.
Gen. Bato is on the right track and he knows where to look. In the meantime, let his investigation proceed without muddling and meddling.
The US, to be clear, did not bomb Davao City. Neither did:
. CJ Sereno
. The non-existent political opposition
. Senator de Lima
. Archbishop Villegas