A deeper look at the Philippine president’s anti-American views.
After all, since coming to power in June, his administration appeared to be in the midst of a dramatic turn in Philippine foreign policy toward Beijing and away from the country’s longtime ally the United States, with Duterte’s China voyage expected to lead to rapprochement after years of fierce disagreements over the South China Sea.
What the audience did not expect was a nearly 30-minute anti-American rant from Duterte, delving into the reasons why he disliked the United States – from his experiences with U.S. immigration officials all the way to the crude way Americans speak – and ending with a vow to separate from the United States.
“What is really wrong with an American character?” Duterte said at the very beginning of his remarks, before moving on to diagnose the various problems with the United States relative to “Orientals.” Duterte’s antics drew nervous laughter from the crowd and a rather puzzled look from China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
Duterte’s hatred toward the United States may seem like either empty rhetoric to be dismissed or strategic posturing and his anti-American outlook is very deep and real and may not go away as soon as some might hope.
Duterte is also a self-avowed leftist, a tendency that was cemented when he studied political science under Jose Maria Sison, the long-exiled founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, in the 1960s. Duterte’s left turn was not just a flirtation, but by his own admission, continues to drive his political outlook till today.