Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin have both expressed optimism for improved relations with the United States through its President-elect Donald Trump.
On November 10, 2016, Wednesday, after contentious U.S. elections the previous day, the Inquirer published the following statement from Duterte’s Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to Mr. Donald Trump on his recent electoral victory as President of the United States of America… (Duterte) looks forward to working with the incoming administration for enhanced Philippines-US relations anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit and shared commitment to democratic ideals and the rule of law.”
The same morning, according to Fox News, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Donald Trump a telegram congratulating him for winning the presidential election. Putin told Trump he hoped relations between Moscow and Washington would improve “from their crisis state” with ties “based on principles of equality, mutual respect and a real accounting each other’s positions.”
Philippines’ Duterte has expressed hostility towards U.S. criticism of his much publicized anti-drug clampdown, telling President Barack Obama to “go to hell” and warning U.S. pundits not to treat his country “like a dog with a leash.”
In contrast, Duterte revealed to Al Jazeera that Russian President Vladimir Putin is his “idol”. The Philippine president underscored similarities he shares with the Russian president.
“Yes. He has no illusions about himself. He knows that he was not trained for politics. Or to be a statesman. He acts just like a President. My characterization of Putin is what I would describe myself.”
According to CNN, Duterte has moved to bury the hatchet with the U.S. after Donald Trump’s election to the White House. Duterte expressed the following sentiments on Wednesday.
“I would like to congratulate President Trump. Long live!… We both like to swear. One little thing, we curse right away, we’re the same.”
One day after Trump won the 2016 U. S. presidential election, Philippines’ Duterte said that some military exercises would be back on. The traditional alliance between the United States and the Philippines had been strained since Duterte called Obama a “son of a whore” in September, and during a visit to China in October, had described the US alliance over, claiming “America has lost.”
Meanwhile, Putin stood up in defense of Duterte after former Philippine President Fidel Ramos rated Duterte’s first 100 days as a “letdown”. Putin said that anyone who does not see what “Duterte has achieved and is achieving is blind”. Putin did not hesitate to press home his point.
“You do not need medicated spectacles to see what Duterte has done.”
As for Trump, his opinion of Putin as a leader is on public record. Trump praised Russian President Putin’s ‘strong control’ over Russia and said he was ‘far more’ of a leader than President Obama. Trump said the following at a pre-election commander-in-chief forum on NBC.
“The man has very strong control over a country.”
With the three leaders of a mindset for positive renewal, a new chapter in foreign policy engagement seems to have started.