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The recent diplomatic row between the Philippines and the United States has come as a shock to U.S. State Department and Pentagon policy wonks but for astute observers of Southeast Asian politics, the decision of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to «pivot» to China and Russia was long in the making.
Ever since the so-called «Yellow Revolution» that saw Corazon Aquino replace the Philippines autocratic ruler Ferdinand Marcos, the majority of Filipinos have roiled under one corrupt American-blessed president after another.
Duterte, the fiery former mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, has channeled the disgust of many in the Philippines to adopt a hostile attitude in the face of a renewed U.S. military presence in Southeast Asia designed to counter China.
Duterte has decided that the policies of his predecessors, who all sought close relations with Washington, is not in the best interest of the Philippines. Duterte has followed up on his independent foreign policy by inviting China and Russia to establish bases in the Philippines, canceling further U.S.-Philippines military exercises in the region, and calling President Barack Obama a «son of a whore».
Durtete also told the United States, «Do not treat us like a doormat because you’ll be… We aren’t ‘little brown brothers of America».