Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Duterte's "foul" words and foreign aid don't mix in a logical debate on IMPORTANT issues
A lot has been said about our country's foreign relations under the Duterte administration, that the president --because of his foul mouth -- has caused our relations with other countries to deteriorate.
Statements like these show a lack of understanding how foreign relations work. Let me do my part in helping lessen the stupidity in this world by addressing this issue head-on.
Mr. Duterte has cursed at, among other personalities and entities, US President Barack Obama and the European Union. This has caused some who have a very pedestrian view of foreign relations to believe that irreparable damage has been inflicted upon Philippine ties with the United States and the EU.
Let me enlighten you folks.
Mr. Duterte's words are clear as day: he has badmouthed Obama and the EU for their perceived interference with the country's domestic affairs. Every sovereign state has the inalienable right to its own domestic affairs, free from the intervention of external actors. And while Mr. Duterte's choice of words leave much to be desired ---it is not the standard diplomatic language, to say the least--- the message is familiar to foreign states and other external entities.
In fact, Mr. Duterte's foul words are more of a domestic concern than an international issue. The international community may have been scandalized by it ---they're not used to seeing the leader of a poor state curse a superpower like the United States--- but Duterte's words do not rise to the level where states will cut off ties with the Philippines.
Strategic interests of states are not embedded interchangeably with the personage of their leaders; ties between states are not cut off because of questionable words used by their leaders in expressing legitimate interests of states.
Does this uncouth behavior adversely affect foreign aid to the Philippines?
Before I answer that question, people must be disabused of the notion that foreign aid is free. It is not. States still have to pay for it. Or, in some cases, what people call "aid" is actually some form of compensation for other transactions ---such as trade concessions, purchases (technology, military hardware, etc.)--- between states.
Think about it: if aid was freely given without attachments, then countries in similar economic conditions would have received the same amount of aid from donor countries.
Thus, when talking about aid, one must bear in mind that it is reflective of economic transactions between countries, and not the goodwill of the donor state to the receiving state.
Will the EU reduce aid given to the Philippines? Only if Philippines-EU economic transactions are lessened.
Will the US reduce aid given to the Philippines? Only if Philippines-US economic transactions are lessened.
Even if our economic transactions with the US and the EU are lessened, other countries are expected to pick up the slack unless our negotiators show a marked degree of incompetence in the bilateral or multilateral negotiations.
Has Mr. Duterte's words lessened the willingness of foreign countries to enter into economic transactions with the Philippines? THIS IS A STUPID QUESTION. These transactions are economic, therefore are a function of the country's economy. The political element of these economic transactions are very negligible. And as far as can be seen from the news, there haven't been any major economic transaction that has been adversely affected by Mr. Duterte's diplomacy.
Have Mr. Duterte's words created negative repercussions on the economy? That is what so-called experts want the ignorant to believe; that the falling peso is Mr. Duterte's fault because this is what some politicized "news" writers wrote. More reliable and apolitical sources have already shown that the Philippine Peso isn't necessarily falling, the US dollar is simply getting stronger.
To the more reasonable segment of Philippine society: ask yourself whether your life is getting better or worse, then form your own opinion of Mr. Duterte.
(Nasaan na ba yung amerikana ko? Para mag-mukhang credible ako. Makapag-praktis na nga rin ng konyo English para may maniwala sa akin)
Van Ybiernas as posted on Facebook.