• The McLaughlin Group

Tom Rogan: At China's behest, Rodrigo Duterte turns his navy into a beach patrol

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte likes to present himself as the world's ultimate strongman, a leader who doesn't simply defeat his opponents but publicly humiliates them. The narrative is an inversion of reality.

When it comes to communist China, the greatest opponent facing the Philippines, Duterte is a happy lapdog. Evincing as much, Duterte's defense secretary announced on Tuesday that the navy of the Philippines will no longer participate in any South China Sea military exercises outside its 12-mile sovereign maritime borders. Delfin Lorenzana justified the decision by saying that "if one country’s action is considered belligerent by another, tension will normally rise."

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