Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected President of the Philippines, is an unconventional leader, to say the least.
Known as ‘The Punisher’, due to his merciless stance on crime, he has been particularly aggressive in dealing with the drug problem in the Philippines, killing any alleged drug dealer or user in the country.
Latest figures show that since Duterte has come into power, 2400 accused criminals have been killed in police operations.
Recently, he expressed aspirations to kill as many drug addicts as Hitler did jews. This was a comparison that has drawn wide-spread criticism from the international community, particularly from the Israeli Knesset.
His actions, arguably unethical, have caused alarm among the international community.
The extrajudicial killings associated with Duterte have prompted President Obama to raise concerns about Duterte’s violation of human rights. Duterte responded to these criticisms rather crudely, calling President Obama a ‘son of a b*tch’, subsequently stating that the US president could ‘go to hell’.
The European Union has also received its fair share of insults after expressing similar concerns;
Duterte said that the organisation had ‘better choose purgatory, hell [is] filled up’.
He seems to verbally attack anyone who criticised his controversial war on drugs, including the United Nations, which he described as ‘very stupid’.
Duterte has also lashed out at China, explicitly asserting that it is the country where the most illegal drugs in the Philippines originated from.
Strangely, however, China did not have the same disapproving response to him as the Western countries did. Instead, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang commended the Filipino president on his anti-drug war, further suggesting that China would work with Duterte to contribute to the campaign.
China’s support for his war against drugs, coupled with the criticism of the US, one of Philippines’ oldest allies, caused a shift in Duterte’s foreign policy.
He recently stated that he would ‘break up with America eventually’, and instead forge alliances with China and Russia.
The reckless leader could be bringing more tension into international politics. This is on top of the thousands of deaths he has already caused in his own country.
Is this war against drugs really worth the widespread and deeply felt consequences?