When Justin Trudeau arrived in Manila not only was he greeted as a rockstar, but also as a celebrity politician. It’s hard to determine a celebrity politician nowadays. It may have to do with youth, inexperience, or just being in the right place at the right time. He was swarmed with shrieks as many girls couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It sure must’ve felt like the red carpet with bright lights as Trudeau’s signature smile swooned the Filipino population to their knees.
One must wonder what Duterte was thinking about as he witnessed his beloved people throwing themselves to Mr. Trudeau. Even as Trudeau was mobbed he was pleased with the attention. “I’m pleased Canada is getting a little more attention because it gives us an opportunity to highlight important issues that are more important to us,” he stated. Mr. Duterte was also pleased; he mentioned his desire to mimic Canada’s gender-equal Cabinet following the example set by Justin Trudeau.
Duterte is seeking self-sacrificing individuals to fill his Cabinet to reinforce his philosophy to rid corruption and narcotics in the Philippines. He indicated that there are no available funds for drug treatments and therefore the policy of death to drug addicts is a viable solution to the country’s drug pandemic. The heavily medicated President is now convinced that many of the mayors and judges are the culprits for embezzling drug funds to their coiffures.
The mayors of Filipino cities and towns must now creep on their toes as Duterte’s mood swings continue to change systematically. He sternly warned, “I might go down in history as the butcher, it’s up to you.” He had the mitigated audacity to threaten the mayors by mentioning he would kill them if they failed to show up at his meeting.
Can you imagine if you’re an honest and noble mayor of a city in the Philippines? Elected by the people. Loved by the people. For the people. Duterte’s accusations signify that whether you’re a crook or honest matters very little in the grand scheme of Duterte’s plans.
So now Duterte wants to play God upon the souls of his people and soil of his nation? He has indicated that he possesses a “narco-list” that includes the names of congressmen, police officials, judges, and local chief executives. How was the intelligence gathered and who was behind the dirty spy work to comprise this list? If Duterte doesn’t have the intelligence to find terrorists then how can he derive a death list of government officials? Is he simply accusing officials of being drug addicts? Or is he about to plant drugs upon high-powered individuals threatening his presidency?
His death list concludes with an ultimatum: officials on the “narco-list” must either resign and stop engaging in drug trade or face death. I doubt it very much that these government officials will resign; indirectly admitting that they’re involved in the trafficking of narcotics and getting subsequently killed is surely something they don’t desire.
I have a sneaking suspicion that when Trudeau arrived in Manila there was a tinge of jealousy on the part of the heavily medicated Duterte. After all, Duterte did admit that he had several girlfriends. With Trudeau receiving admiration from all these fans, one must speculate that Duterte’s admiring authority was diminished due to the Canadian figure’s presence.
If there was a phone conversation between Duterte and Trudeau on the issue of the two abducted Canadians it may have followed along these lines:
Trudeau: Hi Duterte, you know the Canadian position of not paying terrorists ransoms right? Can you tell me if they’re doing ok? Are they eating well? Are they properly being taken care of? Are you gonna’ help us Canadians to get them out?
Duterte: God my head hurts today. Are you sure about your position? I mean don’t worry, I’ll get them out, I’ll find em’, I’ll bring em’ home. I promise you. But your position is your position.
Trudeau: That is the Canadian position Mr. Duterte.
*Laughter from both*
Duterte: When I talked to the Norwegians they made a really good proposition to free their Norwegian hostage.
Trudeau: We’re not like the Norwegians. I know they want to pay you and the extremists.
Duterte: Trust me the Norwegians aren’t paying a dime. I’ve gotta’ go, my head is pounding. Bye Justin.
Here’s a history lesson: Crassus was a Roman general and wanted the biggest mast possible to lay siege upon a city he planned to overtake. The most brilliant Athenian engineer at the time told Crassus that a smaller mast would actually be more effective, which was true. He pleaded his case to Crassus instead of just building the smaller mast and delivering it to Crassus. He made it a point to somehow ridicule Crassus even though his intentions were good, Crassus simply let him finish, then stripped him and killed him in front of his soldiers. Before he killed him he told the engineer, "Actions speak louder than words." He should've delivered the smaller mast instead of arguing with Crassus; it would’ve been a win-win for both sides.
For contrast one must examine Michelangelo. Upon completion of one his sculptures, an Italian general came to inspect his creation. He told Michelangelo that the nose seemed a bit too big. Without the general noticing, Michelangelo grabbed some dust and his mallet, and proceeded to gently tap the nose letting dust trickle from his hand without actually altering the appearance of the nose in the slightest bit. The general was extremely happy with the nose and the appearance of the sculpture. Rather than arguing his case, Michelangelo took action to please his superiors. Trudeau shouldn't have opened his mouth with countless excuses about Canada's position regarding extremists, he should've taken action and privately consulted Duterte that the Canadians must be freed and the repercussions if they die. As Canadian citizens, all we would see in the headlines would read, "Two Canadians Freed", rather than headlines of Trudeau's excuses. For Trudeau to get updates of the two Canadians from Duterte was frivolous; Trudeau didn't have to say a word to the media, but he tragically did rather than taking action to get the job done. The position he took undermines Canadian values and shows national weakness. He should've acted without saying a single word to the media.
The first and golden rule of geopolitics is to know who you’re dealing with inside and out. Know their position, know their tendencies, anticipate their moves, and counter it not only with the leverage of strength but with a timely attack that sets the tone of who’s in control. So much for gender equality.