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Rodrigo Duterte Throws a Grenade in Washington’s China Strategy
Something of this history is captured in an epithet used by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, which cost him a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama at a summit of Asian leaders in Laos this week: putang ina in Tagalog son of a bitch, or more literally son of a whore. He was furious at suggestions that Mr. Obama would bring up his war on drugs, in which hundreds of dealers and users have been slain by police and vigilantes, as a human-rights violation.
This kind of language is par for the course for Mr. Duterte, who s famous at home even loved for his expletive-laden bluntness. He tossed the same insult at the pope.
Only the timing came as a surprise. It might seem foolhardy to offend your No. 1 protector and arms supplier when, as an archipelagic nation with a barely credible navy, Chinese armadas are pressing in.