Drug war forced Philippines leader to divert attention from more serious threats and the allies he needed to fight them

NY Times:

As Duterte Focused on Drug War, He Ignored Rise of ISIS

When Islamist rebels threatened to burn down the Philippine city of Marawi, President Rodrigo Duterte said, “Go ahead, do it.” Nearly six months later, hundreds of militants stormed the city.
Duarte turned his back on the US as an ally in the fight against radical Islamists because of Obama's moralizing over the drug war.  Duarte then tried to pivot to China, but China has been of little to help in dealing with the serious problem of a radical Islamist insurgency.  Now Duarte is willing to accept the help if US special ops troops in the fight with the ISIS offshoot.

This current battle is consistent with ISIS tactics and strategy especially when its own forces are under attack.  It usually attacks in a different direction.  ISIS probably sensed Duarte's vulnerability because of his laser focus on the drug war.  Both are probably now seen as existential threats.  Leaders have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time if their country is to survive.


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