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20 October 2016

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Pundita

In your first reply you told me the CCP wiped them out. In your second reply you told me they didn't. Make up your mind.

In your second reply you also told me I was wrong to claim that Duterte had explicitly named China as the chief culprit. I didn't make the claim; Duterte did, and I sourced his statements. Yet you attributed to me a statement I did not make -- when the evidence of who actually made the statement was staring you in the face.

But then I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

As I was saying, my speculation is that Duterte sharply pivoted toward China because he wanted Xi's help in shutting down Chinese drug gangs in the Philippines and believed Xi had the ability to do this. And I think he's so desperate for the help he's even willing to sacrifice Scarborough Shoal and dynamite his country's relationship with the USA.

Now we can keep this up for the rest of the year -- with you starting diversions and me coming back with the same point, or until Col. Lang 86's us both.

However, in light of recent events -- Duterte walking back a little on 'separation' from the USA (Oct 22) and the US walking back a little on criticism of Duterte's drug war (Oct 24) -- it's possible someone in the Obama administration suddenly put two and two together and asked Duterte, 'What do you really need by way of help from us?'

https://www.rt.com/news/363757-duterte-sever-ties-washington/
https://www.rt.com/news/363866-russel-philippines-us-ties/

That's a lot to hope for at this late stage, but on the plus side I don't think any of this is personal with Duterte -- or rather I'd say he's much too desperate to put personal considerations above the drugs issue. He just wants those gangs shut down. If the USA can take a serious whack at it, fine. Ditto China. Or both; many hands make light work.

Pundita

TTG, I can't find your comment to the effect that you found the discussion among various commenters on this thread interesting. But to reply to a comment that seems to have vanished -- well, you started the ball rolling, which is why I thanked you earlier. My brain has appreciated a break from chewing over country situations in the Middle East.

I hope the following excerpts from a news report today will interest you and others who've been reading this Asia Pivot thread. My comments follow the excerpts.

"Protocol on drugs with China a big boost in Philippines war on illicit substance
Gulf News
October 26, 2016

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/philippines/protocol-on-drugs-with-china-a-big-boost-in-philippines-war-on-illicit-substance-1.1917228

Manila: The Philippines top anti-drugs executive said President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent agreement with China on curbing illicit substances will go a long way in boosting the government’s drive against the menace.

According to Director General Isidro Lapena of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Protocol on Cooperation on Drugs, which he signed recently with Hu Minglang, Director General of China’s Narcotics Control Bureau, will greatly enhance the government’s bilateral capability to go after drug suspects.

The protocol was signed last October 20, 2016, during President Duterte’s visit to Beijing.

“Under the protocol, which will be effective for five years, the two countries agreed to establish and maintain cooperation on sharing information on drug crimes. Such information includes an updated list and complete profile of drug suspects and status of arrested drug personalities who are citizens of each country,” Lapena said.

[...]

Both countries likewise agreed to set up mechanisms against movement of illicit drugs across their respective borders and establish a mechanism for joint investigation on special cases.

[...]

Last July, several days after his inauguration as the new Philippine President, Duterte accused China of contributing to the country’s problem on illegal drugs.

He said that his basis for making this statement is that a considerable number of the unclaimed fatalities in the government’s drive against drugs are Chinese.

“Most of the people that they send [into] the Philippines do drugs. And these include those who are already in prison,” Duterte said.

[...] "

********

Bingo. Yet I doubt the Filipino military got their first indication that way; this on the supposition the U.S. would have shared intelligence with them on Chinese drug gang activities in the Philippines, which has been known to the US since at least as early as 2012.

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/41837/chinese-syndicates-behind-drug-trade-in-philippines-says-us

However, a large number of druggies and penny-ante drug dealers dumped on a country certainly suggests that drug-dealing networks are deliberately being created in the country.

In any case I hope the U.S. military has been exerting itself since Duterte's volte face to learn just how many other countries might display the same pattern of, uh, Druggie Dumping as is evident in the Philippines.

This, on the somewhat uncertain premise that the military doesn't already know. If they already know and are studiously looking the other way, or using drug dealers to provide them with intel on terrorist activity -- I'd say that's being too clever by half, if Beijing has been using drug networks to destabilize American friendlies. Of course the information in the Gulf News report isn't hard evidence that this is what Beijing has been doing, but I find it suggestive evidence.

It's just occurred to me that this Druggie Dumping is reminiscent of a DDoS attack on a computer network or website. So if the PLA is indeed using Druggie Dumping to destabilize a country, they're operating on the same principle as a DDoS. I'll be darned.

Pundita

Oops. Well I just found your comment. [chuckling]

Pundita

US wants to continue campaign against militants in Philippines
By Raul Dancel - Philippines Correspondent In Manila
Octobere 26, 2016
AFP via Straits Times

http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/us-wants-to-continue-campaign-against-militants-in-philippines

MANILA • The United States wants to remain involved in the campaign to quell militancy in the southern Philippines, its envoy to Manila said after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kick out US forces.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said yesterday that the security threat in the conflict-plagued region is "very serious", warning that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is among a number of foreign militant organisations trying to increase its involvement there.

"We've helped the Philippines as it has reduced the threat over time," he told ABS-CBN television.

"But we are concerned obviously about any new intrusion of ISIS or any other group that wants to take advantage of open space in the south of the Philippines. So we want to continue doing that."

The US deployed a rotating force of about 600 troops to Mindanao from 2002 to 2014. The presence was scaled down after the US deemed the militants had "largely devolved into disorganised groups resorting to criminal undertakings", according to a US statement in 2014.

Militant attacks spiked after that, most notably with the home-grown Abu Sayyaf group abducting foreigners and locals to extort ransoms.

Mr Goldberg warned that foreign militant groups such as Jemaah Islamiah are in Mindanao. "We are not just dealing with Abu Sayyaf but groups from the region like Jemaah Islamiah," he said. "We see increasing efforts from ISIS to become involved."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

[END REPORT]

Pundita

Tidewater, Thanks returned for following the discussion and contributing to it. Regarding your question, it doesn't really apply to my points because I've been thinking in purely military terms about the China-Philippines situation.

I had proposed that as part of its response to the American "Asia Pivot" China has been using drug gangs to destabilize the Philippines, and specifically because of the country's relationship with America. This way of looking at the situation moots your concern about whether the CCP can control drug gangs. The party wouldn't be directly controlling the drugs or any of the gangs, China's military would. In short, I was thinking in terms of a weaker state using asymmetrical warfare against a more powerful one.

However, since this morning, when I read an AFP report I quoted in an earlier comment, I now think my idea was too fancy. From the report, China's government seems to have simply 'dumped' thousands of their country's drug addicts and drug dealers into the Philippines -- and probably as part of Xi Jinping's famous anti-corruption drive.

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/philippines/protocol-on-drugs-with-china-a-big-boost-in-philippines-war-on-illicit-substance-1.1917228

But whether it was a Druggie Dump or, as I'd originally envisioned, a covert military operation with PLA officers posing as drug dealers, it would work out to the same difference: the Philippines would be destabilized. This would throw a monkey wrench into Obama's perceived attempt to play Lord Nelson in the South and East China seas.

If the White House would say that wasn't what they intended to convey -- for decades China's leaders watched the U.S.-led NATO coalition expand right up to Russia's European border, and all the while telling Moscow they wouldn't do that.

Then Americans announced an Asia Pivot. This sounded to China's generals like Washington was trying to gin up a Southeast/South Asian version of NATO, to expand right up to China's shores.

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