05 August 2016

Varieties of the Drug War: The Duterte Model and the USA


Duterte wishes to implement a police state. Interestingly a War on Drugs is a vehicle he is employing to bring this about. Under the pretense of cleaning up society, he's actually subjugating it and expanding his power.

The War on Drugs in the Philippines and the USA is largely a farce. Socially it has failed and the magnitude of the failure cannot be overstated. However it has filled the coffers of bureaucracies and empowered the state.

Duterte is different in his employment of thugs and paramilitaries. That day is coming here. We're not quite there but it won't be long before privatised police and community leaders employ the same.

The Drug War is phony in this country. It is an attempt at management, not a genuine war of eradication. It is a moneymaker but when rival powers begin to seriously challenge local government and police authority and the paralysed Federal Government is unwilling or unable to intercede, you can count on local powers turning to extra-legal means. I believe a case can be made that is already happening in some locales.

The US wishes to keep the Philippines on board with the 'Pivot to Asia'. The US wants to keep Manila in its sphere and wants access to resources and the staging of bases. If that means a police state for the Philippines in order to effect this reality the US is happy to fund it. A phony war on drugs and counter-terrorism in the end does little more than terrorise the local population and keeps it in line. The US has a long record of funding death squads and in many cases arming and training them.

The Philippines drove the US out in the late 1980s and 1990s but it would seem Washington has found a way back in and has returned to its old tricks.

The hypocrisy cannot be overstated. While Washington decries human rights violations when it's in its interest to do so, in the Philippines the US is happy to fund repression and state violence. Figures like Erdogan, Maduro, Putin and others know this and thus hold the US and especially figures like John Kerry in contempt.


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