When Allies Get Ugly

FILE - In this Monday, May 9, 2016 file photo, front-running presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gestures at photographers to move back prior to voting in a polling precinct at Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School at Matina district, his hometown in Davao city in southern Philippines. The U.S. has upset China by sending on Wednesday, May 11, a destroyer close to the largest man-made island in disputed South China Sea waters. Beijing responded by saying it will step up its own patrols. The likely election of Duterte in the new Philippines could undermine his predecessor’s policy that was unusually hostile to Beijing and relied on U.S. military backing. Beijing sees an opening even as it braces for a possibly unfavorable ruling from a U.N. tribunal, calling the process biased. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

So the new president of the Philippines called President Obama a “son of a wh—” (rhymes with snore). With an ally like this, you might say America doesn’t need enemies. But Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (above) is still an ally of the US.

And in this dangerous world, allies are necessary.

So Barack Obama showed his maturity by brushing off the insult. He canceled a forthcoming meeting with Duterte but did not dignify the man’s unprovoked slur with a response.

President Obama put the security of America ahead of his personal pride, recognizing the importance of the threats brewing in the South China Sea, where the Chinese are alarmingly flexing their muscles.

The alliance with the Philippines gives the US a strategic base in the region, and this is vital to protecting American interests. So while the two leaders may have their differences on issues like human rights, the national security interests of their countries are a lot more important.

That’s the way it is with a lot of US alliances around the world. We might not like – or even approve of – the regimes involved, but we believe their support is crucial.

Kim-Jong-un-and-snoozingI’m sure I don’t have to remind you of the numerous situations threatening to plunge civilization into unimaginable chaos. The nightmare in Syria goes on and on… Russia’s Putin is invading some neighbors and threatening others in an undisguised campaign to rebuild the Soviet empire…  North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is firing missiles in Japan’s direction and threatening a nuclear attack on America…

And, of course, there’s ISIS.trump

Imagine someone else in the White House at a time like this, someone quick to anger, someone prone to personal pique, someone who shoots from the hip.

Imagine someone with the attention span and self control of a two-year-old.

Imagine Donald Trump. Scary, isn’t it?

More on Duterte’s insult