*Update – Earlier we reported that Obama was considering cancelling his meeting scheduled for tomorrow with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after being called a “son of a bitch.” Well, the cancellation is now official.
.@POTUS will no longer be meeting with Philippines President Duterte in Laos, White House says
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) September 5, 2016
After calling President Obama a “son of a bitch,” both Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Obama have called into question whether a meeting between the two will go ahead as planned for tomorrow. Obama expressed doubts the two could have “constructive, productive conversations” while Duterte responded to questions on whether the meeting would go ahead as planned by simply saying “Maybe, if I feel good.”
Last week the White House announced that Obama would meet with Duterte on Tuesday to discuss tensions in the South China Sea, among other issues. The meeting would be the first between the world leaders since Duterte took office in June. That said, Obama apparently now has questioned whether sitting down with someone who recently called him a “son of a bitch” would be “productive.” In comments from the G-20 summit in China, Obama said that before having a meeting he likes to make sure “it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.” Per Reuters:
“Obviously the Filipino people are some of our closest friends and allies and the Philippines is a treaty ally of ours. But I always want to make sure that if I’m having a meeting that it’s actually productive and we’re getting something done.”
“I’m going to make an assessment … What is certainly true is that the issues of how we approach fighting crime and drug trafficking is a serious one for all of us, and we’ve got to do it the right way.”
For his part, Duterte has made clear that he will not be lectured by Obama about the war on drugs in the Philippines, noting “it is rude.” Despite objections from the Obama administration, Duterte has vowed to continue his brutal crackdown on drug manufacturers that has already led to the deaths of about 2,400 people since he became president two months ago.
“Plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets. Until the (last) drug manufacturer is killed we will continue.”
“I am a president of a sovereign state and we have long ceased to be a colony.”
“Who is he to confront me? As a matter of fact, America has one too many to answer for. Everybody has a terrible record of extrajudicial killings.”
Of course, we can understand the conflict between the two. Duterte’s war on drugs comes just as President Obama (aka the “Cummuter-in-Chief”) rushes to commute the sentences of 100’s of convicted felons serving time for drug-related offenses in the U.S.. Per Pardon Power, Obama has already commuted more sentences in a single year than any president since at least 1885 and he still has several months left. Call it a fundamental difference on opinion on how to fight the war on drugs.
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