One of the complaints towards the end of the Obama administration was how badly he had screwed up our foreign policy. The country suffered through humiliating apology tours, cuddling up to regimes like Cuba that are now assaulting our diplomats, chaos in the Middle East, and picking unnecessary fights with certain allies.
One of those unnecessary fights with with the Rodrigo Duterte government in the Phillipines. At a time when tensions are high in the South China Sea region, the US pointlessly alienated an ally in the talks between the various countries who are contesting China’s land grabs. These attacks on Duterte gained nothing other than allowing the Obama administration a chance to engage in some moral preening.
Fortunately, Trump has managed to turn this around, largely just by not constantly attacking Duterte and his war on drugs:
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte voiced rare praise for the United States on Thursday, calling it an important security ally, and dismissing historic grievances and his slew of past tirades against Washington as “water under the bridge”.
Since Donald Trump replaced Obama as president, Duterte’s attacks on the United States have decreased, though he vowed never to go there and last week passed up the opportunity to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Duterte sprang a surprise last month with a warm reception for visiting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, describing himself as a “humble friend” of the United States.
Some commentators have attributed his softer tone to the Trump administration refraining from criticism of Duterte’s signature war on drugs.