Today, global dominant media is often exploited as a tool of coercive diplomacy. The recent Time commentary on the Philippines president is a case in point. The real story is behind the story.
In early May, Time magazine released the feature story, “The Strongmen Era,” by Ian Bremmer, the venerable president of Eurasia Group. The cover featured the photos of Russian President Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Urban, Turkey’s President Erdogan, and Philippines President Duterte. It was a promotional piece for Bremmer’s new book on globalization. As Duterte reject the term “strongman,” Bremmer penned a new attack.
Bremmer’s arguments are neither original nor deep. What makes them different is that the Eurasia Group is very close – too close, say critics – to U.S. economic, political and intelligence power, including the famed military-industrial complex, along with his role as Time’s editor-at-large and global affairs columnist.
Flawed data, compromised sources
In his sequel on Duterte, Bremmer relied largely on just a single report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which he considers “highly credible.” Yet, the HRW has lost much of its reputation. Billionaire speculator George Soros has had leverage over HRW since the ‘80s. In 2010 Soros cemented the ties with a 10-year $100 million HRW donation. Since then, HRW’s record has been tarnished by allegations of partisanship and bias, which climaxed in the 2014 open letter by Nobel Peace Laureates criticizing HRW for intimate ties with the US government.
Moreover, the head of HRW’s Asia Division Phelim Kine continues to inflate data in reporting on the Philippines anti-drugs campaign; and Bremmer uses this flawed data without slightest source criticism. Relying on HRW, Bremmer blames Duterte for “sending anyone to jail for criticizing him,” yet the examples he comes up with are Senator Leila de Lima and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In reality, de Lima is imprisoned for receiving substantial payola money from drug lords, abusing public office and paying off confidants, while serving as Justice Secretary in the former Aquino administration. In turn, Sereno, another Aquino appointee, got her office, thanks to partisan politics, but not to credentials, and she was ousted after grossly abusing her office.
Finally, Bremmer relies on “international rights organizations” and UN officials that Duterte has tried to “harass and intimidate.” In reality, the Duterte government invited UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard – who has been supported by Soros in the US and the UN – to a public debate, yet Callamard sneaked into Manila for a lecture at the request of Chico Gascon, a veteran Liberal Party leader, who promotes the misguided views that Bremmer takes for divine truths.
Links with the Philippine failed liberals, and Malloch-Brown (Soros)
The common denominator in all these cases is the ongoing meltdown of the Liberal Party (LP), which Washington has relied on in the Philippines since the late 1980s, despite the party’s internal decay. Human rights is the pretext in a geopolitical effort to corner the Duterte government, restore the LP and its special ties with the US.
Bremmer’s Time debacle is the latest in a long series, which began in May 2016, when he warned in the New York Times that “The Philippines Has to Know It Needs the US.” The Philippines needs Chinese infrastructure investment, but “if you deal with China without us… That will be bad for you and your country.”
About the Author
Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized strategist of the multipolar world and the founder of Difference Group. He has served as research director at the India, China and America Institute (USA) and visiting fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see https://www.differencegroup.net/
The original version was released by The Manila Times on May 21, 2018.