The Beltway Brahmins have been telling us for five years now that Assad has to go, and he's still there. Furthermore, there's every possibility that he'll still be there five years hence. The failure to affect regime change in Syria, however, isn't preventing the think-tankers and opinion makers in Washington from pencilling in the next candidate for regime change.
This time around it's President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines who's gone rogue. In the four months since his election he's been making all sorts of “anti-American” pronouncements, and America's ruling class has noticed. Check out the scolding tone in this Washington Post missive today; “…Duterte discovered this week that his actions have consequences.”
Yup! Filipinos, from the lowliest expat maid to the President himself, occasionally need to be reminded of their place, don't they?
And here's Foreign Affairs chiming in with a polemic about Duterte's defiance. Different venue, same condescending tone.
And don't miss The Limits of Duterte's Anti-Americanism, on view at The Atlantic.
My favorite is the Foreign Policy hit job titled President Duterte's Crazy Drug War Is Just The Beginning. The sub-head tells the tale; the antics of this mad-man and his crazy shenanigans are an attack on the very foundations of democracy, don't you know! When you read that kind of rhetoric you know that calls for a humanitarian intervention to save the people of the Philippines won't be long in coming.
When those leading mouth-pieces for America's policymakers are singing the same song in unison within a day or two of one another, you know there's more at work than coincidence. Luckily, the Beltway Big-boys still have the Filipino military establishment in their pockets.
All Duterte has is a 74% approval rating from his people.
Alas, that won't be nearly enough…