As inroads are being made in the fight against ISIS on their home turf, it seems that the Trump administration will be tackling the terrorist group’s presence in other areas of the world as well.
News has emerged that the Pentagon has been considering a plan that allows America to conduct airstrikes on ISIS in the Philippines, one of our allies, which has lost territory to the radical Muslim group and has been fighting to keep them at bay, according to NBC News.
If the plan is approved, the US military would be able to conduct airstrikes against ISIS targets in the Philippines, as well as help the Philippine forces that have been battling ISIS on the country’s southern islands for months now.
This announcement has come after the meeting yesterday between the Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in which the former described himself as “a humble friend” of the United States. The meeting was mainly to discuss the nation’s struggle to contain ISIS forces in the nation. “I am your humble friend in Southeast Asia,” Duterte said, as reported by NBC News.
This is in stark contrast from Duterte’s opinion of our previous administration, whom he had little respect for. As a candid, populist politician with many similarities to Trump, it seems that the relationship between our two nations has begun to change for the better.
Among other things, Tillerson said the US was providing the Philippines with “intelligence capabilities” to fight against ISIS, including some Cessna light aircraft and some UAVs (drones) to help gather information against ISIS.
Tillerson would say that “We’re providing them some training and some guidance in terms of how to deal with an enemy that fights in wars that are not like most people have ever had to deal with.”
Although many have criticized the Philippine leader, with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch having linked Duterte to more than 1,400 extra-judicial killings of drug dealers and criminals while in office, he has denied his role in them. However, he has expressed some support for them because of the extremely and out-of-hand drug problem facing his country.
Tillerson would comment on this as well, saying “I see no conflict at all in our helping them with that situation and our views of other human rights concerns we have concerning how they carry out their counter-narcotic activities.”
Secretary of State Tillerson is working with Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte to root out ISIS in the Philippines. Do you think this cooperation is a good idea?
The US military has been sharing intelligence with the Philippines for years, according to Capt. Jeff Davis who said that it was a “steady state” and that “we have had a consistent CT [counterterror] presence in the Philippines for fifteen years now.”
It is interesting to notice how many liberal and progressive figures in the mainstream media felt that Trump’s personality would lead to diplomatic blunders in international affairs. Yet America is strengthening ties with some of our closest allies instead to get rid of the international menace that ISIS has become.
As America under Trump spearheads efforts against ISIS, we will continue to set an example for other nations to follow.