Part 1 of 2: The Philippines a friend or enemy?
Coming with sanctions and embargoes, can bring Duterte back to his path of being Beijing's little doggy.
1. No matter what the Americans do, in aid delivery or in military assistance, President Duterte is in China’s pocket. I think it will be clearer to ASEAN that being a client state of China does not protect the Pinoys from CCP demands. It’s an opportunity for ASEAN to learn the real nationalistic face of China, when it comes to competing claims in the South China Sea.
2. IMHO, the Pinoys are not an American ally — it is the same as Pakistan; a friend-cum-enemy to the Americans. The Pinoys claim Sabah, so they behave like an enemy to Malaysia.
I understand you dislike Russia quite a lot, but whats wrong with buying some Russian helicopters? These articles don't give any amounts of Mi-17s, but it is unlikely that the order will be larger than the 16 + 32 UH-60/S-70.
3. I don’t dislike the Russians — their missiles and rockets are pretty good and cheap. Plus they are an oil and gas exporter.
(a) As I see it, the wiring of the Mi-17 is so poor, when you turn on a navy ship’s radar, the interference is massive. It’s two Klimov TV3-117VM turboshaft engines are simple to maintain but some of its electronics sub-systems are dated technology when compared to other helicopter engines.
(b) From an objective standpoint, I don’t want a weaker ASEAN that cannot defend itself — buying Russian weapons does that (especially since it encourages more corruption in the local procurement system) — given that China has access to the same weapons, they have developed electronic warfare counter measures to Russian weapons and platforms.
4. Originally, the PAF's Technical Working Group decided that the CH-47F Chinook was the only helicopter that met the PAF's requirements. But this was overturned by the Department of National Defense, which asked the PAF to reconsider its specifications due to political reasons.
(a) Negotiations with Russia's Rosoboronexport commenced in 2018, although issues related to CAATSA was deemed to be an obstacle. According to MaxDefense Philippines, it was the president himself that pushed the PAF to reconsider.
(b) The Mi-17 is actually a medium lift helicopter. I don’t know why the PAF decided to use the Heavy Lift Helicopter Acquisition Project as it means to acquire the Mi-17.
(c) Looks like the Philippines military procurement processes will never be seen as credible. Buying Russian increases the level of corruption in their corrupt system. It is bad for them. Make stupid geo-political decisions, win stupid prices.
Refusing to deliver spareparts of Philippines' existing equipment, like their Bells, Sikorskies and C-130s, will undoubtly result in the cancellation of the new order of 32. It will also make the Philippines regret to buy american products and will be a confirmation for Duterte and his supporters that the US is an unreliable supplier of defence equipment.
5. I think the Pinoys should switch and cancel the VFA, so that when shooting starts, there is no American obligation to help them. Keeping in mind that the Pinoys shot and murdered a Taiwanese fisherman in the South China Sea.
6. I do not want the superpowers to go down a path to war over nothing of value to other countries that use the South China Sea for trade and other purposes. Pinoy inability to enforce EEZ claims is their problem, not ASEAN’s. ASEAN needs to stop loss (and stop standing by the Pinoys).
7. Under Duterte’s reign, we see the Philippines becoming more corrupt and I hold the view that the Americans have to stop loss, in aid and development efforts in a basket case.