Duterte featured in @IanBremmer’s TIME Magazine article on the world’s top “strongmen”


Heads up! A piece published today by TIME Magazine put Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin amongst others. In “What the ‘Tough Guy’ Era Means for Global Politics“, Ian Bremmer writes what comes across as a lament over what could be the end of the moral ascendancy Western liberal democracy had enjoyed over much of the 20th Century. Unlike most of his colleagues in the news media industry, however, Bremmer is not baffled by these developments as evident in his take on Duterte’s rise to power back in 2016…

In the Philippines, a rising tide of violent street crime helped elect Rodrigo Duterte, a former mayor who talked more like a Mob boss than a President, on his promises to wipe out the drug trade with his own brand of justice.

Bremmer’s barely matter-of-fact tone in the way he wrote this does not conceal the bigger message he presents on behalf of his professional community — that Duterte’s win (or any strongman win in democratic elections, for that matter) is a result of a clever campaign that exploits the baser sentiments and frustrations of the electorate. But, see, that is what elections actually are and that is what election campaigns seek to target. It’s just the nature of the democratic beast that Press Freedom Crybabies are launching outrage fads over today.

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What seems to fly over the heads of today’s liberal “activists” is that in much the same way that hierarchical top-down politics of yore was dismantled following the advent of democratic politics which led to, well, a democratisation of power, the Internet and its application in social media had also democratised what was once a top-down hierarchical structure of disseminating information. The shrill cries of an industry claiming to be in “crisis” and on the losing end of an “assault on press freedom” is just an Old Guard resisting the inevitable impact to them of this irreversible change.

This too Bremmer points out in his piece writing how the “communications revolution has also had an impact in wholly democratic countries. On social media and on cable news, success depends on the ability of information providers to maximize engagement…” Indeed, this was something many liberal “thought leaders” actually cheered on in the early days since the advent of social media in the mid-2000s. The ascent to power of former President Barrack Obama in the US and former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III in the Philippines were, in their own times, hailed as triumphs in the use of social media for “social good” (note the presumption of “goodness” in the regimes of such personalities).

It is interesting, therefore, to see these very same liberal cliques and their allies in Western media now decrying the the outcome of this order they once cheered. Suddenly, to them, social media is no longer being used for “social good”. What they do not acknowledge is the fact that the very same social media  management and communication techniques they prescribed to further this “social good” are precisely the same ones used to deliver the outcomes they now demonise.

This is the kind of selective messaging and “activism” that cost the liberals and the traditional journalism and news media industries their credibility. Rather than compete in the new landscape, they have dug their heels in to defend the old structures of their sacred status quo. Those structures are rapidly crumbling as, indeed, Bremmer’s own employer is slowly coming to terms with. There just needs to be a new business model to replace the now obsolete structures that still frame many mainstream news media organisations. Perhaps that new model is yet to be discovered, but it is possible that they may already exist today — right under the mainstream’s and liberals’ noses.

9 Replies to “Duterte featured in @IanBremmer’s TIME Magazine article on the world’s top “strongmen””

  1. After dedicating six months of their cover page on how Trump would start nuclear war with North Korea, now they go after other soft targets on their Liberal Globalist agenda? bravo to Times and all the fake news rags like that, you only need to see their opinion pages to see that Kim Jung-Un’s Sister should be given more credit to the Korean War ending than Trump, but going back to the Old Times, Filipinos still can’t read between the lines of propaganda and outright lies, they still read it because short memory spans, Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect is pretty spot on.

  2. Everyone who wants to compete with Putin for the presidency is either killed or arrested or ‘kalltgestellt’ in an other way. Same with Erdogan in Turkey. So, strongman/strongmen, my ass. That way its very easy to win elections. Same goes for China where there is only just 1/one political party. So pls, give me a break.
    And in the Philippines you dont need a majority (50% + 1) of all the votes to become president.

    1. President Duterte didn’t get 51% plus votes because he was cheated by the LP camp, Comelec and the PCOS. Nobody would ever believe that Mar Roxas can garner 9M plus votes, beating Poe and Binay, except you of course. If the 2016 election was just a one-on-one battle between Duterte and Roxas and no cheating happened, what do you think the result would be? Probably 40M and 6M if the total votes counted was 46M.

      1. Maybe the Philippines can introduce the French system. In round 1/one every contender participates but only the top 2 (after round 1) go to the second round of the presidential elections. And then one of 2 MUST get 50%+1 of all the votes.
        I still wonder why I never heard of cheating during elections in west european countries? Probably its very difficult to get a water tight system in a poor 3rd world country ?

  3. We have a country full of Drug Lords. These Drug Lords are in the government, Police and government officials are in cahoot with drug lords. Leila de Lima, the former Secretary of Justice, under Pnoy Aquino, is in jail for drug dealing. Some of the Barangay Captains, are drug dealers themselves. This was under the watch, of Mar Roxas, who stole the Typhoon Yolanda Funds.

    Criminals are running around like rats in our country. We really need a President, like Pres. Duterte, who understands and speaks the criminal element’s language. Pnoy Aquino, was an imbecile and ineffective President. We need a President, who can deliver; not a President, who just sit and wait , for his subordinates, to deliver the results for him.

    Time Magazine, is trying to rehabilitate, its image as an anti-Trump media. The Philippine social media, composed of Filipino citizen journalists , have a strong impact on changing the mindsets of the Filipino people. Mainstream media has no longer the monopoly of delivering information to people. They have to compete with the social media, composed of Filipino citizen journalists. Mainstream media people are whining and complaining. However, this is the Age of Information Technology. They have to accept the changes, for which information is delivered to people.

  4. It’s not random that we now have a generation of snowflakes, at the same time that “strong men” are demonized and masculinity in men is being discouraged. And just to point out, soft and strong powers have their uses in politics. But what’s up with the propaganda against “strength”? Perhaps they don’t like resistance..

  5. Sometimes in life, you have to take difficult steps and make tough decisions, in order to achieve something extraordinary.

  6. The term “strongman” is used to describe dictators that seems to put President Duterte in a bad light. But if you are going to study the current Philippine scenario especially the illegal drugs problem – strongmen are the very people we need to solve it. So much for kid gloves that BS Aquino employed during his watch, we need men with iron fist to ensure this was curbed or better yet totally eradicated. To place PRRD alongside Russia’s Vladimir Putin is an honor not an insult. We don’t need weaklings!

  7. the question that begs to be answered is



    and that is how a global MOBSTER really operates IanBremmer !

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