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Eli Lake

The Philippines Just Blew Up Obama's Asia Pivot

President Duterte announced a "separation" from the U.S. It's a bad call, but understandable.
President Duterte gets a bit closer to China.

President Duterte gets a bit closer to China.

Photographer: Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images

Does anyone remember President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia? The plan was to focus diplomatic and military assets in East Asia to contain a rising China. It was one of the reasons Obama said he was shrinking the American footprint in the Middle East.

Well, the pivot is failing. On Thursday, the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, announced to an audience at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing a "separation" with the U.S. "America has lost now,” he said. "And maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way."