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Duterte wants US special forces out: Are US-Philippines ties unraveling?

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Between rude comments, violent drug crackdowns, and a slew of anti-US rhetoric, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been keeping the United States on its toes since his election in May.

On Monday, Mr. Duterte called for US special forces to leave the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, where the US military has maintained a presence since 2002. The demand is the latest move by the president to raise questions about the stability of the Philippine-US relationship uncertain.

Duterte, while highly popular in his own country, has been a controversial figure abroad. As The Christian Science Monitor previously reported, Duterte received a huge electoral mandate to crack down on the drug trade in the country, which has resulted in a massive decrease in drug trafficking. This decrease, however, came at the price of more than 2,000 lives, including a large number of extrajudicial killings. Despite the brutality of his anti-drug policies, Duterte remains extremely popular through his image as a “strongman” leader willing to do whatever it takes to bring security to the country. – READ MORE

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