As the relationship between the United States and the Philippines continues to fray, Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte is turning to Moscow for support. And the Russians, who’ve just pledged to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons, seem eager to seize the opportunity to draw a longtime ally of the U.S. deeper into its sphere of influence. But rather than breaking bread, the Russians have opted instead to break bricks. Piles of them.
On Jan. 6, during a “goodwill visit” to the Philippines, a group of Russian Marines put on a little performance for their Filipino counterparts that looked like a scene straight out of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1988 cinematic masterpiece, “Bloodsport.” The demonstration included a sequence of sweet karate stunts, like using a sledgehammer to smash bricks placed on a man’s abdomen and punching through wooden boards in quick succession.
The performance appears to have been choreographed to appeal to Duterte’s appetite for violence. Also known as“Duterte Harry,” the Filipino president, who assumed office in June 2016, has achieved international notoriety since launching a bloody war on drugs that, according to Al Jazeera, has claimed around 6,000 lives. In May, when Duterte was still mayor of Davao City, a resident told reporters that if her city’s mayor was ever elected president “blood [would] flow like a river,” and it certainly has.
Earlier this week, Rear Adm. Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet, said that Russia wanted to hold maritime exercises with the Philippines as part of an effort to combat terrorism and piracy.
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.