Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte's threat to "declare war" on Canada within a week if it doesn't clean up its act and remove tons of trash shipped to Manila is most likely just garbage.
While it's true the two nations have strained ties, Duterte's erratic rants and incendiary remarks have become his calling card. He often prefaces his remarks with "mother f--ker," boasts about killing people in his teens and says things like wanting to eat a terrorist's liver.
On Tuesday, the trash-talking leader demanded Canada come get tons of trash that was wrongly sent to the Philippines in 2013 and 2014. He warned that if Canada doesn't get its ducks in a row, he will "declare war against them."
"I will not allow that kind of s--t," Duterte said at a press conference on Tuesday.
While it's highly unlikely he'll take any sort of drastic measure, if war were to break out, a comparison of military might seems to indicate Canada would crush its competition.
According to a 2019 comparison of military power, Canada ranks 21 out of 137 countries while the Philippines comes in at a distant 64.
Though the Asian nation dominates in total military personnel, 305,000 compared to Canada's 94,000, Ottawa easily beats Manila in purchasing power and aircraft, 384 to 171.
Canada has 53 fighters/inceptors, 53 attack aircraft, 39 transports, 138 trainers, 148 helicopters, 1,467 serviceable airports, 2,000 armored fighting vehicles, 160 towed artillery, 4 submarines, 12 frigates, 20 patrol craft and 10 major ports and terminals.
The Philippines clocks in at 0 fighters, 20 attack aircraft, 22 transports, 24 trainers, 97 helicopters, 247 serviceable airports, 530 armored fighting vehicles, 286 towed artillery, 0 submarines, 3 frigates, 10 naval corvettes or ocean-going surface warships, 39 patrol craft and has 6 major ports and terminals.
Canada also has powerful alliances around the world including England, Australia and France. Duterte could probably sway Saudi Arabia, who have had fraught diplomatic relations with the Canadians since last year, and maybe President Trump.
Trump has routinely talked trash about Canadians, referring to them as trade cheaters. He's also taken shots at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him "very dishonest and weak." He's also called out Trudeau over his left-leaning policies on illegal drugs.
On the other hand, Trump has praised Duterte and said he had a "great relationship" with him. The vibe seemed to be mutual. Duterte has often praised Trump and called him a "good friend."
Duterte raised the garbage issue in a televised meeting with local officials late Tuesday after visiting earthquake-hit Pampanga province, north of Manila.
“I want a boat prepared. I’ll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that thing out or I will set sail to Canada and pour their garbage there,” Duterte said, adding he would ask Canadian officials to “prepare a grand reception.”
“Celebrate because your garbage is coming home,” he said. “Eat it if you want to.”
On Wednesday, Canada's Embassy in the Philippines released a slightly more reasoned response, saying: "A joint technical working group, consisting of officials from both countries, is examining the full spectrum of issues related to the removal of the waste with a view to a timely resolution" and said that Canada is committed to making sure the heaps of trash is "processed in an environmentally responsible way."