Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Galit sa Mundo' by Erick San Juan

"[The damage control] is the latest in a string of flip-flops, walk-backs and backtracks that have come to define Duterte's tenure, leaving Filipino and foreign observers unsure where rhetoric ends and real policy moves begin."
                                                   – The Washington Post, October 21

The above-mentioned excerpt from The Washington Post is just one of the many published reactions from international news organizations that had put our country in the limelight again due to the careless not-so-thought about comments from President Rody Duterte.

Such play of words also created a divided Philippines, those who are for and against the current administration, and recently after the China trip, those who are for and against China and the US.

Since the campaign period people in the Duterte’s loop were saying that it is his style of speaking with several use of bad words and name-calling against people. Maybe the DU30 is still in the transition period from being just a mayor of a provincial city to the highest position of the land. He forgot to leave in Davao City his attitude where he can say bad words and be very brutally frank to people without having second thoughts. Of course the effect of such manners, now that he is the president is very different, not just national but worldwide.

He had to internalize the importance of being the leader of a nation and act like one. Being brave and patriotic for the good of one’s country are not the issues, it is how he treats leaders of other countries or organizations. DU30’s ways can be classified as somehow barbaric, we are now living in a world of civilized people and more so living interdependently among nations.

People in his loop will not always kowtow to his whims and will not do the backtracking and apologizing for him especially when the situation can really be very complicated that might lead to international sanctions among others.

Various experts have expressed their views on the latest flip-flop of DU30 while in Beijing. Like a true expert in their field of geopolitics and diplomacy, the line of DU30 on the independent foreign policy issue vis-à-vis our US military and economic ties are worth considering so as to avoid unexpected confluence of events.

One such analysis about independent foreign policy came from Francisco Tatad:

“I do not at all wonder, and no one else should, why President Duterte has been talking of an “independent foreign policy.” What puzzles me, as it should everybody else, is why neither he nor his foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay Jr., has said how the government intends to carry it out. By asking the US forces in Mindanao to leave? By dismantling the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US? By buying weapons from China and Russia? Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to throw in his two cents’ worth.

Section 7 of Article II—Declaration of Principles and State Policies—-is clear: “The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In relations with other states the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.” Each of the four phrases is known, if vaguely, to the average citizen. Otherwise the Constitution and the spirit of our laws make them plain.

“The Philippines is a democratic and republican state,” says the first section of Article II. “Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

National territory is that over which we exercise jurisdiction and control, and whose borders no state should try to change or promote secessionism within.

National interest, or “raison d’Etat” (reason of State) to the French, has a long history that evolved from the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years War. We know it as our own political, economic, military and cultural goals and ambitions as distinguished from those of our closest friends and allies.

DU30 has proclaimed his desire to pursue an “independent foreign policy,” but has yet to pronounce what he means. Does “independent” mean renouncing any security alliance with our current major ally? If so, this would mean scrapping the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US, the Visiting Forces Agreement and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, and possibly pursuing a policy of neutrality like the Vatican or Switzerland.”

The mere fact that we are historically part of every existing international groupings with specific missions and objectives to live harmoniously, in just one utterance from a city mayor-turned-president all these will be a thing of the past? Duh? Diplomacy and interdependence are not as simple as that.

Rhetoric is rhetoric. National foreign policy is different, it should be planned and discussed among experts in and out of the government. DU30 must consult experts in proper diplomacy, how it works and why it is needed in international protocols.

Many pundits are worried and asking why the president is acting with mixed emotion? "Parang galit sa mundo." Meaning him against the world. Cussing and calling world leaders who irritates him names. It is believed that these leaders and allies might not ignore his antics and will not take those insults sitting down which could drag us into chaos. Remember what happened to the late Indonesian President Sukarno. I hope it will not happen here.

Lastly, if he really loves this nation and the Filipino people, he should have raised the South China Sea issue with China and now with Japan, the issue of the Filipino comfort women. Need we say more?

No comments: