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Maverick policies

November 24, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

Maverick policies
Ronald Roy — Nov. 23, 2016

“Nationalism” is nature’s binding force nursed by a people for their collective wellbeing. It is what gives them a distinct juridical personality molded by traits that are political, cultural, lingual, culinary, religious and what have you. But nationalism has its limits.

If carried out so far as to be counterproductive, nationalism becomes “jingoism” or “chauvinism” — isms that make a people rejected pariahs in the world as though they were leprous. A jingoist or chauvinist country will eventually pay for its aloof disposition, as it will realize that it cannot securely live in an environment of military and economic disparities among countries — in fine, that it ought to accept that it needs other nations to survive.

Unbridled nationalism
Albert Einstein was therefore not amiss when he defined nationalism as “an infantile disease, the measles of mankind”. Likewise, Veblen (Absentee Ownership) says that “born in iniquity and conceived in sin, the spirit of nationalism has never ceased to bend human institutions to the service of dissension and distress”. Evidently, both scientist and philosopher had unbridled nationalism in mind.

Filipino President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and American President-elect Donald Trump are the world’s newest leaders who appear to be toeing the line of jingoism. Duterte’s “independent foreign policy” and Trump’s “America first policy” take directions away from tradition and established norms of governance.

Both maverick policies were promises made during their campaign for their respective presidencies. They are now seen as refreshing panaceas by American and Filipino malcontents and, in retrospect, will now be remembered as the keys to their sensational electoral victories. His fists clenched during large campaign rallies, Trump exhorted listeners to think “America first!”; while Duterte excited the crowds with the pledge: “Change is coming!”

The impact of both policies
But nobody is really certain about how the two “slogans” will impact on the security and economic status quo of both countries in relation to each other, as well as to other nations. Out-of-the-box domestic and foreign policies are inherently risky, as they per force require sensitive adjustments of existing relations among nations of varying ideologies and cultures. Ultimately, both presidents must find a way of blending their foreign policies in a way that is mutually beneficial without imperiling peace prospects.

There is no reason to be pessimistic, for Man’s instinct of self-preservation is nature’s usual safeguard against his extinction…”usual”, because leaders, being human, can be malevolent and irrational. The question then is whether Duterte or Trump, or both, are madmen. Should we worry?

Again, there is no reason to be pessimistic. For, even if Trump and/or Duterte were malevolent and irrational, there is the great democratic hope that their respective peoples, the true holders of sovereign power, will not allow ruinous acts to be inflicted upon them by their own public servants. Citizens act swiftly in strong democracies and, in our case, there is ample time to exercise our enfeebled sovereign muscles.

Reciprocal trade-offs
In foreign relations, there’s a trade-off for anything given or taken between countries. A quid pro quo relationship is imperative between countries needing to improve their peoples’ lives, and it’s just asinine for our leaders to turn down opportunities to acquire, e.g., military hardware in exchange for, say, manpower services or oil and mineral exploration covenants.

In fact, Russia has agreed to buy PH fruits and veggies worth US $ 2.5 B, thanks to an understanding between PDu30 and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent APEC meeting. Go go go, Digong!

If one comes to think of it, the situation does not necessarily become complicated if Beijing is factored into a Beijing-Manila-Washington (BMW) equation. The same reasons as quid pro quo, mutual needs, etcetera underpin this optimistic outlook. In fact, this BMW triad may yet prove to be what we need to become a stronger and healthier democracy. Of course, I could be wrong.

Nota bene
—- I join the nation in mourning the tragic passing of Ronnie Nathanielsz, sports analyst nonpareil, exemplary naturalized Filipino citizen, and a personal friend of over fifty years. My last contact with him was five weeks ago when I gave him my permission to quote some passages from my articles. He planned to use them for a book which he had started to write. Rest in peace, Tukayo.
—- Whatever reasons Sen. Leila de Lima had for owning up to an intimate relationship with her bodyguard-driver, a married man, may she be endowed with the fortitude she’ll be needing to weather off a coming storm. BTW, don’t expect Ombudsman Morales to investigate De Lima, her fellow yellow attack dog.
—- In the doctrine of “Separation of Church and State, “state” actually refers to our tripartite government. The Supreme Court is an appurtenant of the government. Therefore, the Church (as well as the Congress, citizens’ associations, institutions, etcetera) should abide by the high court’s final ruling on the issue of the late dictator’s burial site.
—- Kiko Pangilinan is both a lawmaker and lawbreaker. Shame!

09186449517 ronald8roy
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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