Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Give 'em hell, Rody!"


It is far too early to conclude anything regardding the long-term impact. President Duterte has been in office a mere 100 days. We don't know at this point how any of this is going to play out. Some wonder if the rhetoric is the result of a lack of seasoning as a politician on a global level. Others suspect this may all be part of a far grander strategy. What do I think? My mother grew up on a farm, and she always used to say, "Your mule always notices when you kiss your tractor." And I suspect President Duterte himself has the same kind of wisdom about him. This very likely cowld be a clever negotiation play to create more balance with the US and the EU and strike a better deal, i.e. making the "mule" more jealous. And why shooldn't he fight fa better set of terms from the US and EU? Nothing wrong with this; it is his job as president of his nation to protect the best interests of the Philippines. Only time will tell. Let's give the president time to run his playbook before any conclusions are drawn.

An important essence of leadership is bias for action. President Duterte is not a "NATO" kind of leader, meaning "No action, talk only." Rarely in recent history has the world seen a leader be more decisive in the first 100 days than President Duterte. No matter how one feels about the decisions, this itself must be applauded. He is a man of action. And this is an essential element of great leadership.

We can argue about what is right for Philippines, but we cannot credibly argue the man's intentions. He truly wants what is best for his nation and is willing to take flak for it. This selflessness is truly commendable.

And finally, when the president uses the counter-argument of hypocrisy from the West with regard to human rights, he is absolutely right. I personally don't agree with the use of 100-year old arguments, as the present must be argued with the present. Dredging up human-rights issues from 100-plus years ago is a slippery slope -- under this premise, a country could, for example, remove women's rights to vote under the argument, "Well, the USA did not allow women to vote prior to 1920." No, one cannot argue the present with the past, because the past is in the past, but the present can be altered. Yet, this really doesn't matter, because the present hypocrisy of the West surrounding Syria, ISIS and the refugees proves that the US, EU and NATO. for that matter, have no business lecturing anyone about human rights. Because every day thousands of innocent people are murdered at the hands of an issue created by the West. And, worst of all, there is no willngness to help refugees, to clean up a mess of their own making.

To President Duterte, we say, "Give 'em hell, Rody!" There is an old saying in the Arab world, "The dogs bark, yet the caravan still passes." Let the dogs bark. And keep doing what you think is right." 

- James Michael Lafferty

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