«

»

Feb 10

Derailing the campaign

The various slates are getting fine-tuned this weekend, as the deadline is on Monday. Gilberto Teodoro has bowed out, Richard Gomez has bowed in. Mike Defensor, and Prospero Pichay, and Tessie Aquino-Oreta formally declare as administration candidates. The Speaker, according to the Manila Times says Adel Tamano will run with the administration. Adel Tamano texted to say, no, he’s not runnning with the administration (the paper got his gender wrong!), and the hews was finally broken by Ellen Tordesillas -Tamano will be a spokesman for UNO.

Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. let loose a great quote: “the only thing the administration has to offer is that its candidates won’t be cheated.” Recto puts it differently:

Recto, a party mate of Villar, said it would be ideal for them to run as independent candidates in view of the “credibility problem” of both Ms Arroyo and the camp of ousted President and UNO leader Joseph Estrada.

However, he said, they had to weigh this against the more practical option of running under a ticket with a well-oiled machinery, and find a compromise.

“If, for example, we’ll announce that we will run as an independent bloc, that’s good because we’ll get headlines possibly in the Inquirer, Star or the tabloids. After that, we file our certificates and then on Tuesday, we start campaigning. But where will we campaign? In the coffee shops?” Recto said over radio dzBB.

He added: “Remember, there are 400,000 precincts, 45,000 barangays, 1,500 municipalities, 80 provinces, 7,100 islands. So how do we campaign [when] there’s only four of us? We can form the LP-NP coalition … but can we go around the 30 million hectares in 90 days?

“As I’ve said, there’s a compromise in everything. You’re aware of the ideal issue on one end, and the pragmatic issue [on the other] end.”

Meanwhile, the President has announced she will call Congress to a special session. Not because of the Senate but rather, the House this time failed to watch the herd, just its thinking members clearly see how it’s failed to meet expectations. Chronic absenteeism in the House doomed its constitutional amendments efforts (it seems, from what I’ve been told by Lakas-CMD people, the effort began without their even knowing they had 180 votes; and the historic high of 160++ present held during those crucial November-December days); in contrast, about the only Senator I can think of who is chronically absent is Pia Cayetano.

Decisions such as calling Congress to a special session and raising the alarm on a supposed Estrada assassination plot, are obvious ploys to delay the start of the campaign.

Justice Isagani Cruz has a column on entertainment personalities in the Senate. Alex Magno finally, and rather lamely, admits that the old-fashioned party system is dying not just here, but everywhere (in the USA, elections are increasingly decided by swing voters or independents) and the obvious cheap mentality of the administration slate while the opposition slate is being more responsive to public opinion -and even, more responsible, politically.

Patricio Diaz (who wants a third force) bewails coalition politics and pins part of the blame on the President:

The coalition system has turned worse and worse since 2001 when President Estrada was ousted and his vice president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was installed president — a take-over that, while legitimized by the Supreme Court, Congress, and the diplomatic world, has remained questionable to haunt Arroyo.

In the election of May 2001, Arroyo mustered the anti-Estrada forces into the People Power Coalition to stabilize her support in Congress and in the local governments. While the coalition won handily in the House of Representatives, it led only by a one-vote margin in the Senate.

Within the year, Arroyo alienated her People Power allies. Some senators under the coalition became critical of her and allied with the opposition. Sen. Joker Arroyo, for one, gradually became her most vocal critic. She lost control of the Senate as the coalition disintegrated.

In the May 2004 election, Arroyo ran for president under the 4-K Coalition, a hodgepodge of politicians who had remained loyal to her and of others who had been her bitter critics but had parted ways with Estrada and went to her fawning — clearly, a coalition of political convenience.

Estrada, while in detention, did not lose political power. Entrenched in the votes of his fanatical masa, Estrada preserved his coalition to be joined by disgruntled supporters of the defunct People Power Coalition and top breakaway officials of Lakas-MCD, the biggest party of the ruling coalition — like its president, the Philippine vice president.

Estrada’s Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) was more weird than 4-K Coalition. It picked for its standard bearer and titular leader, Fernando Poe Jr., a close friend of Estrada and a school drop-out like him, an actor and idol of the masa — even if not a member of any of the parties in coalition.

Election of May 2004 was the height of absurdity in the coalition system. The political crisis in the ensuing years could not be ruled out as an inevitable consequence. For, a leadership lodged in a quagmire can be expected only to sink deeper, not rise.

The Asean Focus Group publishes its analysis of the mid-term May Elections:

Philippines: Crucial Mid-Term Elections in May

This year, the defining political event to watch in the Philippines is the May 14th national elections, as half of the 24 Senate seats, all 250 seats in the Lower House, and over 17,000 local government positions are up for grabs. In essence, this means that the polls could potentially alter the balance of power in the government, depending on what type of legislators and local government officials are elected. The Opposition is painting the exercise as a referendum on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s legitimacy, given the allegations of cheating in the 2004 elections. On its part, the Arroyo Administration is confident of retaining its control of Congress, as well as achieving the election of supportive government officials – which it deems key for the continuation of its social and economic reform programs.

While the campaign period officially begins on 15 February, the election season really started in late 2006 with the gruesome and ostensibly politically motivated murder of Abra Province Congressman, Abraham Abesamis. In one sense, this event reinforces the image portrayed by many observers of the Philippines, who have described its elections as characterised by the use of the proverbial 3Gs – guns, goons, and gold – as violence, vote buying, fraud and profligate spending mark each electoral exercise.

The long-standing analysis that elections in the Philippines are dominated by an exclusive group of economic and political elites, who flee from one party to the next depending on what is expedient to their familial interest, is readily observable. The news headlines have been full of ‘turn-coat-ism’, as politicians undertake a mass migration to the Administration’s party and its coalition. Deposed President Joseph Estrada leads the Opposition, which is a melting pot of anti-Arroyo forces. Their ranks have dwindled in the past weeks as four key member politicians left the so-called United Opposition coalition and are reportedly contemplating running under the Administration slate. Thus, it is confusing to track who is in the ruling coalition and who is a member of the Opposition, with the lines getting blurred each day as Election Day nears.

This easy movement by politicians from one party to another clearly supports another long-standing analysis –  that there is no such thing as real political parties in the Philippines. Political programs, platforms and policies are mere window dressing for the traditional politician who relies on his familial network or personal popularity. In the absence of real political parties, sociologist Randy David argues, ‘the family continues to function as a mechanism for leadership recruitment’. While the 1987 Constitution contains a provision banning so-called political dynasties, Congress has not passed an effective law to bring this into effect. As a result, perplexing reports have surfaced that the political families, namely the Aquino, Estrada, Cayetano and Pimentel families, will have at least two seats each in the Senate, if they have their way.

Aside from turn-coat-ism, other traditional markers of the election season are the sudden return of jueteng, the illegal numbers game which has been the source of electoral funding for the past decade; as well as kidnappings. Not to be outdone, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) have also stepped up their revenue collection schemes, with their issuance of a ‘permit to campaign’ to politicians for a fee. Reportedly, the NPA have gone high-tech and are now utilising mobile phones and text messages to issue approved permits.

Indeed, the elections in May are an important event to analyse. One way to make sense of what is happening is to view it through the established prisms of the 3 ‘Gs’, political dynasties, electoral violence, cheating and the lack of a real party system. These dominant themes are definitely observable and those who look for them will not be disappointed.

However, what is more interesting is to go against the grain and look for the changes, disruptions, and discontinuities in the political system, which have also been taking place. Since 1986, the number of progressive politicians, especially at the local government level, and of reform-oriented parties competing for party-list seats in Congress has been rising.

The most celebrated example is Governor Grace Padaca of Isabela province, who won versus the 30 year-old Dy dynasty, against all odds. In a conference on Philippine politics in July 2006, Padaca stated, ‘Why would people who benefit from the current system want to change it? They won’t – that is why they have to be booted out and be shown the real power of the people’. Governor Padaca has become the epitome of quiet strength and courage, and a symbol of hope and change in the Philippines’ elite-dominated politics. Her electoral victory and example point to the increasing maturity of Filipino voters who are tired of politics as usual. It is high time analysts and observers look at political discontinues and changes.

WATCHPOINT: How many non-traditional politicians will win local government and congressional seats? Their number may be a bell-weather of change.

Lorraine Salazar
Visiting Research Fellow
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Singapore

More Articles on Philippines. More Articles by Lorraine Salazar.

Poor Abe Olandres is facing a libel suit. Time may be nearing for bloggers to rally around him.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

39 comments

2 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. manuelbuencamino

    Recto demonstrated what happens when one tries to go around the truth. As Marcos Jr. showed, one can say it in one sentence.

    Recto will have to run as Ralph Recto-Santos just like Francis Pangilinan-Cuneta.

  2. The Ca t

    However, he said, they had to weigh this against the more practical option of running under a ticket with a well-oiled machinery, and find a compromise.

    Can i say, i told ya so?

  3. Chabeli

    “Recto, a party mate of Villar, said it would be ideal for them to run as independent candidates in view of the “credibility problem” of both..” Gloria & ERAP.

    Doesn’t this man also a have credibility problem-he plays both sides.

    For Recto to say that the Wednesday Group “..had to weigh this against the more practical option of running under a ticket with a well-oiled machinery, and find a compromise” merely states a man looking out only for himself. Recto may be young, but clearly, to my mind, he is has a trapo mentality.

    “He added: “Remember, there are 400,000 precincts, 45,000 barangays, 1,500 municipalities, 80 provinces, 7,100 islands. So how do we campaign [when] there’s only four of us? We can form the LP-NP coalition … but can we go around the 30 million hectares in 90 days?” Solution: Do the people a favour then, DON’T RUN !

    ““As I’ve said, there’s a compromise in everything. You’re aware of the ideal issue on one end, and the pragmatic issue [on the other] end.”” Another TRAPO MENTALITY !

  4. Chabeli

    The impression I also get is that this Wednesday Group has difficulty taking a stand. I don’t get Recto’s, “..a compromise in everything.”

    Isn’t this upcoming elections all about being FOR THE COUNTRY ? It’s not about an “..ideal issue on one end, and the pragmatic issue [on the other] end.””

    The choice is simple: FOR THE PHILIPPINES versus FOR ONESELF.

  5. Chabeli

    No wonder its taking the Wednesday Group so long to make a decision. Gloria is doing what she does best: buying off candidates. She’s even offering them cash, chopper, etc. Here’s a report of The Daily Tribune (in its 02/11/2007 web):

    “President Arroyo desperate to fill up her 12 man Senate slate with “winnables” has reportedly been bribing and buying off senatorial bets from the Wednesday Club, in a bid to get them included in her “Unity Team” ticket with very tempting offers, which include, among others, a P100-million cash gift for each reelectionist senator upon his joining her slate; all expenses to be incurred in the campaign of these senatorial bets, estimated to amount to more than P150 million each are to be shouldered by Malacañang; the unlimited use of helicopters for their campaign sorties nationwide, if they wish to campaign independently; the cost of ad placements, on an unlimited scale on television, radio and print to be paid for by Malacañang; the assurance of their being featured prominently in TV talk shows, both on the government channel and radio programs, as well as in other networks that are “sympathetic” to the Arroyo government plus the guarantee that any charges of the violations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules will be “taken care of” and “dismissed” by the Comelec..to the members of the so-called Wednesday Club, for them to drop their plan to join the United Opposition team and instead be a part of the Arroyo “Unity Ticket,” a source privy to the discussions among the Wednesday Club members confided to the Tribune last night, as the source explained why the four reelectionist senators could not come together under a coalition of either the administration or the opposition. The Wednesday Club is composed of Senate President Manuel Villar, Majority Floor Leader Francis Pangilinan, Senators Ralph Recto and Joker Arroyo. Also a club member but no longer a senator is Vice President Noli de Castro, who earlier vowed to campaign for the four reelectionist senators.”

    For full article: http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20070211hed1.html

  6. john marzan

    guys, ellen… matanong lang. how much is a digital camara in nowadays? kasi i plan to take some pictures during the election campaign.

    saan ba nakakabili ng mura nyan? what’s the average low price ng isang digital camera? may nabibili ba nyan sa divisoria, raon, o quaipo?

    gusto ko rin sana digital video recorder, so i can video record some political events, tapos i i-post iyan sa youtube, katulad ng nangyari kay sen. george allen (of the macaca fame), pero hanggang photos na lang muna ako.

    http://www.google.com.ph/search?num=20&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=kSF&q=george+allen+macaca+youtube&btnG=Search&meta=

  7. john marzan

    guys, ellen… matanong lang. how much is a digital camara in nowadays? kasi i plan to take some pictures during the election campaign.

    saan ba nakakabili ng mura nyan? what’s the average low price ng isang digital camera? may nabibili ba nyan sa divisoria, raon, o quaipo?

    gusto ko rin sana digital video recorder, so i can video record some political events, tapos i i-post iyan sa youtube, katulad ng nangyari kay sen. george allen (of the macaca fame), pero hanggang photos na lang muna ako.

    http://www.google.com.ph/search?num=20&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=kSF&q=george+allen+macaca+youtube&btnG=Search&meta=

  8. camry

    I wish the Wednesday group will just run outside the administration & UNO if they can not decide which party to join. Better for them to just do not run and let new faces to serve in the Philippine Senate.

    Let us prevent “trapos” to serve in the Philippine Senate.

  9. justice league

    JM,

    What happened to George Allen was that the videographer was from the “other side”.

    If you’re planning something similar; kausapin mo muna pamilya mo at hingiin opinyon nila.

    Maybe George Allen is a decent enough guy, maybe he really isn’t. But anyone who (outside of media; well, as if media affords any protection anyway)will do something like that better hope that the candidate will not have a mean streak beyond name calling.

  10. john marzan

    oops, sa pag cut and paste ko, nakalimutan ko yung palitan yung pangalan ni ellen.

    george allen is just an example, justice. another example is posting kiko pangilinan’s “noted” performance sa youtube.

    besides, a video cam’s too expensive. so how much is a cheap digital camera nowadays sa quiapo o raon?

  11. The Ca t

    Better for them to just do not run and let new faces to serve in the Philippine Senate.

    Which new faces? the admin or the opposition slate? i do not see any new face.

  12. inidoro ni emilie

    was he the one who submitted a marketing nicheing thesis in dlsu whose topic is “how to become president by marrying a super nova star for all seasons?” ask any of his classmates back then. they know.

    it seems a copy cat also plagiarized his thesis. they share notes every wednesday.

  13. Karl Garcia

    So its Villar going solo and Kiko as well

    Ralph and Joker to the unity…..

    no need to go on detail its all in the PDI….

    Comparing to people married to mega stars for all seasons

    At least Ralph has the legacy of being a Recto other than marrying the star for all seasons.

    pero Kiko would be nothing with out the mega…

  14. baycas

    men of note in the canvassing here…taking note of the past…

  15. Karl Garcia

    Adel as spokesman would be far better than Mike Defensor being the loudspeaker of the admin…

    No comparison..hindi maingay ang dating ni Adel.

    Even if I know he won’t disappoint…. everything still remains to be seen.

  16. by-stander

    the daily tribune is an opposition mouthpiece masquerading as a newspaper. you cant find an iota of truth in its pages and its frequent used of “source privy to” smacks of outright lies and propaganda.

  17. Karl Garcia

    Turncoatism..political party bill

    Alam na natin di ito mareresolba ng chacha

    pero alm din natin na talagang malala na ang turncoatism

    now where is one voice situated in all these UNO UNITY Third force brouhaha???

    Manolo,

    care to answer?

  18. bogchimash

    Thank you MLQ3 for inserting that quote from the son of the late strongman. It is about time people start appreciating this good man.

    Bong-bong Marcos, among other great deeds, tapped wind energy thereby hitting two birds with one stone(economy and environment); notably improved public education; launched working livelihood projects and started his province’s serious sports program with Micahel Keon at the helm, no less. Infrastructure, perhaps he takes after his father, is also decent in Ilocos Norte.

    As a young man, older PSG personnel say that he is a security headache. The young Marcos would slip away from them and get around on his own because he was not comfortable with bodyguards. He is an unassuming person unlike the children of other VIPs who love to display power.

    If people have reservations as regards the leadership of his father, it would be unfair to judge the young Marcos with the same disapproval.

    Bong-bong, ang layo mo kay Noynoy, Jinggoy at Mikey!

    Because of Bong-bong, let me just add, heavy-gambler Chavit’s declaration that there will be a Solid North behind the administration also becomes nothing more than a bluff.

  19. baycas

    what drives politicians? to have a green and clean image.

    well, that happens only during election campaigns…

    let’s see the amigo ng bayan convert his 7M worth of motor vehicles into biofuelled ones come campaign-sortie time…

  20. manuelbuencamino

    “The Ca t :
    “Better for them to just do not run and let new faces to serve in the Philippine Senate.”

    Which new faces? the admin or the opposition slate? i do not see any new face.”

    So, is the plan to inspire people to become disintereted and stay away from the polls so that Gloria’s slate can sneak in?

  21. bogchimash

    I also cannot believe that Isagani Cruz is back at his artista bashing again. I cannot believe that this is the same Justice who penned that thunderous dissenting opinion in Marcos vs. Manglapus.

    In the run up to the ’04 elections, Cruz had the nastiest words for FPJ. Together with the media, he belittled the abilities of the King. I must confess, I fell victim to this murky propaganda. During the elections, I supported another candidate.

    When the King passed on, the same profit oriented media rode on his popularity. The truth about him made news for the first time. It was learned that he has natural corporate genius which is better than a PHD that never went to actual use. The monicker King was also not bestowed but earned and it extended beyond showbiz. No one, not even the big shot politicos could coerce him into giving support for their campaigns. The King, it was also revealed, never stands down to anyone including high ranking officials of the security forces. He was his own man and the fear that he will just be used turned out to be a big lie. His good heart no longer made news, of course. The administration camp itself did not dare attack this during the campaign. It was already well known. In sum, by accounts of the same media that put him down, he was actually the best candidate for president. I regret not supporting FPJ.

    Cruz may be correct in warning us about the artistas in the Senate. Perhaps an artista, if he is really good, may be better in the executive. However, whatever the wiser paradigm may be, Cruz no longer has my respect as an impartial and learned magistrate. In my book, sunog ka na. G_go!

  22. The Ca t

    So, is the plan to inspire people to become disintereted and stay away from the polls so that Gloria’s slate can sneak in?

    wrong analysis if i may say. if you believe that all the opinions expressed in this site are shared by many people, then they are going to vote for the opposition and the endorsement of GMA is really the kiss of death.

    So why the doubt?

    If I may take a look in the minds of some voters, they are going to elect candidates not because of party affiliations.

  23. The Ca t

    was he the one who submitted a marketing nicheing thesis in dlsu whose topic is “how to become president by marrying a super nova star for all seasons?” ask any of his classmates back then. they know.

    At least he has two masteral degrees. Angara did not write a thesis but he supported a Box office king to become the President of the Philippines.

  24. cvj

    So, is the plan to inspire people to become disintereted and stay away from the polls so that Gloria’s slate can sneak in? – manuelbuencamino

    I believe the term John Marzan used for this tactic is mobyism.

    I also cannot believe that Isagani Cruz is back at his artista bashing again. – bogchimash

    I think Isagani Cruz’s contempt towards actors stems from his shallow and outdated understanding of the nature of intelligence. Educator Howard Gardner has explained that there is not just one, but multiple kinds of intelligences, i.e. linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal. It seems that Cruz only recognizes the first two types as legitimate.

    I also notice that his style of praising a subset of the group (i.e. Susan Roces, the late FPJ) while condemning the group as a whole is the same one he used in his previous column against homosexuals. Must be the style of bigots.

  25. cvj

    At least [Recto] has two masteral degrees. – Ca T

    So what? We have to be reminded of what Thomas Sowell said in his book ‘Knowledge and Decisions’:

    Considering the enormous range of human knowledge, from intimate personal knowledge of specific individuals to the complexities of organizations and the subtleties of feelings, it is remarkable that one speck in this firmament should be the sole determinant of whether someone is considered knowledgeable or ignorant in general. Yet it is a fact of life that an unlettered peasant is considered ignorant, however much he may know about nature and man, and a PhD is never considered ignorant, however barren his mind might be outside his narrow specialty and however little he grasps about human feelings or social complexities.”

    So true.

  26. Paeng

    kumpleto na ang UNO lineup. looks like i will vote for at least six people in their slate.

    ok yung mga pinopost ni Trillanes na mga programs at draft billis niya sa kanyang Friendster account. halatang halata yung pagiging grad niya ng NCPAG.

  27. The Ca t

    So what? We have to be reminded of what Thomas Sowell said in his book ‘Knowledge and Decisions’:

    You did miss my point. Condemning a person who made use of his wife’s popularity to push his political goal is no different from the politicians who launched Fernando Poe’s candidacy.

    Even though I would not have voted for Fernando Poe, I still admired him and his wife for not being push-overs.

    And I believe that if he had won, maybe except for working for his best friend’s release, he would not have bowed down to other politician’s demands.

  28. cvj

    Ca T, thanks for the clarification. I wouldn’t put that much weight on the number of Recto’s Masteral degrees though since he still is unable to tell right from wrong.

  29. Warfighter

    @bogchimash:

    Just checked out Philippine Star’s website today… and you know what? There’s the Prez and Bongbong right in the same pic, and that is in itself powerful symbolism.

  30. Warfighter

    Here’s the pic in question:

    http://www.philstar.com/philstar/index20070211.htm

  31. justice league

    PGMA went to Ilocos. I’m not a great fan of the MArcoses but we have to give it to Bongbong for being decent enough to show the President around specifically the windmill project.

    If PGMA went to the town of San Juan, I wonder if JV will show the same because based in his previous statements; he won’t.

  32. Mita

    awright awready! i’m running for senator this may! you forced me to do it! i can’t stand the thought of everyone running and me being left behind!

    doesn’t matter if I don’t have a college degree, right? actually, i got kicked out at grade school for cheating but it was never proven you know!

    does it matter that I’m dumb as a doornail? i’m beautiful daw according to my spoiled husband and 2 year old spoiled little brat of a nephew…papasa na ko!

    My party? maraming pupulot sa kin I’m sure….if not, I’m running independently but will welcome any endorsements from both the administration and opposition….

    I thank YOU!

  33. rego

    Mita,

    You have one vote from me!!!!!!

  34. hvrds

    “Bizarre as it might seem, the state of our electoral politics is not unique. It happens everywhere in this age where grand ideologies have died and the appetite for political party affiliation has diminished.”

    It was the foremost conservative columnist Geroge Will who once wrote that W. has a theological belief in the power of the military to fix things.

    “Grand ideologies have died,” sayis Magno. How can he say that in the present context of the American Empire’s “Jihad for Democracy and Free trade”

    The marketing of Democarcy and Free Markets for all. “Market Fundamentalism” has emerged triumphant over the ‘The Evil Empire’of communism.

    The foremost market jihadist in the Philippines is Magno.

    For a country created and shaped by empire there is no foundation except that created by empire in a fedual based economy. Hence the ruling class families are trying to cope with the onrush of finance capital from maturing developed economies. Some will disappear while some will merge with the more powerful ruling classes from abroad.

    No other attempts at trying to discuss ideas are tolerated outside that basic so called democratic, market fundamentalist framework. Outside that fundamentalist religion you are branded a communist or at the very least a terrorist.

    Fatwahs have been issued by state institutions in the U.S. against the enemies of this Jihad for democracy and free trade.

    Hence you do not see credible intelligent policy debates. Anyone who does is branded a heretic or the new buzzword a terrorist.

    Look at the writings of the Philippine Commentary. Pure American Jihadist leanings vs Islamos. No soft power for this jihad. This neo American Jihadist forgets that for soft power to work you have to have the idea of hard power. For a vassal state you cannot play the diplomatic game since you do not have both.

    I cringe everytime I hear Celdrans Business News on ANC describing the ideas of corporate warriors. Emphasis on the word warriors.

    Be careful with words that mean jihad. It suggests absoluteness.

    Being branded a jihadist is not only limited to Islamos. The sanskrit word svastika the bent cross which was the Indo-European (Aryan)symbol for peace became the
    symbol for the jihad for the “Master Race.”
    Joseph S. Nye Jr., professor of international relations at Harvard, is the author of “Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics.”
    Just don’t mention the war on terrorism

    Joseph S. Nye Jr.
    Published: February 8, 2007

    OXFORD, England: Britain recently banned the words “war on terrorism.” Late last year, the Foreign Office told cabinet ministers and British diplomats to stop using the phrase. According to the London Observer, the shift marks a turning point in British political thinking and underlines the growing gulf between British and American approaches to the continuing problem of violent Islamic militants.
    Why would America’s major ally, a country with troops fighting alongside us in Iraq and Afghanistan, take such an action?
    Some attribute the change to cultural differences. Terrorism is an age-old technique, and although our shared language is replete with words like thug, assassin and zealot — all residual traces of ancient terrorist groups — it seems logically odd to declare war on a tactic.
    Americans have a rhetorical tradition of declaring war on abstract enemies like drugs and poverty, while the British have focused on concrete opponents like the Irish Republican Army. The British also know that waves of terrorism often last a generation before dampening, and that it is best to be specific about immediate causes.
    The basic cause of the British change, however, lies in a different analysis of the current problem. Both the United States and Britain have experienced horrific mass murders. The bombing of the London transport system by Islamist terrorists has made the date 7/7 as salient to the British as 9/11 is to Americans.
    Today in Opinion

    Moreover, the threat continues to grow. The head of MI5, the British security service, recently announced that it was investigating 16 major terrorist plots, and a poll revealed that 100,000 British Muslims believed the July 2005 bombings were justified.
    When interrogating arrested terrorists, British officials have found a common thread. Al Qaeda and affiliated groups use a simple yet effective narrative to recruit young Muslims to cross the line into violence. While extreme religious beliefs, diverse local conditions, or issues like Palestine or Kashmir can create a sense of grievance, it is the language of war and a narrative of battle that gives recruits a cult-like sense of status and larger meaning that leads to action.
    Al Qaeda focuses a large portion of its efforts on communication, and it has learned to use modern media and the Internet very effectively. Potential recruits are told that Islam is under attack from the West, and that it is the personal responsibility of each Muslim to fight to protect the ummah, or worldwide Muslim community. This extreme version of the duty of “jihad”(struggle) is reinforced by videos and Web sites that show Muslims being killed in Chechnya, Iraq, Kashmir and Lebanon.
    This grotesque message uses the language of religion as justification, but its dynamic is like an ideology that seeks to harness the energy from a great variety of grievances. British officials have concluded that when we use the vocabulary of war and jihad, we simply reinforce Al Qaeda’s single narrative and help their recruiting efforts.
    A recent conference of British and American experts at Ditchley Park in England concluded that while a hard-power response is necessary against the identified hard cores of terrorism, this might not amount to more than 10 or 20 percent of the whole defense effort. A larger effort should be devoted to public communication with mainstream Muslims.
    Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once asked what metric we should use to measure success in a “war on terrorism.” He concluded that success depended on whether the number of terrorists we were killing or deterring was greater than the number the enemy was recruiting.
    By this metric, British and American intelligence estimates are not encouraging. While there have been important tactical and operational successes in the near term, we are losing the longer generational struggle because the number of new recruits has been increasing rather than declining. Small wonder, then, that even Rumsfeld finally expressed discontent with the term “war on terrorism.”
    Rumsfeld was not alone in this conclusion. A little over a year ago, U.S. State Department officials sent a memo to the White House suggesting a shift in vocabulary. President George W. Bush rejected the change.
    More recently, when British reporters asked the State Department spokesman about American reaction to the British decision to drop the words, they were told “it’s the president’s phrase and that’s good enough for us.”
    But a phrase that was helpful in rallying popular support in the first phase of a struggle, and may serve a president’s political interests, is not good enough for the generational struggle to win hearts and minds of mainstream Muslims and hinder Al Qaeda’s recruiting. It’s time for the White House to realize that sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can really hurt us.”

  35. rego

    now the the admin slate is finalized, Mike Defensor is right all along about the unity ticket. Well at least nag dadadakdak man si Mike, nagkakatotoo at nangyayari. Eh si Alan Peter at si Chiz, puro lang dakdak walang nagyayari!

  36. mlq3

    rego, i really can’t comprehend how you’re giving the administration such a gigantic benefit of the doubt. you do realize a vote for them is an endorsement of everything, and i mean, everything, absolutely everything, the government has done, and more importantly, intends to do?

  37. cvj

    Mita, you’re right, those details may not matter. One thing though, try to get your contempt for the voters under control, at least until after the election. During the campaign, make it look like you respect them.

  38. rego

    Manolo,

    What about the opposition do your realized what they have been doing and intend to do? Do you have control over people like Ping Lacson. Do you realized that the a vote for personalities like Peter And Chiz will be setting a very bad example for the next generation of politicians.?
    Open your eyes, Manolo!

  39. Philippine Vigil

    Re: “Do you realized that the a vote for personalities like Peter And Chiz will be setting a very bad example for the next generation of politicians.?”

    Does that mean that they are any worse than Gloria or better? Doubt though that they can be any worse – oh no sir, impossible to be worse than Gloria.

    If they’re better – by golly they will be setting a bad example indeed to pro-Gloria young uns – Escudero and Cayetano are two young men out to get bad bad bad horrid lil Gloria. Just won’t do!

    How on earth can frigging gloria stay perched on Malacanang high chair if some good folks are out to get her….

  1. The Abe Olandres Legal Fund at The Blog Herald

    […] Manuel L. Quezon III […]

  2. topicfactory.com » Blog Archive » The Abe Olandres Legal Fund

    […] Manuel L. Quezon III […]

Leave a Reply