A challenge to our current and future national leader
Let me start by saying that these are very tough times for our country.
Lately, China has been inching closer to the edge of military confrontation against us in West Philippine Sea.
This looming unilateral armed threat is now forcing us to face up to the reality that we are standing at the brink of a precipice and had already seen a territorial rock literally slide out from under our feet.
After China kicked us out of Mischief Reef, they’re now deploying a military garrison in its new created City of Sansha that encroaches on Philippine waters.
At the rate of how much China has actively installed structures of fishing and military importance within our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it seems to me that there is no end to its aggression until it gets what it wants.
Regardless of what unfolds in the West Philippine Sea, the danger from the continuing territorial disputes will definitely occupy the days of the one who currently resides in Malacañang. And I am sure, his nights as well.
Indeed, taking the rudder of our country has never been anything but a Herculean task. The enormous challenge confronting our current or future leader and how he/she rises to the occasion and deals with the problem is a deal breaker for me.
With our island-nation being diminished at such an unsettling pace, wouldn’t it be nice if we could even count on a national political aspirant who will stop pandering to his/her constituents and start speaking not only intelligently, but also, actionably about his/her vision for the country in times like these?
But why the relative lack of such vision?
I believe the source of this problem is in the brand of politics that indulges on what I call the small picture approach rather than the big picture approach.
By small picture approach, I mean a brand of politics that simply spends much of its talent, energy, and resources on patronage and local activities to assure and protect one’s political image or success at the expense of broader but vital concerns, thereby neglecting strategic reference points from which to address emerging global and maritime issues demanding immediate action, diplomatic as well as non-diplomatic.
While those who engage in the small picture approach are localists, the big picture politicians, I consider them as globalists.
The big picture politicians embody a global imagination of uplifting the living standard of our people by way of engaging the world and navigating the shifting tides of global politics.
Being a localist is a no-brainer for any political aspirant.
Understandably, before anything else, one has to be elected first.
The problem is, when it is just that.
Sooner or later, just like any form of fleeting popularity, the localists will be exhausted and rendered irrelevant as they become more aware that our country is being swept away by the deployment of a dizzying array of global positioning and maneuvers from multiple players in the region.
Apparently, our preoccupation with localism is not new. As far as I can remember, it has been the staple of our political mental horizon, and still is, for the breadth and depth of our political behavior.
That is why we put candidates in positions of power for their calculated patronage appeal and ability to entertain us with bread and circuses, and not because they have a long-term and global vision for the country.
The thing is, while the former approach localizes and delimits politics, the latter approach transcends it and references the way we understand the world and our place in it.
And so here we are, faced with the choice on how to act. The question is: Will our leader end up as a proactive player or a reactive pawn in the global game?
For me, the answer to this question is key to entrusting especially the would-be president with majority of our votes.
To date, we have two well-known national figures posturing for the national position after PNoy’s tenure.
The one candidate surrounds himself with prominent supporters known for their anti-American sentiments, but nonetheless, he seems overconfident and is the most popular in the latest popularity survey.
The other candidate, on one hand, is known as an economic manager, but he appears unassertive and quiet. Predictably, he is not even reflected in the latest popularity poll.
If eventually only two aspirants remain, whatever the outcome is, I’m all but certain that the leadership qualities of a commanding presence and the ability to riposte in a global parry, will likely remain an unfulfilled wish list.
But then again, I am only speaking for myself.
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