Two crazy leaders could change the world
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2017 - 4:00pm

I think that it’s safe to say that we’ve all had enough of the daily soap opera in our country. We talk about how things are changing, but honestly, in the past year not much as really changed at all. We are treated daily to the country’s drama in the news and what’s more it’s not only the Philippines that we now have to worry about.

I’ve written in the past that I felt that US President Donald Trump was going to one day cross the line. His penchant for being brash and thoughtless and just saying whatever comes to his mind is quite frightening (and that’s indeed saying something considering we have a president here who is quite similar). The problem with Trump is that he is in a position where his words won’t just affect America but easily affect the entire world.

For a long time it felt as if we were just waiting for the axe to fall. After all, there isn’t a demographic in the US and worldwide that Trump hasn’t somehow offended these past few months. I guess though that we were all hoping that he was more hot air and empty words and that while his politics might be oppressive in some ways they weren’t actually going to prove dangerous.

But it looks like we were wrong. The President of the United States has gone on and on about making “America Great Again” and now it seems that the way he plans on doing that is by putting America at odds with everyone else. Whether it’s pulling out of global climate change agreements or just lambasting leaders and politics in other parts of the world, Donald Trump has indeed set America apart once again – and for all the wrong reasons.

Currently the heated debate that is making the headlines is Trump’s ongoing word war with North Korea and the target of his ire North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The US and North Korea have never seen eye to eye and Trump has flat out said that North Korea is the United States’ top security threat. Tensions between the two have just continued to rise at an accelerated rate these past few months.

And now they are just getting worse. With North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and weapons growing in number, the US president thought it was best to remind the North Korean leader that he should not get delusions of grandeur about attacking the US or he would bring forth “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” It might seem like hyperbole but it’s enough to make anyone more than a little nervous. After all, with two leaders on the edge such as these two are it will only take a slight spark to set of chain of events that could lead to something everyone will regret.

Currently the areas that find themselves in the middle of this “war of words” include Japan and Guam. Last week North Korea announced a detailed plan to send missiles over Japan and towards the US territory of Guam. This just continues to raise the stakes because despite North Korea wanting to strike mainland America, hitting Guam would be tantamount to striking the US.

In response, Trump has only scoffed at North Korea’s claims and even the army base in Guam has brushed off the country’s threats saying that they “come from a place of fear.” The US army in Guam is confident that they could easily fend off any type of attack from North Korea should it come to that. Indeed it would be important for the U.S. to maintain a secure standing in Guam, as their position on the island is integral to their world wide military operations.

In the end, I don’t think it should be a question of whether or not Guam could handle any type of assault. The question is – why should it have to? A conflict between North Korea and the United States would not remain between the two of them alone but would affect the whole world. Japan would be the first to jump in after their air space was invaded and soon everyone else would follow suit and it wouldn’t be surprising if it became a world war. I think we can all agree that we don’t want that.

I hope that both Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un can, as they say, “get over themselves” and think about their country, their people, and the world for a change. This war of words is getting old fast and unless they both learn to take a step back from the table it’ll only be a matter of time before the pot bubbles over. A true leader would recognize that the problem is getting out of hand and would know when to stop. I can only that one, or even better, both of these leaders decide to do what is right.

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On a slightly less dramatic note, I am happy that the Senate approved the second reading for the proposed Gift Check Act of 2017, which mandates that gift certificates should have no expiry date.

To be honest, I think it’s even ridiculous that we needed to resort to filing an act like this in the first place. I have never understood why gift certificates had expiry dates before. After all, you purchased them for someone so technically the cash has already been paid to the merchant. The piece of paper is just someone claiming the goods. The cash paid to the merchant was already given and it’s not like cash is going to expire. It only makes sense that the gift check shouldn’t either.

Unfortunately a lot of the things happen in the Philippines that are not guided by common sense and for several years gift certificates were issued with expiry dates on them. I have been stung by this many times before because I naturally slipped gcs into my wallet without taking note and ended up having to toss them out when they passed their expiry – some were even as short as a few months.

I’m sure this bill is something shoppers will most definitely welcome. It will be nice to receive a gift and not have to worry about using it immediately or a ticking clock.


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