Fiery temper of two world leaders

INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak - The Philippine Star

Sometimes I have to remind myself that we are living in 2017. There are days when I look at the newspaper and see that the superpowers of the world are at each other’s throats, there is rampant inequality between races, and that we could be on the verge of war every day. It’s like nothing has changed in the last 80 years. Are we still at a point in our history where African Americans are feeling persecuted? Are women still fighting for their rights? Sometimes it’s shocking that we’ve come so far in so many aspects and yet stayed the same in so many others.

Today the US and North Korea are engaged in an ongoing verbal battle that has been hogging the international spotlight. And rightfully so because this little word war could go on and affect everyone on the planet. It seems ridiculous that the fate of millions of people could rest on the actions of two men who are acting more like children than like leaders. As much as we would like to stay out of this immature exchange, we can’t because the rest of us care and want to make sure that no one “pushes the button.”

Personally I believe a diplomatic approach is the only one worth exploring. Much like our differences with China I feel that strong words and temper tantrums aren’t going to resolve the issues between the US and NoKor. In fact, they will probably only make things exponentially worse for everyone. I hope that the peaceful approach being utilized by the United Nations bears fruit and soon. We all want to be able to sleep again at night without worrying that the world will be horrifically different when we wake up.

However, it does seem pretty futile to hope that the third party intervention – in this case the UN – will make a big difference. Trump and Kim Jong Un are the same type of leader who do and say what they want when they want to. This is actually what has caused so many of their problems in the first place. If they don’t listen to the advice of those closest to them whom they claim to actually trust then why would they listen to an impartial third party? Still, I hope the UN can make headway and turn things around.

Just recently the UN Security Council voted unanimously to take action and warn North Korea against further nuclear tests lest it face a strict trade embargo and other international sanctions. However, this may have been an empty threat to NoKor and its leader who is only focused on furthering his nuclear deterrent plan. He is fixated on proceeding with testing and claims to be looking to test North Korea’s H-bomb capabilities in the open seas.

Kim Jong Un needs to seriously rethink this because not only will it cause other countries to finally fully address the security risk North Korea poses but it could also cause severe damage to neighboring nations – South Korea, Japan, and even North Korea’s close ally China. I hope that NoKor reconsiders its plans. I think as far as Kim Jong Un’s end goal, he has already achieved what he primarily wanted and he has made his point quite clear.

North Korea’s blustering is all about providing security for the country from unwanted US pressure and interference. Kim Jong Un obviously fears suffering the same fate as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Ghaddafi, and other foreign leaders who earned the ire of Washington. For him, nuclear weapons are Pyongyang’s way of preventing America from destroying the DPRK.

And oddly enough President Trump has fallen for the bait and matched Kim Jong Un insult per insult instead of seeing what the Supreme Leader is actually trying to achieve. By addressing the issue regularly and with such force all Trump has done is legitimize North Korea’s nuclear program – in fact he has made sure that the world knows that NoKor’s “Rocket Man” is now one of the big boys so-to-speak.

This works in nicely with how Kim Jong Un wants to be perceived in the global political arena. The leader has undoubtedly spent so much time trying push anti-American propaganda down the throats of North Koreans and warning them about the “American threat”. Donald Trump promising to “destroy them all” has only added to their already growing skepticism. Trump has made it all to clear that he sees no distinction between Kim and the people – to him they are one and the same and he won’t hesitate to wipe them all off the map.

Trump obviously believes that he can scare North Korea into submission. This is a dangerous tactic because it won’t work. It will just give North Korea every excuse they need to take the heated debate to the next level. Again, I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail.

*     *     *

Respectfully, I think that Majority Leader Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte is out of his mind. Not only does he want Congress and Senate members to be immune from traffic infractions but he now additionally wants legislators to have their own special police force separate from the PNP and paid for by the taxpayers.

Why should the taxpayers shoulder the additional expense of a special legislative police force to protect congressmen, senators, and their families and relatives up to second degree of consanguinity when there are still so many far greater problems the country needs to address? It’s quite sickening to see that Fariñas is continuing to set himself and the other members of the House and the Senate above the people who voted them into power in the first place. Doesn’t he realize that his job and his main accountability are to the people? He continues to put his needs over those whose needs he is supposed to protect and promote.

I hope this ridiculousness is nipped in the bud. The House should focus on far more important things that ensuring they can break, with impunity, the very laws they themselves create.

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