A worrisome suicidal tendency
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-06-12
I’ve kept this observation to myself until now.

However, too many events have unfolded to worry me that Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) may just have a suicidal dark side to her character. National leaders with a suicidal dark side tend to bring their country down. They inflict immense suffering on their people.

The best example of one such suicidal national leader was Adolf Hitler who recklessly plunged Germany into World War II barely 20 years after Germany lost World War I.

German Blitzkrieg may have covered up the reality of Germany’s no-win situation with a series of initial victories. France fell and Great Britain may have been overrun too if not for the British advantage of being an island separated from the European continent.

However, instead of negotiating for a peace settlement after the German defeat in Stalingrad and in Africa, Hitler dug in and a year later even launched a desperate last offensive which was to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. This was a move that definitely reeked of suicidal death wish.

Again, Hitler could have prevented the massive destruction of Germany right after the Allied Forces made their successful Normandy landing on June 6, 1944. After the Allied defeat in Operation Market Garden (September 1944) in Belgium, that would have been a good time to go for a peace settlement — right after your enemy has tasted what you can inflict on him.

But again, Hitler ignored the facts and pursued the war even if he was already running out of soldiers and had to resort to enlisting teenagers. These were all acts of a national leader with a suicidal tendency who was prepared to have his people share his death bed with him.

As a result, German cities were unnecessarily razed. Over half a million Germans were killed by the Allied bombings. In the end, Hitler committed suicide.

Other than dictatorial tendencies, GMA bears similar Hitler traits. Lying is one of them. Failure to accept facts (and persistence to live in a fantasy world) is another. Then there is the megalomania ‑ in the case of GMA the desire to be projected in the best light, even if all pretense, and to display superiority over her minions, like berating and humiliating them in public.

Most of all, both Hitler and GMA have the ability to assemble thugs around them. You can easily find the counterparts of Himmler, Goebbels, Goering, Eichmann, et al in GMA’s inner circle, operators and her Congress and Senate defenders.

She occasionally calls for an all-out war in Mindanao, a war we can hardly afford. She persistently pursues a failed anti-Communist insurgency program while disregarding a successful anti-insurgency formula. She places the country at the mercy of superpowers like the US and now China. She irrationally adheres to globalization and World Bank policies despite its disastrous effects on our economy. These are some of the more glaring instances that lead me to fear that GMA, like Hitler, could be suicidal.

It may not be a conscious attempt to destroy us all. Suicides are psychiatric disorders and those who take their own lives are rarely in their normal selves. But if true, the effect will be just as deadly as what Hitler did to Germany.

How else do we also consider the recent bullying of the members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCC) during last Friday’s televised inquiry into the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). Do you think that these foreign investors were treated that way without the blessings of GMA?

And yet, these JFCC members, especially those who are investors in the power sector, are badly needed if we are to avert the expected 2010 power crisis. So why treat them that way?

She is the first to emphasize the need to attract foreign investors. In fact, she uses this as her main reason for not addressing those mega issues like the ZTE scandal and the Spratly’s sell-out to China. So, how else could this recent maltreatment of foreign investors be interpreted but as another manifestation of suicidal tendency?

How about the recent appointment of former Pampanga Governor Mark Lapid as officer-in-charge of the PTA (Philippine Tourism Authority)? Mark Lapid had such a lackluster term as Pampanga governor. He has a reported pending case in the Ombudsman. His educational background is at best suspect.

So why appoint such a questionable person to head a vital cog in the government agency that shepherds the now booming Tourism industry?

Here is one healthy and fast developing Philippine industry. It has attracted three times the number of tourists we have been getting since the 1980s. It has been creating many jobs where most of our other industries have been downsizing. Still a mere fragment of what our neighbors in ASEAN have been registering ‑ we can easily double our in-bound tourists annually.

Do you think Mark Lapid is the man who will bring our tourism potential into full fruition? Or will he be the man who will derail our tourism momentum?

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