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Timing

AFTER eight years in the White House, America’s first black President, Barack Obama, will vacate his post in January 2017. Around the same time, UN Secretary General Ban Kyi-Moon will step aside for his successor. In Europe, cracks are appearing in the EU after Brexit, with murmurs of a looming Frexit and Departugal.

All this, while our President, who has made no bones about harboring no love lost for those mentioned above, is just warming his seat, good for another five and a half years in Malacañang.

So maybe telling the heads of the US, UN, and EU to back off – a euphemism or homonym? – from criticizing Rodrigo Duterte for his war on drugs was not a slip of the President’s tongue, to put it mildly, but a calculated risk. Mr. Obama will be succeeded by either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Mr. Ban will be replaced by the top diplomat of Portugal. The EU will roll along with its prospects and problems, principally how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of refugees knocking on the doors of a slew of countries with different political systems and social structures.

Will DU30’s rants against Messrs. Ban and Obama carry over to their successors? Hopefully not. America is bracing for “change” after next month’s elections – a campaign line that sounds eerily familiar to us over here – while the UN will be so lost in a stockpile of geopolitical, mostly humanitarian, issues that it is doubtful the new leaders will yield to their masochistic tendencies and remember what their predecessors heard from a faraway place called Manila.

Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief continues to address soldiers and policemen – obviously his favorite audiences – reminding them that no other President has done as much for them. Salaries doubled, brand-new Glock pistols, scholarships for the children, bigger budgets for their hospitals, a windfall brighter than Christmas and then some. Is he courting their favor to prepare them for a declaration of martial law?

Juan Ponce Enrile, forever identified as the “architect” of martial law, smiles at the question. At a recent Samahang Plaridel forum, he said, “Martial law today would be meaningless – it’s a tiger with the skin of a tiger but no teeth.” (Jullie Y. Daza)

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