Jun 24, 2024

Philippine New President Rodrigo Duterte and President Benigno Aquino III ended his term on June 30

Like El Nino, the winds of political change are gusting across the planet, disrupting the status quo of governance in many countries.

In France, Marine Le Pen, head of the nationalist, anti-immigration party Front Nationale, has led France’s rightist party in surging from an almost insignificant party not too long ago to a strong contender in the 2015 regional elections.

 In Austria, the candidate of the ultra right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer, like Le Pen who campaigned on a hard line anti-immigration policy, nearly made it the country’s top post. He lost by a very narrow shave.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan succeeded in re-interpreting the anti-war clauses embedded firmly in the post-World War II Japanese constitution at the insistence of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. As a result, Japan now is able to engage its well equipped and modern Self Defense Forces outside its shores, something unthinkable in Japan just a couple of years ago.

Voters chose to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union. UK was a vanguard of the pan-European movement that eventually led to the creation of EU. But a deep resentment about its present EU role and influence, widely felt across Britain, pushed ‘Brexit’ to victory. Britain's exit from the EU will be disastrous not only to Europe, but to the global economy as well. Britons seemingly do not care about that.

There's also the conflict in Syria and its neighbours. And as the world is worryingly aware of, ‘The Donald’ may yet be the next guy (and Melania the next gal) to occupy the White House.

At home in the Philippines, 39 percent of our compatriots elected an outlier (at least from the point of view of oligarchs) to succeed Noynoy Aquino [outgoing President Benigno Aquino III]. Du30 ‘The Punisher’ [incoming President Rodrigo Duterte] appeared from nowhere to become our next leader. He has yet to be sworn into the presidency, but has already managed to rock the status quo on many fronts and dared many established institutions to defy him – the Catholic Church, the press, journalists, big business, even the nation’s closest allies the US, Australia and Singapore. Lately, he has rattled Malaysia with his comment about our Sabah claim. More fun in the Philippines?

The winds of change blowing across the continents have been brought about by the swelling of anger and disillusion among peoples. They are up in arms against the status quo and present world order that have left multitudes around the globe totally disenfranchised by income inequality or left behind in poverty, while public officials who are supposedly their protectors continue to dance with the oligarchs and wallow in ill gotten wealth. Social media has aided the surge of discontent. Remember the Arab Spring that led to the ongoing vicious war in Syria? Remember Occupy Wall Street?

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