Another habit-forming vice
After all the bluster, the Philippines has caved in to terrorist demands and agreed to pull its troops out of Iraq (via The Belmont Club). The public reaction is not wrong; but President Gloria Arroyo’s government should have anticipated it. It should not have sent troops to Iraq in the first place, when it knew that it would be political impossible to handle a negative fallout. Caving in now destroys the facade of a hard-nosed approach to tackling terrorism that Arroyo was so trying to project.
Yet it is a hard-nosed approach that the Philippines needs more than ever. Its inability to put down a militant insurgency in its southern islands has partly been due its softness in handling hostage-taking incidents by terrorists. The emotional world of Filipino politics has resulted in it acquiring a habit of appeasing terrorists.