Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the July 1, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

If North Korea is saber-rattling on the part of their dear leader, here we are titillating. But you can call what is happening in the Philippines as also saber-rattling. Well, on the Korean side they’re also titillating. Pero mas maganda yung ating expression. – Fidel V. Ramos

Former President Fidel Ramos refuses to go away. Before he left for a conference in Mumbai, he advised Gloria Arroyo to ‘fess up and reveal her plans post-2010. Upon his return, he suggested to Arroyo that she try to resolve the impasse over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“Our efforts should be on the diplomatic side because we have diplomatic relations with North Korea.”

He said it would be worth her while to mediate the conflict because, if the situation deteriorates into a nuclear face-off, trade among Asian nations will suffer.

“That is the biggest damage that could happen in the Philippines.”

He also reminded Arroyo that there were 50,000 Filipinos who live and work in South Korea.

Arroyo should listen to Ramos. He is not making light talk. He has seen her attend all sorts of international conferences dishing out unsolicited advice to world leaders on matters ranging from the global financial crisis to global warming. He believes she can talk some sense into Kim Jong-Il.

She could be the right person to do it. My research showed that Kim and Gloria are soul mates.

A backgrounder on Kim, prepared by Global Security Org., shows that Kim, like Gloria, is a micro-manager.

“Kim Jong-Il micro-manages every detail of government business. Kim Jong-Il created a system of summarizing an account of events from all over North Korea into a daily report format during consolidation of his power within the party. Even county or municipal parties are to report directly to the party center if the event is deemed significant enough to warrant its attention. (Party center is the term North Koreans use to refer to Kim.)

And they have similar personalities.

“Kim Jong-Il’s impatience and extemporaneous behavior contrasts markedly with Kim Il-Sung’s magnanimity and charisma. The elder Kim was mindful of advice from others, while Kim Jong-Il is arrogant and self-centered in policy decision. In addition, the junior Kim does not take kindly to criticism or opinions different from his own. Kim Jong-Il’s personality can be characterized by suspicion, and is extremely emotional in his expression of his likes and dislikes, which borders on double personality.”

Further investigation uncovered more parallels.

They both majored in economics; he in Marxist political economy, she in capitalism and neither one of them has anything to show for it other than a “military-first” policy to maintain power amid economic decay.

Both have dealt head-on with their countries’ hunger problems. Kim heard about rabbits the size of dogs so he decided that breeding giant rabbits was the solution to North Korea’s famine. Gloria’s husband saw that many of the nation’s hungry were toothless so he decided to donate free dentures to those with nothing to eat.

Kim spends his country’s resources on nuclear power development. Gloria spends it on political power enhancement.

Both appreciate a good drink. He gets drunk on Hennessy, she on power.

Both are avid golfers. His propaganda bureau claims he routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one each time he plays a round. She does not publicize her scores but, like Kim, she has a propaganda bureau that will tell you anything she wants you to hear.

Kim is retiring for health reasons.  She is not retiring, also for health reasons.

The list of similarities is far from complete.