One way of defining brinksmanship is to say that it is “the art or practice of pursuing a dangerous policy to the limits of safety before stopping, typically in politics.”
It is a timid and rather treacherous ploy where the one attempting brinksmanship will attack his opponent in a way that can be later denied or claimed to be within the bounds of what is legal.
Some would say that it is a neurotic (or passive aggressive) way of subverting authority, where one feigns the appearance of being friendly or helpful but in reality is working stealthily to mess things up in order to advance their own selfish interests.
At the moment that the one employing brinksmanship is called out for their suspicious behavior, they defend themselves by denying that they are trying to mess things up by claiming they were actually trying to help by providing honest feedback or they were merely being critical collaborators.
Often, those employing brinksmanship will also use others to implement their schemes in order to be able to deny any involvement in a plot to attack their rival.
In the case of the #LeniLeaks controversy, people whose actions and pronouncements clearly identified themselves as people who are against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte openly talked about calling for his resignation in order to disguise secret moves to remove the president from office.
If I were to speculate, I would say that propping up what would be made to appear as a strong “resign Duterte movement” would be among the precursors to calling on the military or military adventurists to take up arms to force the president out of office.
Of course, those “investing” in such a plot could reap enormous power later, especially if the one succeeding Duterte were under their strong influence or even control.
The only way to thwart brinksmanship and other neurotic passive aggressive attacks is to call it out and dare those involved in it to cross a proverbial line.
The risk of calling out brinksmanship is that any treacherous attack that may be called out will be denied.
But in the case of those clearly opposed to President Duterte, such a denial will be unbelievable and they will only reveal themselves as being the lily livered cowards that they are.
PCO Secretary Martin Andanar did the right thing by sending a strong, thundering signal which resonated across all news media that the administration will not tolerate even a hint of an attempt to subvert its authority.
In an interview with Karen Davila, Andanar dared those plotting against President Duterte to come home and face the music:
You did not give our president six months of honeymoon, you did not respect that tacit agreement… you never gave the president that honeymoon period.
despite the fact that media was so noisy, some of the media was not fair in reporting what the president was doing… people of the republic of the philippines believe in the president…
What do you want to do? Do you just want to force your way to Malacanang?
Given that meron tayong freedom of expression, dapat respetuhin nila ang mandato ng taong bayan kay President Duterte.
If we find out that they are really part of this scheme, we will go after you. If you are in America and enjoying the cold winter nights in New York City, just make sure that when you come home to the Philippines… that you face the music.