Wednesday Night #1794
Only one week and how drastically the world’s mood has changed!
A week ago, WN was decrying (with more than a bit of wry humour) the just-announced unlikely – unseemly? – news of Boris Johnson an Undiplomatic Pick as Britain’s Top Diplomat and casting an eye on the predictable reaction of China to the ruling by The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration against that country’s worrisome stealthy attempts to gain control over the China Sea. Do see David Kilgour: The Rule of Law and the South China Sea for a good round-up of the situation.
Note our misgivings about BoJo seem to have been well founded Highlights From Boris Johnson’s Excruciatingly Awkward Press Conference
And then all Hell broke loose with the horrendous news from Nice Eighty-four people, including 10 children, were killed on Thursday night when a 31-year-old French Tunisian attacked Bastille Day celebrations in Nice by speeding a truck for 2km (about 1 mile) along the crowded promenade.
As we were still trying to absorb the implications of events in Nice, came the news of the attempted coup in Turkey whose resolution has given way to massive retaliation (arrests, firings, dismissals) by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – see Erdogan’s purge . Turkey’s allies are justifiably worried about the consolidation of power in the President’s office and the commentariat has had a field day analysing the consequences for the EU, NATO, the Middle East crisis and relations between Turkey and the U.S. in light of Erdogan’s demands that Fethullah Gülen be extradited to Turkey.
One common thread, invoked by Dani Rodrik, is that “the coup’s failure will thus bolster Erdoğan’s authoritarianism and do little good for Turkish democracy. Had the coup succeeded, however, the blow to democratic prospects surely would have been more severe, with longer-term effects.” Debatable?
There are even those who sotto voce suggest that Erdogan may have quietly encouraged the coup attempt to give him the free hand to consolidate his power.
This week’s Republican National Convention offers little solace, but some bitter humour. The blowback from Melania Trump’s ill-advised attempt to write her own speech (How Melania Trump’s Speech Veered Off Course and Caused an Uproar) has given rise to devastating memes on the Internet, great fodder for Stephen Colbert (Melania Trump Did Not Plagiarize Her RNC Speech), along with some seriously nasty personal attacks. But of course, for the Trumpsters, it’s all Hillary’s fault. It certainly was not what the Trump team had hoped for on opening night. The second night’s speeches were somewhat more successful in getting things back on track G.O.P. Convention Day 2 Takeaways: A Party Unites, at Least for a Night – Tiffany Trump’s treacly tribute to her father was actually greeted with some enthusiasm and Donald Trump Jr. offered more policy statements than his father ever has – the use of “we” was a bit worrisome however. Finally, the odious Chris Christie delivered a real barn-burner. While we strongly dislike the tone and content, not to mention the mood (frenzy?) that it incited in the crowd, we must admit that it accomplished its purpose, whether or not his accusations were valid (Chris Christie Made a Case Against Hillary Clinton. We Fact-Checked.)
And so the depressing circus continues.