Tuesday, April 11, 2023


Fake news and misinterpretation are invading bona fide reporting or commenting.  

Lately a lot has been said about supposed parallels between the Taiwan and Ukraine situations and the respective roles of China and Russia therein. This falsehood, both for reasons of history, facts, and ambiguity (the Shanghai communique versus stated, recognized independence) is invading the discourse. The only thing that the two have in common is that neither is the aggressor.

We enter a most delicate phase in world politics. The United States are entering presidential election and will have to deal with distractions that come with it and with Republican bad faith that Trump will surely encourage and inflate, to distract from his judiciary encroachments.

China will take advantage of every window of opportunity to force doors that were closed. Its role in the Iran/Saudi ''reconciliation'' arrives in what was considered Washington's realm. MBS' pique against Biden carries greater weight than the irrevocable antipathy between Shia and Sunnis. 

The end of globalization is the trendy topic of today's conversation. In macro- economic terms this is not true. Capital is too hard to domesticate. Short-term political interests are another matter. Western hubris is a thing of the past. Clusters  multiply and they are no longer rooted in a long-term, shared perspective. They are solely based on short-term cashing-in on opportunity without gravitas.

Even the EU suffers from the sordid goings-on in Brussels. Macron in China looked suddenly small. Ursula von der Leyen played her part well but she was more listened-to than allowed some form of engagement.

China grabs and is impervious to criticism. Russia is an ugly antique but it is too heavy to be moved. America remains the chief entertainer thanks to its endless creativity and a knack for getting itself back on its feet whenever it catastrophically fails. Europe is the Sunday sermon: listened to and forgotten.

International affairs are not a rattle, they are a harpoon. Too many speak too much about what they know too little. The cocktail and gossip skills are things from the past, witty in retrospect but embarrassing now. At least Versailles and Sevres can be attributed to the superficiality of most and to absurd the messianism of President Wilson. President Roosevelt gave the world a roadmap with too many vetoes. When the Berlin wall became a relic of the past, the world got tipsy but forgot to clear house and paid scant attention to the many that were never consulted and who benefit today from China's ''largesse''.

So yesterday's winners are the duped for now. They are better at soft-power but events show that hard-power talks loudly and that history, unlike Latin, comes in handy.

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