Being Historic Without Being Significant: Is it possible?

“What?  Korea?  In Singapore?  Should I have cared?  I have only noticed that Rodman is crying like a baby…”

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Stop Repeating Yourself, O Israel

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“To the Jews of Palestine, though, the Ishmaelites must have seemed altogether more promising agents of deliverance than the Persians had ever been.  They might have been wild asses among men – but they were at least distant cousins.”

“Unsurprisingly, then, in the wake of the Jews’ redemption from the threat of forced baptism, their enthusiasm for the new order seems to have flared with some flamboyance – and to have a familiar focus.  Jerusalem, that perennial object of Jewish longing, had been lost to the Romans along with the rest of the Holy Land.  The Arabs – who, in a curious show of antiquarianism, insisted on calling it Illy’a, after its old pagan name of Aelia Capitolina – were quick to mark it with their own stamp.  To Christian horror, the ancient ban on Jews entering the city’s sacred limits – which dated back to the heyday of the pagan empire and which Heraclius had pointedly renewed – was revoked.  Work also began on clearing rubble and refuse from the holiest Jewish spot of all – the Temple Mount.  No surprise, then, that Umar, ‘the second king who arises from Ishmael’, and the man who had given the order, should have been hailed in breathless tones by one rabbi as ‘a lover of Israel’.”

Tom Holland “In the Shadow of the Sword”

Mooch speaks

Screen Shot 2018-04-19 at 8.50.20 AMあまりにスキャンダラスなノイズばっかりが先行・蔓延していて、David Brooksおじさんも言うようにアンチ・トランプ側の言い分も、トランプ支持派と同レベルのおバカになってきた観があるので、まじめにトランプ政権側の言い分を聞いてみる機会は貴重と感じる。

10日間だけトランプの報道官だったスカラムッチ氏によるトランプ政権支持論。なるほど、こうしてアメリカの選挙民に「今そこで起こっていること」を説明し、支持を涵養するのか...と気づきが多い。

好むと好まざるとに関わらず、日本の安全保障はトランプにかかっている部分が大きいので、無視はできません。超大国の周辺国には辛い時代ですな。安倍さんのことを思うとき、フィンランドの大統領Risto Rytiを思い出してしまう。

“A quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”

It seems to be a fashionable trend, especially amongst my left-leaning friends, to jeer at the latest western military action in Syria as the cynical attempt at statesmanship by desperate politicians.

But I cast my mind back a few years and wonder if David “You Decide” Cameron had had some semblance of leadership to act on Obama’s urging in 2013, instead of throwing the matter carelessly to the headless chickens in the Commons, there might have never been a refugee crisis of the proportion we have been forced to witness, resulting in the nationalist tendencies across Europe, culminating in the Brexiteers’ victory in 2016.

“How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here because of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.” (Neville Chamberlain, 27 September 1938)

Bigger Than That

As the main promoter of CPTPP and the rule-based global trade policy, which underwrites peace among the nations, Japan cannot bow to the pressure to move towards haphazard bilateral trade agreements or, more to the point, personality politics, which seems to sustain both the president and these media talking-head types attacking him.

Statecraft is greater than Trump, Putin or even Emperor Xi.

Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

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Maintaining High Standard in the face of Fire and Fury

The Decline of Anti-Trumpism

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“I mention these inconvenient observations because the anti-Trump movement, of which I’m a proud member, seems to be getting dumber. It seems to be settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information. More anti-Trumpers seem to be telling themselves a “Madness of King George” narrative: Trump is a semiliterate madman surrounded by sycophants who are morally, intellectually and psychologically inferior to people like us.

I’d like to think it’s possible to be fervently anti-Trump while also not reducing everything to a fairy tale.

This isn’t just a struggle over a president. It’s a struggle over what rules we’re going to play by after Trump. Are we all going to descend permanently into the Trump standard of acceptable behavior?

Or, are we going to restore the distinction between excellence and mediocrity, truth and a lie? Are we going to insist on the difference between a genuine expert and an ill-informed blow hard? Are we going to restore the distinction between those institutions like the Congressional Budget Office that operate by professional standards and speak with legitimate authority, and the propaganda mills that don’t?

There’s a hierarchy of excellence in every sphere. There’s a huge difference between William F. Buckley and Sean Hannity, between the reporters at this newspaper and a rumor-spreader. Part of this struggle is to maintain those distinctions, not to contribute to their evisceration.”

O SCMP…

US, Japan risk China’s ire courting Taiwan ahead of Trump-Xi summit

Thank you, the People’s Daily HK Edition, for pointing out the obvious… oh wait, it’s a Bloomberg article, copied and pasted, with a different headline.

Elsewhere… “Ivanka Trump – the US president’s new China charmer-in-chief“. This one seems to be written by their staff writer.

“Mainland state media have also been quick to heap praise on Ivanka, including a strange tweet last month from Xinhua that compared her face with that of Chinese actress Li Bingbing.”

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Charming… but one of them is security-cleared for the Executive Mansion, lest we forget.