My Blog Week: July 7 to July 13
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A Word on the Week
You Sweet Talker
I begin with the diplomatic contretemps that led to British ambassador Kim Darroch’s resignation. Let’s stop to imagine a leader (who doesn’t, among other things, blame his inability to hear himself speak on the teleprompter), saying, “Leaks of confidential communications between diplomats and their governments ask for nothing but condemnation. I will be meeting with the ambassador, and with my secretary of state, to discuss the relationship, the damage done, if any, and our way forward.” Of course if Darroch, as per this Politico article, once called President Trump “absolutely charming”, we might wonder whether the British have lost the art of the ambiguous insult (“Mr. Trump has demonstrated surprising skills in office”; “Mr. Trump has had many occasions to prove himself resilient to criticism”).
In one of my book-in-progress, a pivotal character has reached a turning point. He has always obeyed the law (in spirit, if not strictly in letter). He has believed in this, as a line that can’t be crossed. Circumstances have him entertaining the idea of crime, of making his living that way. And he sees how the largest problem in his life would be solved; that there is mobility in lawlessness. In fiction, this is an interesting proposition. What about reality? If America’s economic sanctions are going to bear weight, we have to remain courtable. Our favors have to be desired.
People who comply with laws can get around where non-compliers can’t…and vice versa.
There are tariffs, and they can be applied to useful purpose—but no one on the paying end likes them. There are blockades, but these are difficult to maintain without creating a humanitarian crisis, normally (and we hope always) unacceptable. There is military retaliation, but not without escalation, bombs in response to policy disputes. Soldiers who die are not, any more than civilians, responsible for their leader’s choices. Any nation that finds back-channels a viable consideration, may see advantage too in freedom from surcharges and regulatory controls. A theoretical channel is less effective than a “built” one.
At some point (maybe a year-and-a-half from now), America will have to sign on again to international agreements our show-runners have abandoned. We still have a store of goodwill…but Iran will by then have a store of enriched uranium. A thing they would not have had so much of, if we’d stuck to the deal.
Racism has no place
Our president has told an elected representative to “go back”… To Somalia, we may suppose, if this is the result of “looking into” Rep. Ilhan Omar. Any candidate, either Democratic or Republican, or any person yet thinking of running, needs to offer strong words in answer to this, to be not tardy about doing so, and to not use conditional statements for the sake of appeasing any group.
On Monday, a poem, “October”, one not attached to any series. Tuesday’s Sequence of Events had Florrie Quincy confronted with family duty; on Wednesday, a new episode of Yoharie, with Trevor and Val discussing conspiracy. Thursday, in Catastrophe, some letters from Saint-Pierre, written by those expecting death. Friday and Saturday, two parts of the Tourmaline story, “Promoted to Exile”, in which Herward gets a rise in rank and an unhappy assignment.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: July 7 to July 13
Poetry Foundation: Bill Berkson, “October”
Sequence of Events: Anarchy (part one)
Yoharie: Existence (part one)
La Catastrophe de la Martinique: sixty-four
Promoted to Exile: Fifth Tourmaline (part one)
Promoted to Exile: Fifth Tourmaline (part two)