Rhetoric failure

I haven’t posted for a few days, thanks mostly to having been in studio all week. I’ve barely seen daylight.

Anyway, I’m catching up with news a little, and I’m struck by how ill-prepared we are for the whole Iraq situation. Nothing to do with military materiel, nor political will, nor even moral objectivity. No, we’re unprepared on the level of rhetoric. The arguments being put forth are being put forth astonishingly badly, little of passable coherence issuing from either side.

More troublesome, however, is that the magnitude of what we’re facing is genuinely hard to get one’s head around, and harder still to express. Forget Iraq – the whole US/Europe, UN/’cf. League of Nations’ melànge is a flabby mess. A week or so ago the usually rather sober BBC were reflecting that NATO might not survive the Turkish situation; today, they’re suggesting that the UN Security Council showdown will ‘shape international relations for a generation.’ Well… sure. but that’s not a large step from ‘answer hazy, ask again later.’

Years ago, I watched Live Aid, Mandela walking out of prison, and the Berlin Wall being torn down. I saw revolution in Romania, and dock workers in Warsaw. I’m not sure I want to see France vs. the US in New York. In part because I can’t help but think Britain’s on the losing side, whoever prevails. Blair’s played a masterful game and probably averted war for the last six months, but he now seems trapped in a pincer movement.

I say this: ugh.

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