In­ter­est­ing times in store as global events take even stranger turns

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - OPINION -

WHILE very un­der­stand­ably much of the pub­lic, me­dia and po­lit­i­cal fo­cus here has been on the ap­palling Cer­vi­cal Check scan­dal, there are some hugely sig­nif­i­cant events un­fold­ing across the globe. One of the most bizarre is the dual for­eign re­la­tions strat­egy that is be­ing fol­lowed by US Pres­i­dent Donal Trump who might be about to bring peace to Korea while si­mul­ta­ne­ously plung­ing the Mid­dle East into ut­ter and ab­so­lute tur­moil.

What seems like an age ago – all the way back in 2002 – for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush in his State of the Union ad­dress in­tro­duced the world to the ‘Axis of Evil’ a tri­umvi­rate of Iraq, Iran and North Korea that, Bush claimed, threatened the peace of the en­tire world.

We all know what sub­se­quently hap­pened to Iraq and its un­for­tu­nate peo­ple.

Now the for­tunes of its part­ners in Bush’s ‘axis’ ap­pear to be veer­ing off in sharply dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions.

North Korea – whose despotic young leader ap­pears con­fi­dent that his nu­clear blus­ter has se­cured his regime’s sur­vival – is closer to peace with its south­ern neigh­bour in decades and there is a gen­uine in­ter­na­tional view that, this time, the talks might just work.

That this re­mark­able turn about on the Korean Penin­sula is largely down to Don­ald Trump’s out­landish, ag­gres­sive and com­pletely un­pre­dictable ap­proach to in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions makes the sit­u­a­tion all the more bizarre.

Mean­while in Iran – which is in the midst of an in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent face-off with Is­rael in Syria – Don­ald Trump’s un­usual take on ‘diplo­macy’ and his de­ci­sion to pull the USA out of its peace deal with the Is­lamic repub­lic have seen ten­sions soar to dan­ger­ous heights not seen since the days of Ay­a­tol­lah Khome­ini.

A war in­volv­ing the US, Iran and Is­rael is wor­ry­ingly close and the Mid­dle East – al­ready en­gulfed in war, slaugh­ter and suf­fer­ing – could be about to go over the cliff al­to­gether and de­scend into to­tal chaos.

A key player in the mid­dle eastern drama is another man who has had an in­ter­est­ing week, Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Putin.

Last week Putin was sworn in for what will, sup­pos­edly, be his fi­nal six year term as Rus­sian pre­mier.

Given the ten­sions be­tween Rus­sia and the west it is likely to be a tu­mul­tuous six years in the Krem­lin.

And given his pre­vi­ous ac­tions, if Putin is to leave pol­i­tics in 2024 – which is far from cer­tain – who knows what lengths he might go to se­cure his do­mes­tic legacy be­fore he fi­nally sur­ren­ders his Krem­lin throne.

In another fa­mous Amer­i­can speech, this time back in 1966, Bobby Kennedy made ref­er­ence to an old, of­ten mis­quoted Chi­nese curse which says ‘May he live in in­ter­est­ing times’.

As was the case in the mid six­ties we are once again liv­ing in in­ter­est­ing, if not some­times down­right ter­ri­fy­ing, times.

Lets just hope that sense can pre­vail and that things don’t get any more ‘in­ter­est­ing’ in the weeks and months ahead.

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