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Instant Opinion: Trump tweets ‘would be funny’ if it didn’t mean more dead

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 10 September

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The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Borzou Daragahi in The Independent

on the dangers of social media peace talks

Trump’s foreign policy by tweet would be funny if it didn’t mean more lives lost

“Predictably, Trump announced it all via Twitter, another example of the perilous and unpredictable fly-by-night foreign policymaking under his presidency. On Monday, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani sought to regain control of the peace process by telling a meeting of military leaders in Kabul that his nation were ready for peace talks, but that a ceasefire would need to be implemented... Trump’s now familiar shtick may be mildly entertaining and even relatively harmless when it’s directed at celebrities whom he accuses of not showing him enough deference. But when applied to sensitive foreign policy matters, the results can be disastrous.”

2. John Crace in The Guardian

on the swansong of a highly controversial speaker

Bercow begins his long goodbye by inflicting more Tory turmoil

“A couple of Tories from Bercow’s neighbouring constituencies in Buckinghamshire gave genuine tributes, but otherwise the love came only from the opposition benches. The Speaker was praised for his championing of backbenchers, for standing up for the rights of parliament, for holding the government to account, and for his work promoting women and race equalities in parliament. All of which were true and heartfelt, though for some reason, no one chose to mention the allegations against him of abuse and bullying. Perhaps they just forgot in the heat of the moment.”

3. Patrick Gathara in Al Jazeera

on a continent reflecting on Mugabe’s legacy

What went wrong with African liberation?

“So what was liberated, if not the people? The simple answer is the state itself. What was being fought over was less the rights of the people than the opportunity to rule over them; it was about who governed them, not how they were governed. Although many believed that the struggle against colonialism was also supposed to vanquish economic exploitation and introduce social justice, democracy and respect for human rights and civil liberties, the new overlords often entrenched an authoritarian political culture and mimicked the lifestyles of those they had succeeded.”

4. Matti Friedman in the New York Times

on how a repressed collective memory keeps Netanyahu in power

The one thing no Israeli wants to discuss

“No single episode has shaped Israel’s population and politics like the wave of suicide bombings perpetrated by Palestinians in the first years of the 21st century. Much of what you see here in 2019 is the aftermath of that time, and every election since has been held in its shadow. The attacks, which killed hundreds of Israeli civilians, ended hopes for a negotiated peace and destroyed the left, which was in power when the wave began. Any sympathy that the Israeli majority had toward Palestinians evaporated.”

5. Jen Kirby in Vox

on an ailing Russian president

Moscow’s elections dealt a blow to Putin’s party. But it’s complicated.

“Taylor told me the opposition still needs to expand its reach beyond Moscow and to give Russian voters a reason to support it that isn’t just about democracy or contested elections: Opposition candidates need to show how Putin’s corrupt system plays into the economic issues that a broader set of Russians are getting nervous about. It’s too soon to say, but if the pro-democracy opposition can build on that, the Moscow elections may be the first step.”

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