Instant Opinion

‘A nationalistic approach to global issues does not work’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press


William Hague in The Times

Nationalism is bankrupt and has no answers

on dear diplomacy

William Hague wants to see more co-operation between nations. Recalling how, as foreign secretary, he would visit a “war-torn, godforsaken place thousands of miles from home”, he writes that “a lot of diplomacy” is “about preventing things that never happen” because “you only notice international co-operation when it’s gone missing”. Writing for The Times, he argues that “the more you see of the world’s problems, the more you understand Britain can never safely step out of them”. But “in recent years the rise of more nationalistic leaders and ideas in many places has weakened the deeper co-operation we always sought”. Never, he adds, “has it been clearer that the nationalistic, transactional approach to global issues does not work” and yet Donald Trump is “happily” plotting his return, Nigel Farage has warned that the migrant crisis might bring him back to politics, and far-right contenders jostle for the chance to displace Emmanuel Macron in France next year. “We have no choice but to work and lead globally,” he insists.


Suzanne Moore for The Telegraph

There’s no going back to ‘normal’ – we just have to live with anxiety

on the greatest denial

Suzanne Moore said she no longer believes “anyone who is certain” about the trajectory of the Covid pandemic. “All those who talk in absolutes, who stake out political positions based on pre-pandemic conditions, can safely be ignored,” she writes. “If the past two years have not enabled political parties, governments and pundits to see that new forms of cooperation rather than the resuscitation of old conflicts are necessary, then God help us all,” says The Telegraph columnist. She suggests that politicians “learn from scientists on this score”. With the rise of the Omicron variant, “the advice is muddled and we are confused once again”, she writes. But “the biggest denial has been clear right from the beginning of all this and that is the fantasy of a return to ‘normal’,” she adds. “Pandemics may burn themselves out, but it’s a matter of years, not months, and everyone’s life will have been affected.”


Io Dodds for The Independent

Farewell to Jack Dorsey, the weirdest CEO in Silicon Valley. Twitter is a reflection of his nature

on a ‘legacy of extremism’

“Silicon Valley just got a little less weird,” writes Io Dodds, because “Jack Dorsey, the raggedy-bearded, nose-ring-sporting chief executive of Twitter, has announced his resignation”. Dodds declares that “Silicon Valley is a weird place, but nowhere in its top players will you find any CEO who could so fairly be described as a space cadet”, with Dorsey even stranger than Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. “What other Big Tech chief executive has been fired from his own company for doing too much yoga?” asks Dodds, who also reminds us that rapper Azealia Banks claims Dorsey once sent her a lock of his beard hair “so that she could create a magical amulet to protect him from Isis”. Dorsey denies this story but for Dodds, the fact it is plausible is key. However, his “chief legacy”, says Dodds, will be the “extremism, polarisation and anxious cultural neuroticism that Twitter helped ignite”.


Mark J. Valencia in the South China Morning Post

South China Sea should top the list for US-China ‘guardrails’

on formidable obstacles

Washington and Beijing want to set up “guardrails” around US-China competition, writes Mark J. Valencia, but the two countries should “moderate the tone and tenor of their rhetoric” to make it happen. Writing for the South China Morning Post, he argues that “there is a particular need for guardrails for their interactions in the South China Sea, where their military forces come into frequent contact”. The scholar at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies says it is “time for the US and Chinese navies to consider an incidents-at-sea agreement” because the current code “has been ineffective in curbing incidents between the US and China”. Hints of arms talks between the two nations “holds out some hope for mutually agreeable guardrails, including an incidents-at-sea agreement”, he writes, “but the obstacles are formidable” because the sides are as far apart politically as they are geographically.


Julie Burchill for Unherd

Why writers loved to feud

on bitchy bloodsports

“There’s no bloodsport like a literary feud,” says Julie Burchill. “Writers love to be bitchy about other writers,” she argues for Unherd; “we make contestants in a beauty pageant look like Poor Clares.” She wonders why writers are so keen on feuds and concludes that it is a bid for a sense of struggle and a way of avoiding writing. “When you consider the world of work, and the boring, arduous things people do eight hours a day, perhaps we writers appreciate how easy our lives are,” she writes. “So we create trouble for ourselves in order to feel that our lives are harder than they are.” However, she wonders if younger writers will provide the “amusement” of a literary feud. “They’re too wet, and too busy having a go at JK Rowling, who doesn’t respond as she’s so far above them in every way,” she writes. “Imagine Sally Rooney having a feud, the drip!”


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