Phrase of the week

May 23, 2014 at 4:45 PMMichele Mottini

…Mr Broun, who accuses Mr Obama of wanting to uphold the Soviet constitution—one of several remarks that might baffle swing voters.

The Economist in ‘Squawk before you can run’

Posted in: Opinion

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Repeating the past

April 5, 2014 at 11:11 AMMichele Mottini

I am reading ‘The Sleepwalker: How Europe Went to War in 1914’. It is pretty good, and (ominously?) describe a situation that seems in many ways similar to the current one.

Some choice quotes – page 145:

British policymakers proceeded from the assumption that whereas British imperial interest were ‘vital’ and ‘essential’, German ones were a mere ‘luxury’

Page 163, describing the content of a British Foreign Office report:

But whereas British hegemony was welcomed an enjoyed by all and envied and feared by none….German hegemony would amount to a ‘political dictatorship’ that would be ‘the wreckage of the liberties of Europe’

..view the wars, protectorate, occupations and annexations of imperial Britain as the natural and desirable state of affairs, and the comparatively ineffectual maneuvers  of the Germans as gratuitous and outrageous breaches of the peace.

Page 165:

…during the years 1860-1913, the German share of the world industrial production increased fourfold…. In Britain, the words ‘Made in Germany’ came to carry strong connotation of threat…

Replace ‘Britain’ with ‘USA’ and ‘Germany’ with ‘China’ (or Russia in some cases) and it all sounds pretty familiar.

Posted in: Opinion

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State of the Union

January 30, 2014 at 5:19 PMMichele Mottini

I watched Obama’s State of the Union speech the other night. As in previous year it left me with a sort of general bad feeling, and I could not identify the cause (I usually quite like Obama’s speeches).

I think I figured out what’s bothering me: the undertone of these speeches – and in some case not just the undertone – is that the US is different and better than any other country. As a foreigner that can be a bit upsetting.

I just watched the end of the year speech of the Italian president: there are patriotic references, but this ‘our country is best’ stuff is not there at all.

Posted in: Opinion


Phrase of the week

January 26, 2014 at 9:31 AMMichele Mottini

The second incarnation of Mr Brown [as California’s Governor] … has been marked by a relentless pursuit of the possible and a serene neglect of everything else

The Economist in ‘Bark if you don’t like deficits’

Posted in: Opinion

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