Editorial: A law to save the planet from pathetic political pontificating


London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned "Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next ...

London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed.” Evidently, Donald Trump heard only part of the statement.

EDITORIAL: Maybe it’s time for something drastic.

Perhaps there’s a need for an addition to the body of law regulating the conduct of hostilities, making potentially damaging political opportunism in times of conflict an offence. A new Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, maybe?

Far-fetched? Almost certainly. Unnecessary? That’s an entirely different question. Because the main reason for the suggestion is a politician whose behaviour not only suggests his grip on reality is tenuous, but constantly threatens to fan the flames of conflict, even as the world’s grown-up politicians try their best to dampen down hot-spots.

US President Donald Trump slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan for comments he made after the London Bridge terror attack, ...

JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

US President Donald Trump slammed London Mayor Sadiq Khan for comments he made after the London Bridge terror attack, but took the comments out of context.

It would be a law for the digital age, without question. A law primarily for one man, Donald Trump, though he operates less in a vacuum than in an enabling echo chamber of sycophants willing to back his ill-informed bluster and buffoonery. And his ranting emboldens others of his ilk to spout even more reprehensible views.

For those tempted to raise the point that there’s not actually a war on, the same Americans who put a man described in a Washington Post opinion piece this week as “impulsive and cruel, without an ounce of class or human decency” in the White House would be quick to tell you there is; the “war on terror”.

And it’s in that context that his latest offensive outbursts have come. You’ve heard about them, of course, in the aftermath of Sunday’s terror attacks in London. There have been Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip reaction tweets, like the frankly brainless one pointing out no gun debate had been sparked by the attacks because “they used knives and a truck!” but failing to understand how much worse the free availability of firearms would have made the situation.

 

 

Worse, though, have been his out-of-context attacks on London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Initially he criticised him, alleging he had told Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed”, but ignoring, probably deliberately, that he was telling them not to be alarmed by an increased police presence following the attacks. Then he accused Khan of a “pathetic excuse”, when he responded with the obvious context, adding that the mainstream media he calls an enemy was “working hard to sell it”.

The only “pathetic excuse” in play here is the self-absorbed, juvenile excuse for a president attacking a real leader showing real leadership, damaging international relations in the process and threatening to making the unfolding situation a whole lot worse.

It’s fervently to be hoped that enigmatic US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson departed after Tuesday’s whistlestop visit to Wellington with a message from New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English about how concerned this country is by the behaviour of the leader he represents. It’s doubtful it will have any effect, but short of a law Trump could be brought to book under by the international community, it’s the best weapon we have.

        

      

 

 


 – Stuff

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