Flat White

Rock and roll realpolitik

4 July 2018

6:21 PM

4 July 2018

6:21 PM

Welcome to world politics where, as the old song used to go, ‘It’s a little bit tyranny, a little bit rock and roll.’

And the world now is a little bit rock and roll, isn’t it?

I mean, whom was that slouching through Singapore airport during the recent US-North Korea Summit? All body piercings, and Keef attitude to support his bestie Kim Jong-un? It’s former basketball bad boy Denis Rodman surrounded by breathless media wanting to know what basketball tips he will give Kim who as we know is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Next thing you’re jokingly thinking he will go the full Oprah and cry about his feelings for Kim and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula on CNN while talking to the Serious CNN Reporter. Oh hang on, he just did.

Meanwhile, on another planet Robert De Niro gets up at the Tony Awards in front of an audience of wealthy actors to announce ‘F#ck Trump.’

America is home of the brave and this is very brave because saying something like this in Pyongyang about the benevolent leader could get you shot. Pity he’s in New York.

Things really have changed in this rock and roll world politics we live in. And just like some old rock stars throwing the television set out of the twentieth floor of the hotel for the thirtieth time to ensure the media caught it on camera nothing should really surprise us.


Let’s go to Q&A for an answer where on a recent episode it was argued that we should dump the Americans as our key ally and go with China instead. Because – you know – Trump America and Communist China are exactly the same things (except that Trump is definitely worse).

Let’s take that as a comment.

To add to that moral confusion everyone is now upset that the US has decided to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, despite its dubious membership and excessive focus on Israel over other obvious human rights abuses in other nations.

So what makes a baby-faced NBA all-star tyrant and other rogue non-democratic nations so ok?

Well, they’re Not Donald Trump – which is a powerful thing in the world today. There are stand-up comedians, musicians and other very attractive people on television currently making a living out of being Not Donald Trump.

We’ve played this high rotation music download before. Remember last year when the Not Donald Trumps went quiet when Trump stated his support for Hijabless woman and the protests underway in Iran? His support meaning that the usual suspects went all passive-aggressive mute in their own support?

Tyrant love is no new thing – Sean Penn with Saddam; Oliver Stone with Chavez, everyone with Castro.

But it is all Hollywood – the sexual frisson is palpable and it goes way back.

Libyan tyrant Moammar Gaddafi was often noted for the way he rocked a mock uniform with sunglasses just like Maverick out of Top Gun. The fact that he had a personal bodyguard of attractive young women to service him left female journalists cooing rather than going all #MeToo about it.

And Vogue once ran a puff piece on Asma al-Assad, hot wife of Syrian monster with medical degree Bashar titled ‘rose in the desert’ though eventually, the piece was spiked once the geniuses at Vogue realized Bashar was doing a lot of spiking and gassing and murdering of his own.

Such misplaced affections and pathological confusion shouldn’t totally surprise. A new Centre for Independent Studies poll found 58 per cent of millennials favour socialism over capitalism and a significant number have no idea about the great socialist monsters of history – Mao, Stalin and Lenin.

Thank God for French President Macron for trying to restore some gravitas to the whole world politics thing when he told an overly familiar teen to address him as ‘Mr. President’ or ‘sir’. Which led to one serious columnist to claim this exposed the previously groovy president’s lack of cool. Seriously?

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer

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