Conservatives misguided after Ferguson shooting
- 12 August 2014
A review of the best commentary on and around the world...
There are sensible conservative responses to the ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri following the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Unfortunately, writes the National Review's Charles CW Cooke, many of his ideological brethren are going about choosing another route.
Instead of cautioning against a rush to judgment, denouncing the rioting as counterproductive or offering evidence that white-on-black violence is not prevalent, he writes, many seem eager to point out that black-on-black violence is the real problem.
"It is indisputably true that the United States has a problem with blacks killing blacks," Cooke writes. "And yet this has absolutely nothing to do with the question at hand, which is: 'Did a police officer unjustifiably kill an unarmed black man in Missouri?'"
"It is feasible, is it not, to be worried about the internecine violence in America's inner cities and to want to get to the bottom of an allegedly unwarranted shooting? So why the conflation? After all, whether or not it is intentional, reacting to a community's grief by raising an entirely separate topic smacks largely of distraction - of reflexively throwing up a roadblock to what is a legitimate line of inquiry in the hope that the subject might swiftly be changed."
Police shootings like the one in Missouri "open old and real wounds", Cooke says. Conservatives should acknowledge that.
Moreover, he adds, police shootings have the "imprimatur of the state", which makes them more disturbing than civilian violence:
"Even if the United States did not boast a history in which blacks were routinely disfavoured, beaten, and even murdered by the governments that were ostensibly established to protect them, there would still be something distinct about being killed or hurt by a man in uniform."
With Cooke's criticism in mind, then, consider the following passage from an on-the-scene in East St Louis, Illinois, piece by National Review's Kevin Williamson that also currently appears the magazine's website:
"'Hey, hey craaaaaacka! Cracka!White devil! F*** you, white devil!' The guy looks remarkably like Snoop Dogg: skinny enough for a Vogue advertisement, lean-faced with a wry expression, long braids. He glances slyly from side to side, making sure his audience is taking all this in, before raising his palms to his clavicles, elbows akimbo, in the universal gesture of primate territorial challenge. Luckily for me, he's more like a three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg, a few inches shy of four feet high, probably about nine years old, and his mom - I assume she's his mom - is looking at me with an expression that is a complex blend of embarrassment, pity and amusement, as though to say: 'Kids say the darnedest things, do they not, white devil?'"
New York magazine's Jonathan Chait offers his take on what he sees as the racist overtones of the piece:
"When the writer … decides the best comparison for a young black kid's behaviour is a monkey and to gratuitously question his parentage, there's really not much question, is there?"
Kim Jong-un's martial arts campaign - North Korea is using theatrical martial arts videos to show that their army is "ready for any threat", writes Vice's Sascha Matuszak.
Viewers are treated "to that special North Korean mix of reverent-bordering-on-hysterical narration, alternate reality Communist hype track and stuntin' on your many imaginary foes", writes Matuszak.
The videos, he says, are meant to show North Koreans and the world that the country is resilient and durable.
"They can absorb all that the mighty imperialist enemy can throw at them, and still advance on to victory, utilising traditional martial arts techniques and the indomitable juchen (self-reliant) spirit … a message which speaks to the core of North Korean political and social ideology," he concludes.
Russian food import ban is a major setback for globalisation - At one point globalisation seemed inevitable and irreversible, says the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum. With Russia's ban of agricultural imports, however, the open world economy seems on the verge of coming undone.
"A large country that contains internationally traded companies has decided it prefers a territorial war with one of its neighbours to full membership in the international economic system," she writes.
The Russian government has decided that national honour is more important than having the lowest prices for food, she says. "If it can happen in Russia, it can happen elsewhere, too."
Turkey's new prime minister big plans - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected Turkey's president on Sunday, and he plans to create what he calls a "New Turkey", says the Hurriyet Daily News's Murat Yetkin.
"He wanted to consolidate all the executive power in his hands, and now he has the chance and capacity for that after taking the Presidential Palace on top of Cankaya Hill in Ankara from Abdullah Gul," Yetkin writes.
Mr Erdogan's victory means Turkey will shift from a "parliamentary to a strong presidential model ", Yetkin says. This will allow him to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy "at a time when the region Turkey is a part of is burning in flames".
Central bankers in Australia could sink the global economy - Australian central bankers may be too confident, according to Bloomberg's William Pesek, and their mistakes could have worldwide implications.
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens is making some wrong moves, says Pesek, such as objecting to a decrease in interest rates, which was followed by an increase in the country's jobless numbers.
"Central bankers are the only ones doing anything to maintain growth these days," writes Pesek.
Overconfident central bankers have caused economic trouble throughout modern history, Pesek warns. Australians should take note.
BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day
US President Barack Obama called China "a superpower that no one expects to intervene" during an interview with the New York Times. He added that China had been "free riders for the last 30 years". This comes after Mr Obama told the Economist in an interview published last week that the West must be "pretty firm" with China, as Beijing will "push as hard as they can until they meet resistance". Several Chinese commentators have responded to the statements.
"China's contribution to the world in the past 30 years is widely seen - it has provided the basic necessities for its population of 1.3 billion people without outputting any refugees to the world. This is China's single biggest contribution internationally.... As a head of state for Obama to casually accuse China of not having done anything', either he is ignorant or he has ulterior motives." - Wang Dehua in Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times).
"In the face of a China with an ever-increasing strength and given the fact that the US can neither defeat China in a war nor ignore China entirely, there is no doubt that the US can delay China's development by shifting some of its responsibilities to China." - Ling Shengli in Haiwai Wang.
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