Two perspectives on Our Present Situation: Gideon Rachman and Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: a comment by Political Observer

Here is Gideon Rachman,at The Financial Times, from his column of December 28, 2015, in the grip of an almost unmanageable rhetorical hysteria, the title gives the game away,

Battered, bruised and jumpy — the whole world is on edge’

and then the the sub-title,

‘Not one global power is optimistic and even in America, which should be cheering, the mood is sour’

but be prepared for what reads like Mr. Rachman at his most unhinged! The opening paragraph is worthy of full quotation:

In 2015, a sense of unease and foreboding seemed to settle on all the world’s major power centres. From Beijing to Washington, Berlin to Brasília, Moscow to Tokyo — governments, media and citizens were jumpy and embattled.

Compare this to Mr. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s essay,dated December 30 2015, Mr. Evans-Pritchard is International Business Editor of The Daily Telegraph, titled,

‘The world’s political and economic order is stronger than it looks’

and its sub-title ,

‘Stefan Zweig tells us in The World of Yesterday what it feels like when the wheels really do come off the global system’

The opening three paragraphs of  Mr. Evans-Pritchard’s essay strike a measured,  if not optimistic tone:

‘Readers have scolded me gently for too much optimism over the past year, wondering why I refuse to see that the world economy is in dire trouble and that the international order is coming apart at the seams.

So for Christmas reading I have retreated to the “World of Yesterday”, the poignant account of Europe’s civilisational suicide in the early 20th century by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig – the top-selling author of the inter-war years.

From there it is a natural progression to Zweig’s equally poignant biography of Erasmus, who saw his own tolerant Latin civilization smothered by fanatics four centuries earlier.’

Can history offer insights into the present?

Political Observer


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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