Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cheap shots: Boris

Boris with bagel, New York, February 2015. Via Telegraph.
Everybody wants to know why UK prime minister Theresa May has decided to name New York–born Alexander Boris von Pfeffel Kemal, aka Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, as her foreign secretary. One possibility is that she's confused about what a foreign secretary is. Obviously Johnson is the most foreign Conservative MP, with his Germano-Turkish roots, French particule nobiliaire, and transatlantic birthplace, and therefore the most foreign secretary she could get.

A more plausible hypothesis would be that there's some UK equivalent of Dr. William Kristol (trusted by conservatives and invariably wrong) telling her that Donald Trump is sure to win the presidency.

Life is too short for me to spend any time reading the British conservative press, so I have no idea if this could actually be true, but it makes some sense. With Britain now more or less certain to invoke Article 50 fairly soon, that Special Relationship is going to be more special than ever, and who's better set up to bond with President Trump than Johnson, whose racism is the stuff of legend—unforgettable for his references to the citizens of African Commonwealth countries as "flag-waving piccaninnies" and his expectation that when PM Tony Blair visited Congo
No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their hacking of human flesh, and the tribal warriors will all break out in watermelon smiles to see the big white chief touch down in his big white British taxpayer-funded bird.
He will certainly be one of the less diplomatic diplomats we've seen in a while. He has suggested that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin "looks a bit like Dobby the house elf" and won the Spectator's President Erdogan Offensive Poetry Contest with a rhythm-challenged limerick alleging a relationship between the Turkish president and a goat (I'm not reproducing it here, not because I disagree so much with the sentiments but because as poetry it's really uncommonly bad). He doesn't care much for Donald Trump, ostensibly (he's said he avoids certain parts of New York City for fear of running into Trump), but they have a lot in common in their love of Obama conspiracy theories—Johnson likes the Gunga Dinesh D'Souza idea that Obama is an enemy of the British Empire because he is "part Kenyan".

Indeed—given that Johnson is a natural-born US citizen* and certainly over 35—I'm surprised he's not on Trump's short list for the vice presidency. OR IS HE?

With the always diplomatic former secretary of state Hillary Clinton on the 2015 New York visit, seven years after he referred to her as "a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital".
*He announced in Feburary 2015 that he was giving up the US passport—he said to demonstrate his loyalty to the UK, but others thought it might have to do with the capital gains tax he owed the IRS on the sale of his North London house. But he's said to have settled with the IRS, and I don't see any evidence that he actually did renounce his citizenship.

No comments:

Post a Comment