It is not necessary to be even vaguely partisan to be disappointed that America’s Republican senators who sat in judgement of their president, and aspiring second-term president, ignored Donald Trump’s gross abuses of power and collusion with autocrats.
By doing so they, as expected, brought House impeachment proceedings a step closer to an inevitable, empty conclusion.
Trump will not be vindicated — the evidence is over-powering and utterly against him — but he will escape.
He will also understand that there is, as yet, no abuse of position or power that today’s supine, self-serving Republicans will not defend. He has been given licence to continue his attacks on American democracy and that country’s once-reliable rule of law.
Twitter will glow with his faux indignation.
In response, economist Paul Krugman wondered if this might be the week American democracy died and, answering his own question, suggested “quite possibly” as “Senate Republicans are … about to acquit him without even pretending to look at the evidence, thereby encouraging further abuses of power.”
Those dismal lines were written before the disastrous Iowa Democratic caucuses implosion suggested that Trump’s opponents are so disorganised, so inept that they may not, despite every open-goal opportunity, deny Trump a second term.
This must set alarm bells ringing and not just in America.
Imagine, if you dare, a Trump emboldened and freed from the constraints any first-term president aspiring to a second term might feel; imagine how a second victory would confirm his idea of himself as a “very stable genius”?
Batten down the hatches indeed.
If the prospect of Trump II is not sobering enough, then consider UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s sharp U-turn in divorce negotiations strategy.
Where not so long ago he promised a “great voyage” leading to peace, prosperity, and friendship, he now promises the kind of confrontation that can only lead to a the hardest of hard Brexits.
This ploy, which his opponents insist is designed to distract from all the undeliverable promises he and his party made during December’s election, may have huge consequences for this island.
It is hard to know what we, and the rest of the world, did to deserve Donald and Boris at the same time.