Old alliances no longer reliable - Battle lines are being drawn

HAD he lived John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United Sates would have been 100 years old yesterday — even if such longevity seems unlikely for a man of his profession and legendary appetites.

Even though it’s more than 50 years since an assassin’s bullet ended his Camelot presidency, his charisma still exerts its influence.

Just like Barack Obama, who is enjoying a tour of the world’s best golf courses, Kennedy offers a startling contrast to today’s White House tenant.

Where Kennedy and Obama disarmed with grace and charm, where they expressed optimism in inspiring ways today there is a crass, empty boorishness.

This unfortunate realisation is probably behind the weekend declaration by German Chancellor Angela Merkel “the days in which we could completely depend on others are in some ways over, something I’ve experienced in the last few days”. She was speaking in Bavaria after she had returned from the G7 summit in Sicily, where she met Mr Trump.

She responded to that disappointment by saying that “Europe is a union of peace and freedom and it is worth fighting for”. Her audience, Bavarians usually indifferent to the outside world, responded with a standing ovation.

Like it or not battle lines, metaphorical hopefully, are being drawn. In time we may have to use the kind of charm Kennedy and Obama used so adroitly to avoid the inevitable are-you-with-us-or-against-us ultimatum.


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