So we just wrapped up a dismally depressing, terrifyingly evil Republican National Convention. It was an event that seemed concocted specifically so that reporters could attend and then write about it in horror, with dreadful ideas and terrible people flooding every street, every part, and every delegation.
And sure, there were a few fun, weird moments. Melania’s speech-plagiarism was incredibly strange. Ted Cruz refusing to endorse Donald Trump was a blissfully dickish move. And the party for gay Republicans, headlined by sad-sacks and lined with photos of twinks, is the sort of thing we’ll be shaking our heads at for days.
But the party was also a bit of distraction from some truly troubling developments overseas. It may be fun to dwell on Mike Pence’s belief that Mulan harms the youth of America by teaching kids that girls and boys are both capable of achieving things — but check out what’s going on in some other countries.
For example, there was the installation of Boris Johnson as the new foreign secretary in the UK. You might not be familiar with Boris, but he’s a real piece of work — a disheveled-haired idiot, graceless and mean, analogous to Donald Trump if he were a snob.
He’s relatively unknown in the United States, but in England, he’s loathed. And so when United States Secretary of State John Kerry flew to England for a joint press conference, the reporters didn’t hesitate to get nasty. One of them asked Kerry how he could trust a man who out-and-out lies — Kerry simply grimaced. Another brought up some of the terrible rhetoric Boris has been responsible for: Saying that Hillary Clinton has “dyed-blonde hair and pouty lips, and steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital,” for example.
That’s not a bad turn of phrase for an insult comic, but it’s appalling to come from the mind of the foreign secretary. Johnson, characteristically, refused to apologize. He said that his words were misconstrued, as if he could possibly have meant that as a complement. He also had nothing to say about the President of Turkey, about whom he once wrote a limerick about fucking a goat. But he did manage to call Turkey “Egypt” twice.
But there’s something far more troubling going on over in the Baltic states. For a long time now, Putin has been licking his lips at the region, making military moves that suggest he might be interested in reassembling the states that once formed the Soviet Union — particularly the countries very close to Europe.
President Trump may allow him to do just that: When asked by the New York Times if he’d defend those countries against a Russian invasion, Trump said that it depended on whether they’d pay for it. This is insane, because for seventy years we’ve had an agreement — North Atlantic countries will defend each other from countries trying to take over the world. The United States is already committed to helping states attacked by other superpowers, and has been for longer than most of us have been alive. What’s more, those countries have on multiple occasions helped the United States: after 9/11, they sent resources to patrol airspace and naval passages; and they also sent resources to help the United States in Afghanistan.
Even Mike Pence, Trump’s vice presidential nominee, is in some international trouble. This week it came to light that he once defended countries that jail and execute homosexuals. Back in 2009, the State Department wanted to encourage other countries to decriminalize homosexuality — but not only was Pence opposed to that, he introduced an amendment that would have stripped that language from State Department funding altogether.
Whether Republicans are getting actively involved in international politics, sitting back and doing nothing, or just inspiring loathsome counterparts, there’s no limit to the ways they’re making the entire world worse.
(Featured image via Matt Brown/Wikimedia Commons.)