Monday, July 21, 2014
Royal News Roundup
Further south on the continent, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima signed a book of condolences for the victims of the Malaysian airliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Dutch nationals made up the largest number of the victims. Prevailing opinion has been that the aircraft was shot down by pro-Russian separatists and it will be revealing to see how The Netherlands will handle this given that they were among the most opposed, in the past, to taking economic action against Russia over events in the Ukraine. Moving further south, TM King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain paid an official visit to the North African Kingdom of Morocco last week where they met with King Mohammed VI and Princess Lalla Salma over two days. Upon returning home, the King and Queen had a night off and went to the movies but then it was back to business and full dress uniform for the King who received the credentials of a number of foreign ambassadors.
In the diverse lands of ‘Eternal Asia’ the Crown Prince of Dubai took a video of the recent “super moon” that went viral on this here internet, the Emir of Qatar went to Turkey to meet with the President and PM, calling for talks in an effort to, let us be frank, end his pariah status with the rest of the Arab royal community. He also issued prisoner pardons for Ramadan but at last report there was no word of who was included. Usually the Ramadan pardons are given out to foreign workers in Qatar. Crown Prince Paras Shah of Nepal remains in custody in Thailand after being arrested for marijuana possession (not the first time). He has been living in Thailand with his girlfriend since splitting with his wife in Singapore (his wife comes from an Indian princely family and has returned to Nepal with their children). In Cambodia, the ashes of the late King-Father Norodom Sihanouk were laid to rest in the Silver Pagoda following a lavish procession through Phnom Penh last Saturday. Crowds of people gathered, many expressing hopes that the soul of the late monarch would help Cambodia and bring the political parties together. In Malaysia (aside from this latest tragedy for their airlines) the Sultan of Selangor had some harsh words for an elected official of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party after he suggested that the Islamic Religious Council should have its executive powers removed. The Sultan called the politician “rude” and “ignorant” and suggested that he speak more carefully in the future. And, finally, last Saturday the Crown Princess of Tonga, wife of Crown Prince Tupouto ‘a ‘Ulukalala, gave birth to a daughter, their second child, named Princess Halaaevalu Mata’aho. Congratulations to the proud parents.
This past week, it should be obvious, I didn’t get a great deal of “royal” news because other events dominated the news cycle with a ground war in the Middle East and a jet liner being shot down over Ukraine. Some people have asked me about those issues and I really don’t have much to say about either one. The fighting in Gaza seems pretty ‘cut and dry’ and as for Ukraine, my position hasn’t changed on that from what it was in the beginning. There will be a lot of bluster and stern words but the bottom line is that, other than the Ukrainians themselves, no one but Russia is willing to fight over this. Western Europe doesn’t want to challenge Russia nor do most people in the United States and I am firmly in the majority on that one. It doesn’t involve American interests or security, the USA doesn’t have a good track record in foreign policy from my standpoint and I don’t want to see anymore American forces be asked to fight and die and get their legs blown off for countries that despise them. We’re talking about a bunch of governments that I do not approve of on either side, it is not the state of affairs I would prefer nor is that currently within the realm of possibility. As far as who is to blame for this, it seems clear to me that the pro-Russian rebels shot it down but that they didn’t know exactly what they were shooting down and I don’t think Putin had anything to do with it as he’s not intensely stupid and would know that such an act would only make things more problematic for him. There are people who should be outraged over it, but they don’t seem to be, at least not enough to do anything about it and, frankly, if they don’t care I see no reason why America should. And that’s all I have to say about that.