Final Word from Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Skripal affair was full of amateurism on all sides, but the Britons knew what they wanted and made a convincing case to their allies. Despite all the unanswered questions, the U.K.'s friends stood by its side and rarely wavered. An ally, after all, is an ally. Compare the Skripal case with the Kerch Strait affair. The antagonist (Russia) is the same, but the "good guy" this time is of a completely different caliber. It isn't the government of Theresa May or the British intelligence services, it's Petro Poroshenko standing basically alone. His fundamental argument, if you break it down, is that Vladimir Putin has decided to start a war that will help get Poroshenko reelected. To mobilize the forces of good, Poroshenko called this morning in Bild tabloid of Germany for Nato countries to send ships to the Sea of Azov and for more sanctions to be imposed immediately. His partners are paying lip service but aren't looking for a war, at least not yet. Sen. Tomáš Jirsa of ODS summed it up well for Czech TV: "The situation is on a razor's edge, with two madmen facing each other." One of whom is our good friend.... [ Czech Republic European Union Television Vladimir Putin ]

Glossary of difficult words

with friends like ... who needs enemies - said to or about someone who claims that he or she is a friend but who is treating one badly or behaving badly;

antagonist - a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary;

to waver - to be undecided between two options or courses of action;

to pay lip service to - to express approval of or support for (something) insincerely or without taking any significant action;

on a razor's edge - in a tense situation, esp. one finely balanced between success and failure.

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