The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
By Alec Hogg
In an excellent editorial during the height of the English cricket season three months ago, The Economist referred to the current batch of global politicians as “the Second Eleven”. The cream, it opined, no longer sees politics as a viable career option. US president Donald Trump continues to prove the magazine right.
In a speech last week at the United Nations, Trump created a whole new country – Nambia – whose healthcare system, apparently is “increasingly self-sufficient.” To make sure nobody missed the point, later in the address Trump referred once more to “Nambia”.
Was he referring to Namibia? Or Zambia? Perhaps Gambia? Or did he just miss an “i” and not realise it mattered? Nobody knew for certain, including Namibia’s president Hage Geingob who was in the room when Trump spoke. Ever the diplomat, when quizzed about it the US-educated Geingob refused to comment.
Trump joined a long list of politicians who should have spent more time with an atlas. His Republican predecessor George W Bush very publicly mixed up Austria and Australia; Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi did the same with Slovenia and Slovakia. And last year the UK’s foreign minister Boris Johnson referred to Africa as a country. Damn speechwriters…
Cyril Ramaphosa: The Audio Biography
Listen to the story of Cyril Ramaphosa's rise to presidential power, narrated by our very own Alec Hogg.