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24 november 2017, you don’t know what you’ve got til...

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

This week's charlemagne (my alter ego, see 25 august 2012, eur in or eur out) insightfully bemoaned how despite everyone's best efforts, brexit risks destroying the northern ireland consensus, because its open border, allowing everyone to be irish or british citizens and range of all-island institutions were steps shrouded in constructive ambiguity. Some questions are best left unanswered concludes the colomnist, which brexit's hard choices make impossible. After 2 decades of relative peace and tranquillity, our complacency over how things can change for the worse is remarkable, though perhaps not to the people of ukraine, syria or myanmar. Or indeed yugoslavia, who seemed a proud, successful and tolerant society just years before descending into all-out war that killed hundreds of thousands. In europe. In the 1990s. The last echo of that was heard this week, as ratko mladic, murderer in chief of some 8000 at srebrenica, was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. He will now die in jail a criminal, like slobodan milosovic, radovan karadizic and 158 others, the crowning, and last, achievement of the war crimes tribunal in the hague. My optimism of 2011 though (see 26 may 2011, mladic) is rather less today in a world where nationalism, putin and trumpian realpolitik seem to make all the running. What chance of similar convictions in a decade for the butchers of syria and myanmar ? Like british economic stability, international law and order is something we are far too complacent about and risk carelessly throwing away before too late realising the consequences.