Wednesday, 14 February 2018

odonym or diplomatic cul-de-sac

Via Tyler Cowen’s always engrossing Marginal Revolution, we find ourselves acquainted with the Cold War-era brinksmanship that’s currently undergoing a resurgence in the form of insulting street-naming. Though the provocation is probably best exemplified by Moscow’s proposal to re-designate the square where the US embassy is located as “1 North American Dead End,” Russia isn’t acting alone and not on the offensive.
A month prior, the US reflagged the block of Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC that hosts the Russian mission as Boris Nemtsov Plaza, after the opposition leader that was gunned down just outside the Kremlin in 2015. Moreover former Super Powers are not the only Titanics fighting over one iceberg—with Beijing having suggested to re-name the street passing in front of America’s diplomatic headquarters after Edward Snowden. While there’s enough petulance to go around, there’s apparently also sometimes a few overtures towards bridge-building—as it were—with Ankara calling the address of the US embassy “Olive Branch” ahead of a scheduled visit by the—as it were—top diplomat of the Trump regime, a rather backhanded welcome as it is the codename for the offensive against the US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria. It is doubtful anything good comes of that and the rebuke at large is bound to continue.