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August 14, 2022

Davos on Twitter (II)

Here are some of the ideas that were circulated, the ‘substance’ of the talks involving two or several personalities, ‘fragments’ of thought of personalities with huge global responsibilities, so on and so forth, as Twitter unveils them to any Internet user. EU’s ‘Foreign Minster’ Federica Mogherini was telling, on 22 January, to C. Amanpour, according to her Twitter, that The EU will stand united in keeping up its pressure on Moscow’. The same night, after reaching Davos, Carl Bildt, was telling his own followers that ‘Everyone discussing ECB monetary move. Sharply divided views. History will judge.’  The next morning, Carl Bildt was attending the traditional Ukrainian ‘breakfast’ occasioning an interesting discussion: ‘Question at Ukraine breakfast: What does Putin fear? Nato? EU? True answer: He fears a Maidan in Moscow’. However, the same Swedish statesman was noting that the talks were focused on what was happening in Saudi Arabia, from where the news on the death of the Saudi sovereign had just come. He notes:  ‘King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia should be remembered also for the historic Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 – by him as Crown Prince’. Still on 23 January, John Kerry says he ‘shared’ in Davos that ‘world can’t sit back & assure ourselves that extremism is containable. No country insulated. Must counter at roots’. On Kerry’s speech, Carl Bildt notes on Twitter that the chief US diplomat ‘lays a very ambitious long term effort at state and stability building across very wide areas’. And Bildt writes at the end of the day of 23 January: ‘Ended this Davos day with Mongolia President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdor and Yahoo! Party. That’s the way things are’. The same day, Bill Gates wonders: ‘In 15 years, we went from no space program to boots on the moon. What can we do in 15 more? ’His reference goes to the statement made by scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson

On possible mankind achievements in the next 15 years. Because, by comparison, between the preparations for the launching of Yuri Gagarin’s Sputnik back in 1957 and Neil Armstrong’s ‘small step’ on the Moon, mankind proved a maximum progress capacity. Tyson wonders and gives the answer: ‘Will there ever be the end of war? Perhaps. The end of hunger? Perhaps. But you have to envision it first…. That’s where change comes from.’ On the Davos participants’ Twitter, the following day the novelist Paolo Coelho was urging his supporters to read ‘in 20 seconds’ a text of his own highlighting a troubling experience, full of human eternity, having for protagonists two famous painters, Matisse and Renoir (‘Ever since he was young, the painter Henri Matisse used to visit the great Renoir at his atelier every week. When Renoir was crippled with arthritis, Matisse began to visit him daily, taking food, paintbrushes and paint, always trying to convince the master that he worked to hard. He needed to rest a little. One day, noting that each brush stroke made Renoir groan of pain, Matisse couldn’t stay silent: ‘Great master, your work is already vast and important. Why continue to torture yourself that way?’ ‘Very simple,’ Renoir answered. ‘Beauty remains; pain ends up passing’. ). Still on 24 January, Kenneth Roth was wondering alongside numerous participants ‘Big Q at Davos: Will Putin’s ‚massive support’ dissipate as economic reality breaks thru his media monopoly?’ His reference is to an article run by NYT the same day, saying that Russia was avoided at Davos, that ‘Russian businessmen said privately that their meetings this year in Davos were almost exclusively with Chinese, Indian and Middle East partners or potential investors. The Europeans and Americans so strikingly absent from Mr. Kostin’s opening-night party were barely on the agenda.’ It is not so much an isolation of the big Eurasian power as it is the fact that its action in Ukraine harmed its traditional links to Europe and the US. One of Russia’s richest oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska, said from Davos, on a Russian TV station (‘Russia 24’) that Russia of today is ‘somewhere between 1993 and 1995’ regarding its economic issues (remember the unbelievable economic collapse of the big Eastern power during those years, the legions of Russian migrants besieging Eastern European markets and ad-hoc fairs to sell the cheap goods produced by the dying former Soviet economy?)   ‘There is only one positive point: It is clear that it will be bad,’ – Deripaska said, adding ‘The worst is yet to come.’

During the Davos summit, history continued to develop fast. The most obvious proof of that fact is the re-opening of the war in East Ukraine something that can be very accurately followed on the twitter of Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko. On 21 January, Poroshenko was at Davos, and, based on his notes, he met up with several personalities that day: the OECD head, Dutch PM m. Rutte, IMF Director C. Lagarde, Turkey’s PM A. Davutoglu (who ‘has emphasized that Turkey didn’t recognize the annexation of Crimea‘), with Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang etc. In an interview offered to a US TV station, we can decipher his state of mind: ‘We demand peace from Russia and ask the world to help us’. We can equally decipher the state of mind and his message to the international community from other Twitter entries: ‘We need well-coordinated efforts of the entire world to win this battle’; ‘About 9000 Russian militaries are in the territory of Ukraine‘;’ For me it is a symbol of terrorist attack on my country. Terrorism is a worldwide foe but we will win!; Ukraine won’t negotiate with Russia ”; “Since December 9th unilateral “silence regime” announced by #Ukraine, separatists and #Russian backers have launched over 1,000 attacks”’; ‘Time and again, #Putin has extended an olive branch in one hand, while passing out Grad missiles & tanks with the other.”;” It is time to pull the veil away from #Putin’s peace plan & call it for what it is: a Russian occupation plan.”. The Ukrainian President’s Twitter posts depict in real time the accumulation of indications of a launch of Russian aggression against the city of Mariupol on 22 January 2015. ‘True tank battles have taken place. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have won these battles. If the enemy is not willing to comply with the ceasefire regime and put an end to the suffering of civilians, we will fight back.’ On 23 and 24 January, Poroshenko’s Twitter gave the first concrete data on the new edition of the aggression, as well as his determination to resist with the support of international community: ‘Murder of tens of civilians in Mariupol by pro-Russian terrorists is a crime against humanity; International coalition supporting Ukraine must be resolute in condemning terrorists’ crimes.”; “International coalition supporting Ukraine must be resolute in condemning terrorists’ crimes.”; “ We stand for peace, but we accept the enemy’s challenge. We will defend our Homeland as true patriots. And to complete victory”;   ‘World wake up Russia invaded Ukraine’; ’So-called DNR and LNR must be declared terrorist organizations’. The president becomes on 25 January concerned about both the publication of information on the Russian attack and the need for foreign support: ‘We will not let terrorists create chaos on the Ukrainian land – evil will be punished’; ‘Wherever you’re, pls light a candle today to mourn victims of Mariupol act of terror;’ Joining sanctions against Russia is just the beginning. We work on further steps along with the world community.’; ‘ Ukraine has evidence of Russia’s involvement in Donbas crimes’; ‘As agreed with @FedericaMog, EU Foreign Affairs Council has been convened to discuss the terrorist attack in Mariupol. It meets on Thursday.’

So, thanks to the Twitter of a personality who participated in the Davos summit we came real time witnesses, having the privilege of a highly accurate source of information, to the development of an event of continental and even global importance.

Twitter walked into international diplomacy through the front door and is accessible to urbi et orbi as an example of the augmented transparency characterising our epoch. More and more diplomats and politicians will gradually need to use Twitter to legitimate themselves and prove their responsibility, and history will undoubtedly take a different course in time.



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