Sticks and stones
Archived Articles 31 Aug 2009  EWR
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Russia needs to play nice
Europe.view column, from Economist.com


NAUGHTY and tiresome children like insults (both overt and needling) as well as implausible and elaborate excuses. “He wouldn’t give it to me and it was mine anyway and also I was going to give it back so I hit him”.

As your columnist’s children grow up, the need to untangle their tantrums, feuds and nonsense is becoming pleasingly rare. Sadly, the same can’t be said for some grownups.

Start with the needling. As Paul A. Goble, a foreign-affairs analyst, noted this week, Russia’s president Dmitri Medvedev has pointedly used the preposition “na” [on], favoured during Soviet times, rather than the more recent “v” [in] when referring to Ukraine. That is the sort of thing that children do: habitually mispronounce someone’s name in order to irritate them.

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