The 20th century in two short quotes

I really must apologize for neglecting these cables. Deliverables and festivities have left little time for analysis. UR thus degenerates into Across Difficult Country—a bring-your-own-brain blog. Fortunately, I sense, few here lack that organ.

Emerich de Vattel, 1758, The Law of Nations:

But a people that has passed under the dominion of another is no longer a state, and can no longer avail itself directly of the law of nations. Such were the nations and kingdoms which the Romans rendered subject to their empire; the generality even of those whom they honoured with the name of friends and allies no longer formed real states. Within themselves they were governed by their own laws and magistrates; but without, they were in every thing obliged to follow the orders of Rome; they dared not of themselves either to make war or contract alliances; and could not treat with nations.

Charles Rivkin (*), 2009, 09PARIS1767:

Our current relationship with France is so profoundly healthy that conventional wisdom now asserts that there are no significant differences in the foreign policies of our two countries.

Suffice it to say that there’s a fine line between healthy and creepy. M. Vattel, from Wikipedia:

Emerich de Vattel (April 25, 1714—December 28, 1767) was a Swiss philosopher, diplomat, and legal expert whose theories laid the foundation of modern international law and political philosophy.

Ambassador Rivkin, from Wikipedia:

Charles Hammerman Rivkin (born April 1962) is the current United States Ambassador to France… Rivkin earned a B.A. (international relations) from Yale University, where he sang with the famed Whiffenpoofs … In September 2005, Rivkin became the president and chief executive officer of W!LDBRAIN, an entertainment and animation production company whose television series include Yo Gabba Gabba! and Higglytown Heroes. Rivkin served as an executive producer of Yo Gabba Gabba!, which airs on the Nickelodeon and Noggin cable networks.

(*—as a general rule, the name on a State cable reflects the VIP who authorized the cable, not the anonymous elves who actually wrote it. Secretary Clinton, for instance, does not draft cables—though it’s not entirely farfetched that her lips, being after all human, might emit such a sentence as, speaking entirely in the hypothetical tense, “what pills is that bitch on?”—which pithy inquiry, entering the auditory canal of one elf and bouncing thereupon to the inbox of others, might indeed emerge in the nuanced diplomatic form of a cable.)