World View: Suicide Bombers Target Egypt's Police

This morning's key headlines from

  • Suicide bombers target Egypt's police after massive street riots on Sunday
  • Turkey builds a wall along the border with Syria
  • Russia's divine sense of exceptionalism

Suicide bombers target Egypt's police after massive street riots on Sunday

Army checkpoint in Sinai in mid-July (Reuters)
Army checkpoint in Sinai in mid-July (Reuters)

Ever since Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi was deposed in an army coup on July 3, the Egyptian people have hoped that the level of violence would settle down, but that doesn't appear to be happening. Gunmen and suicide bombers made multiple attacks on Egypt's security forces on Monday, including a gun attack that killed six soldiers in Ismailia, a Suez Canal city, and a bombing at security headquarters in southern Sinai kill four people, on the other side of the Suez Canal. It comes after clashes on Sunday between security forces and armed civilians, mostly Morsi supporters, resulted in the killing of 51 people. Al-Jazeera and AFP

Turkey builds a wall along the border with Syria

Turkey has criticized Greece closing the border with Turkey, forcing thousands of would-be immigrants wanting in Turkey wanting to enter Greece to risk being smuggled across the Aegean Sea. And America's fence on the border with Mexico has been mired in controversy. So it's of interest that Turkey is building a two-meter high wall topped with barbed wire fencing along its border with Syria. The wall is expected to span just a fraction of Turkey's 560 mile border with Syria, but after 500,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed over into Turkey since the start of the Syrian civil war, Turkey feels the need to do something. However, Turkey says that it will maintain its "open door" policy to those fleeing the fighting in Syria. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Reuters

Russia's divine sense of exceptionalism

Last month, the NY Times published an op-ed written by Russia's president Vladimir Putin in which he criticized the concept of "American exceptionalism" as being dangerous in today's world. But, in fact, it's Russia that has a sense of not just exceptionalism, but exceptionalism derived from God. Recently, President Obama said that America was exceptional because it is not indifferent to human suffering. But that's quite different from Russia's glorification of the quasi-divine status of the Russian state. It's holding this view that let's him do things like invade Georgia, as he did in 2008, and annex two of Georgia's provinces.

Russia's sense of exceptionalism arose after the fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottomans in 1453. Constantinople (today's Istanbul) had been the Greek Orthodox Christian successor to Rome after the fall of the Roman Empire. When Constantinople fell, leaders of Russia took on the burden of leading the Christian world as the "third Rome." (In fact, the world "Czar" or "Tsar" is derived from the word "Caesar.") Russia took on the role of the defender of Jerusalem almost fanatically, and that was a prime motivation for Russia's disastrous involvement in the Crimean War, its generational crisis war in the 1850s.

Its next crisis war, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, there was a harsh adverse reaction to the Crimean War, and not only was the Tsarist state destroyed, but the Russian Orthodox Church itself was almost destroyed, as Russia became an "atheist" Communist country. The Church began to revive in the 1940s with World War II, which was an Awakening era war for the Russians, albeit a particularly brutal one. Since the 1990s, Russian leaders, led by Putin, have sought to revive the special role of the Russian Orthodox Church, allowing the combination of Russia and the Church to return to the state of "exceptionalism" that, in Putin's words, might be dangerous in today's world. Foreign Policy Research Institute

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