Frank here with the latest news of Dutchness. Today is the day when the Dutch enter the international stage, flex their muscles and stare down their opponents in the manliest ways possible… before delivering an honest and heartfelt apology (or not). Needless to say, there might be making amends to Russia (more on that later), but it seems that Putin will have to get in line, because first, we apologized to Indonesia. The Netherlands has had a strained relationship with its former colony after all the exploiting and the murdering we did there. Today was the day when our minister of Defense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert offered her personal apologies for stopping a weapons deal with Indonesia. Last year, the Dutch government refused to sell 80 obsolete Leopard tanks to the East-Asian country, on grounds of the alleged human rights abuse against Papua. Hennis did not think a parliamentary apology was needed, because the tank-blocking was made on legitimate concerns over the use of the weaponry, but she did deem it fit to offer her personal apologies. Go sportsmanship! I guess?
Then there’s Russia. It isn’t exactly like back in the good old days of the Cuban Missile crisis, but tensions between East & West have been somewhat on the rise lately, especially over that whole Syrian Civil war thing. Yesterday we already reported about the Russian demands for an apology from the Netherlands over the alleged police brutality against the Russian diplomat Dmitri Borodin. The Dutch minister of foreign affairs Timmermans has boldly said “How about no?” to Putin and stated that he deems it appropriate that we first wait until an investigation has brought to light just what happened during the arrest and detention of Borodin. No word if he made use of the opportunity to ask about the whereabouts of two Dutch members of Greenpeace who have been in Russian custody for weeks now on charge of piracy.
AFTERNOON UPDATE: Despite his earlier defiance in the face of Putin, Timmermans has yielded and offered apologies to Russia, declaring the detention of Borodin to be illegal and in violation of the Vienna Convention.
So much for Dutch apologetics today. And now for the Dutch weather report: