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August 21, 2018

Tu felix Austria nube

"Let others wage war. You, happy Austria, marry." Judging from the highly politicised wedding of Karin Kneissl, Austria's foreign minister, we note that not much has changed in the country's diplomatic style. The trouble is that, today, Austria is no longer quite the same empire it used to be. And the diplomacy is backfiring. Eric Frey of Der Standard called it a national disgrace that she got down on her knees in front of Vladimir Putin. But, as one of his colleagues reminds us, Kneissl's odd behaviour was fully in line with official etiquette, as was Putin's gesture to kiss her hand afterwards. In fact, we are flabbergasted to learn, the two most egregious etiquette violations that took place on the weekend were Putin's failure to waltz properly, and Angela Merkel's failure to get on her knees when she met with Putin a few hours later. We thought initially that this article was an example of Austrian humour. But apparently not.

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