Earthquake Diplomacy

Turkey and Greece have been taking baby steps towards improved relations lately, so the Turkish shipment of humanitarian aid in the aftermath of the Greek earthquake is hardly a surprise. The humanist in me continues to applaud the way countries manage to put aside their territorial disputes in response to natural disasters. The cynic in me wonders how long it will be before the impact of such gestures wears off. There’s also a case to be made that there are any number of slowly unfolding natural disasters that ought to, but don’t, motivate the same sort of international solidarity. Ronald Reagan once spooked Mikhail Gorbachev by referring to an extraterrestrial invasion as a way to get the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to set aside their differences. It looks like earthquakes are the new E.T.’s.