Staggering

Julian Borger, Guardian:

The outgoing Trump administration’s final days at the United Nations have resulted in a deepening of US isolation on social and health issues, with only a handful of allies including Russia, Belarus and Syria.

A UN diplomat said the spectacle of a western ally and a superpower so totally isolated was “staggering”.

“It’s amazing that they decided they want to put their isolation on record, on full display, like that,” the diplomat said.

Each time the amendments were decisively voted down in the general assembly, with the US drawing only a very small group of between four and 14 supporters. Its only consistent allies were Russia, Belarus, Syria, Qatar and the Pacific island states of Nauru and Palau.

Describing actions as “staggering” or “amazing” is a formulation used to show the actions as out of the norm, using the device of depicting the observer as so amazed it is as if one were hit over the head and so left dazed, staggering. While this is designed to characterize some other’s actions, it may be seen as well, or in this case perhaps better, as characterizing the viwer: “It was staggering” and “I was amazed” are both ways of saying I was extremely surprising by what I observed. Rather than containing content as to the actions witnessed, the message might be more usefully read as being a statement of failure to apprehend accurately conditions which have been pertaining for some time.

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