Opinion / American Politics

President Trump at UNGA (2)

So how was President Trump’s UNGA speech for you? Opinions are broadly divided: Hostile! Dangerous! Dishonest! Much to like! Let’s look at some of the language itself. In his final address to the UN General Assembly, President Obama used the word nations some 20 times: we can rally our nations to […]

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President Trump at UNGA (1)

President Trump has given his first UNGA speech. Transcript here. Watch him in full here. These annual UNGA speeches are strange affairs. Typically bland, dull, formulaic, packed with self-important platitudes. No-one cares. That’s why when a leader says or does something drastically not like that, it gets noticed. The late […]

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The UN’s SDGs – Control, not Liberation?

Here is my new piece for Diplomatic Courier in Washington. On The Language of the Sustainable Development Goals. It turned out to be a bit of a slog to find the original SGD texts, but here they are in the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted on 25 September 2015: Right […]

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Civilisations indeed Clashing?

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT looks at some rather, er, basic issues. Namely the idea of civilisation(s). As raised by President Trump in his speech in Warsaw: President Trump’s speech helpfully gave a long list of Western values and practices: The world has never known anything like our community of […]

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So, Farewell Then PunditWire

PunditWire is shutting up shop: As with all good things, it’s time to bid PunditWire adieu. We will be ceasing operations on August 31, which means we no longer will be publishing new content on our site. PunditWire won’t vanish — to those of you who want access to the […]

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Assange and Oppression

Anything on this website containing the word Assange is handily gathered here. There’s quite a lot. But my musings are as naught compared to the new piece on Mr A by Raffi Khatchadourian in the New Yorker. Fair’s fair. When American journalists are let loose on a big subject they deliver […]

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Russia: The Cost of Ukraine

One of the best ways to spend a dreary UK summer is to play with the World Bank graphs on Google to mix ‘n’ match different countries’ economic performance. Just click on a category and then compare/contrast the results for different countries. This (for example) gives some sense of the cost […]

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Public Speaking: How Fast to Speak?

+++ UPDATE +++ James Spencer VoiceCoach who knows more than a thing or two about public speaking writes to me about the piece below: This is one of the best critiques of quantifying communication that I’ve come across in the vast flotsam of internet public speaking commentary. You also address, specifically, […]

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Orai + Crawford

My guilty secret is out, thanks to the Guardian: “When we started, we didn’t know about linguistics and speech science. So we spent six or seven months behind closed doors just reading about this,” Gupta says. The AI algorithm has been modelled on data collected from 3,000 publicly available speeches, […]

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That Trump Speech in Poland

What was President Trump’s speech in Poland really saying? Views differ. Even though anyone listening to the speech might think that Trump pushed back hard against Putin in the speech, it was a stunning victory for Putin: The initial reaction to the speech was far more positive than to his previous attempt […]

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