Opinion / Asia

Australia v Indonesia: Tricky Negotiation

My piece on the withdrawing by Australia of its ambassador to Indonesia following the execution in Indonesia of two Australian citizens described this move in rather uncharitable terms: The real problem with withdrawing an ambassador ‘in protest’ is that it actually is a gesture of weakness, of faux toughness  You […]

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Australia v Indonesia: Wise Diplomacy?

The firing-squad execution of two Australian citizens (and others) by the Indonesian authorities following their conviction on drags smuggling charges has caused official dismay and anger in Australia. And Australia has responded by recalling (withdrawing?) its Ambassador. Here is an account of some differing views on how far this makes […]

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Speechwriting for Leaders: Incoming

In case you’re all wondering, my eBook Speechwriting for Leaders is coming along very nicely. A bold and amusing cover is being designed (every e-Book needs a bold and amusing eCover) and the substance is entering the layout and final edit phase. The problem for any great artist with any work […]

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Bruce Lee Plays Table-Tennis

One of the few advantages of having Annoying Son home over the Uni holidays is that he draws one’s attention to unusual things. Such as martial arts legend Bruce Lee playing table-tennis. One of Lee’s famed movie techniques was to deploy to devastating effect the nunchaku weapon, two sticks whirling on a […]

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What on Earth is Happening?

One of the nicer things about the New Year is a tendency for people to step back and look at the Big Picture. Here is a fine example from Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post. He takes three game-changing trends: US energy independence, 3D-printing, and the rise of global scepticism […]

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Happy New Year

Long time no blog. Family, Christmas, weather, website upgrades, more weather. the usual. Here I am in my most recent DIPLOMAT piece, on East v West and the benefits or otherwise of the Asian Model of Development: For most of the past 100 years or so, it looked as if […]

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Apartheid Lives

The heroic achievement of Nelson Mandela was to end apartheid‘s evil racial legal categorisations and associated injustice in South Africa, right? Alas not: The idea of defining and rewarding citizens by race continued. The argument was that drastic measures were needed to help the mass of people who had lost […]

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Mediation Winners

As long-standing readers know, when I left the FCO back in 2007 I qualified as a professional Mediator and had ideas about developing that line of work. It turned out not to be easy to do that if one lived well away from a seething centre of serious disputes such […]

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That Iran Deal and Negotiations Theory

Telegraph Blogs have published my piece on the latest deal on Iran and its nuclear programmes: All negotiations boil down to a few existential issues: Security, Resources, Control, Reputation/Recognition and Time/Risk. Plus, depending on how the other aspects are tackled, Trust. Skilful negotiators trade both within and between these ideas. […]

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Carlsen Takes The Lead

A horrible new addiction enters my life: live World Championship Chess. The Anand/Carlsen match is being played in India, but now you can watch it live on the Internet with streans of analysis and expert Grandmaster commentary as each game proceeds. See eg on Chessdom the Hindustan Times site. Open […]

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