Opinion / Russia, Ukraine, former Soviet Union

Catalonia – Your Questions Answered

Baffled by the goings-on in Catalonia? I answer your basic questions. Can Catalonia be an independent country? In principle, why not? It has a population of some 7.5 million people, so as an independent state it would be comfortably in the top half of the world’s country population league rankings […]

Continue Reading

Dr Strangelove and North Korea

I’m back at Commentator. This time on missile defence: It’s almost impossible to grasp now. Back in 1962 live nuclear bomb tests were an actual thing. The nuclear powers tested their weapons and raced to develop new ones. There were 178 nuclear explosions around the world that year. Almost one […]

Continue Reading

President Trump v North Korea

President Trump’s UNGA speech had one of the most remarkable passages ever heard in that building: If this is not twisted enough, now North Korea’s reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of human life … The United States has great strength […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Asgardia: Philosophy and Society

My new Best Thing are the philosophy podcasts over at The Partially Examined Life. Three genial Americans who know more than a few things about philosophy (but come at it from rather different personal places) talk in depth in each episode about different philosophers and their ideas. Try, for example, […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

Loyalty: Who Whom?

Back sun-tann’d from Ibiza and armed with a new ability to Dab, I’ve been doing my new piece for DIPLOMAT. It looks at the idea of Civilisations. I tripped over this piece about Chinese values in general and as they apply to diplomacy: The cultural values of a country influence […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries