Opinion / Russia, Ukraine, former Soviet Union

Russia and Montenegro: What’s Ours?

My latest piece for the Telegraph (££) opines on the startling news that Russian intelligence agents have been found to be implicated in a plot to kill former Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanović last year: The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement, and the Montenegrin special prosecutor has publically stopped […]

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Balkan Borders (2)

What about the ideas raised by Sir Ivor Roberts for Serbia/Kosovo land-swaps? How to start analysing this? Some considerations as I consider them. First, the ‘international community’ simply does not care where Balkan borders (to be precise here, the borders between former republics and autonomous provinces of the dead Yugoslavia) […]

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Balkan Borders (1)

Here is my former colleague (ex-ambassador to Belgrade, Dublin and Rome) Sir Ivor Roberts opining on Balkan borders: Sir Ivor said that while multi-ethnic states might be the ideal, in practice the exchange of the Presevo Valley in Serbia for land in Kosovo north of the river Ibar might be […]

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Chess and Diplomacy

My latest DIPLOMAT piece looks at the similarities (or not) between chess and diplomacy: One cliché of diplomacy is that it is like chess. It combines patient strategic manoeuvring with sudden flashes of sharp decisive action. In chess, as in diplomacy, there is ‘objective’ strength: political and economic assets and […]

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President Trump’s Inaugural Speech

Here’s a brief take on President Trump’s inaugural speech that I wrote for The Ambassador Partnership’s Insight series: The inaugural address of a new US President typically answers two questions: What and How. First, to set down unambiguous policy markers: to spell out in broad but more or less specific […]

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Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech

Here is the official text of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s well received speech to senior Republicans in Philadelphia. And, if you want to see how she delivered it, here she is: This speech has had unusual profile. Mrs May is the first foreign leader to meet President Trump at […]

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Sir Tim Barrow: Optimism v Pessimism

My new piece over at Telegraph Opinion on the appointment of Sir Tim Barrow as UK Ambassador to the EU (maybe ££): Final passages: Much commentary about Sir Ivan’s departure has focused on this strange passage in his message to UKRep colleagues, self-evidently written with speedy wider public readership in mind: “I […]

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Expelling Spies: Negotiation Psychology

Way back in 2009 I wrote a piece for DIPLOMAT about the lore and logic of expelling diplomats, usually for spying. The Internet has eaten it, but here are some extracts: You know the story. Only too well. Your spouse yells at you for what you have done. Or for […]

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Cold War 2.0: Obama, Putin, Trump

Here is a link (££) to my latest Telegraph piece on the Obama expulsion of Russian diplomats. In case (like me!) you can’t access it, some highlights of what I sent them: It’s safe to say that President Obama and his team knew little about Russia before the President visited […]

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Back in the NHS (3)

Happy New Year to one and all. I have been busy trundling to and fro to NHS hospitals. My mother is not so well. See earlier accounts here: Above all, I am humbled by the diligence shown by the nursing staff as they try to keep their designated batch of […]

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