Opinion / Balkans, former Yugoslavia

Interfering Ambassadors

Trump! Russians! Russian ambassador! Trump! In all this hubbub about who did or did not ‘meet the Russian ambassador’ in Washington and when and why, let’s look at what diplomats actually do before an election in a country to which they’re posted. When an election looms, diplomats get a little […]

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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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Serbia – Enough!

The end of 2016 saw more absurd nonsense in the Serbia media – about ME and my non-existent role in the assassination in 2003 of Zoran Djindjić and its aftermath. First, former Prime Minister Zoran Živkovič accused me of lobbying in all directions for Nebojša Čović to become the new […]

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FCO Remembers 2016

Back to the Foreign Office for the annual Memorial gathering to remember colleagues who fell in the line of duty. 2015 here. This year Boris Johnson led the ceremony at the foot of the Grand Staircase for his first time. He gave a nicely worked speech – he has a […]

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Bad Leaders

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT mulls over the problems the world faces in dealing with Bad Leaders. Some of them contain their Badness within their own borders, thrashing their own people because they can. Others spread their badness and create havoc for others. Thus: The last century gave the world […]

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When Viz Stood Corrected

Back in the mists of early 1998 I was sitting in Sarajevo at the Embassy perusing Viz issue 87 (as one did) when my eye fell upon an unexpected Balkan angle: This analysis did not look right. So I did some diligent research and reached a deeper insight into what was really being […]

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Iraq: FCO Slapstick

The Sunday Times (£) has a piece describing in some detail how ‘Former MI6 Chief’ Sir John Sawers was ‘slapped down for Iraq gaffe’. Here. The article is little more than a breathless description of one document unearthed by the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry. But the author Defence Correspondent Mark Hookham does […]

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Yugoslavia – Heavenly Boarders

Here’s a grim article by one Phil Butler blaming everyone but the Yugoslavs for the collapse of Yugoslavia: It is a fact, that after World War II, socialist Yugoslavia became something of a European success story. Between 1960 and 1980 the country had one of the most vigorous growth rates in […]

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