Opinion

Do You Want Our Money?

Back in November I wrote about the logic and reality of sanctions: One last genre of sanctions is ‘conditionality’. Yes, we’ll give you development assistance, but on conditions. One of which is that if you use our assistance to promote extremism we’ll stop supporting you. This issue comes up periodically […]

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#IranProtests – How to Respond?

What is President Trump to make of this latest turmoil in Iran? He looks at how the new President Obama responded to a wave of protests across Iran in 2009: Huge crowds in Iran are demanding minimum standards of transparency, fairness and democracy.  You know, the sort of thing we in the […]

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Iran’s Democracy

Happy New Year! Great news from Iran. Many people there have Had Enough. In these circumstances where else to start but World Bank graphs? This is GDP per capita since 1970. Note how under the clueless rantings of successive Ayatollahs Iran has managed to spend the nearly four decades since […]

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Tense Speeches and Presentations

One of the great clichés of public speaking and presenting: tell a story! That’s a good idea. Only you know the story. You don’t need to write it down. You just talk! But how exactly to express the story on the day? First. Strip the story down to the absolute […]

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How to Prepare and Practise a Speech (2)

Continuing our preparation of an important speech/presentation on Migrants and Borders. You’ve already spent a slice of your 600 minutes – probably at least an hour – working out what’s going on for this speech and how in broad terms you tackle it. Now – what to say? Let’s start […]

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How to Prepare and Practise a Speech (1)

I am busy opining at Quora these days: If a girl hits my ass, what does it mean? She has a really bad attitude towards donkeys, so don’t marry her. What is the purpose for studying etymology? To learn all about insects is the usual reason. What is Microsoft PowerPoint’s main purpose? […]

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Slobodan Praljak

Slobodan Praljak today killed himself by taking poison in the dock at ICTY as his sentence was delivered for war crimes 24 years ago. His Wikipedia page gives the basics, including the interesting factlets that (a) he was a prominent Croatian TV and theatre producer in Yugoslavia, and (b) his […]

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The Logic of Sanctions

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at sanctions. Crime? Punishment! Thus: Back in the day when I was paid to do diplomacy, it was a refreshing if not a bracing bucketful of icy water to hear Russian diplomats talking about their professional discipline. I remember one telling me about a […]

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Catalonia and First Principles

As one might have expected, the Catalonia problem is getting problematic. Spain HQ aka Madrid is gearing up to take away Catalonia’s powers in some sort of direct rule power-play. No rebellions allowed! After an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday morning, Rajoy said he was invoking article 155 of the […]

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Daphne Caruana Galizia

Back in 2010 I had some exciting adventures in Malta. That put me for a while in e-touch with the amusing indomitable Daphne Caruana Galizia – a journalist/writer who walloped all and any nonsense she found in Malta’s intricate goings-on. And she found plenty to wallop. Indeed we met in […]

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