Opinion / The Art of Diplomacy

Junk Management

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT looks at how performance is assessed and rewarded (or not) in the modern public sector. Despite (or maybe to compensate for?) the horror that is the modern British government of sullen bureaucracy and shabby clothes, British diplomats tend to work hard and loyally. They trudge […]

Continue Reading

President Trump D-Day Speech

Here is the full text of President Trump’s D-Day speech. And here is the video of him delivering it: It’s a momentous piece of work. Of course, there is remarkable material to work with – the drama of the Normandy invasion and what was at stake, and the scale of […]

Continue Reading

Chess and Philosophy

I head towards the end of my Master’s degree programme with University of Buckingham. My paper will be on What is Chess?  The problem with philosophy is that one issue drifts inexorably into another and it’s next to impossible to write something self-contained that is not either hugely over-detailed (boring) […]

Continue Reading

Diplomatic Protocol Disasters

Time for a handy round-up of some excellent diplomatic protocol shockers. ‘Protocol’ at the highest level of state and in wider international contexts is interesting because it features all sorts of ‘solemnity’, dignity, respect, deference and other lofty virtues that have their place when the time is right. So when […]

Continue Reading

Assange – Free at Last

Here are my collected thoughts on Julian Assange and his exciting life and times. My DIPLOMAT piece on Assange and diplomatic protocol, from 2017: If someone runs into state B’s embassy to escape state A’s laws, s/he can sit there until s/he comes out. The embassy premises are inviolable, but […]

Continue Reading

Migrating Rights

Just when you thought that you were safe from links here to my articles over at DIPLOMAT, you get two in one day. My very latest one on Migration and Rights. Thus: Hundreds of millions of people are now on the move around the world every year. Refugees. Displaced persons. […]

Continue Reading

Diplomatic Visits

My piece at DIPLOMAT magazine on the trials and tribulations of organising diplomatic visits appears. Thus: Visits come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re largely symbolic– a senior gesture to show that the bilateral relationship is warm and alive, but not much more than that. Sometimes there’s serious diplomatic business […]

Continue Reading

Wittgenstein, Trust and Diplomacy

Here is my new piece over at DIPLOMAT. On Trust and Diplomacy. With (of course) added Wittgenstein: President Trump is offering Kim Jong Un himself a superb deal based on trust: “If you work with us, be nice, loosen up and get rich, you can expect to stay in power for […]

Continue Reading

The Politics of Decompression

My latest piece for DIPLOMAT explores how Optimists, Pessimists and Cynics view options for helping a grotty dictatorship (say the dismal state of Sibya) move to something rather better. Back in the mists of 2016, I shared with Diplomat readers my thoughts on bad leaders: “Yes, we were wicked. But hey, look […]

Continue Reading

Is Negotiation Dishonest?

This odd question appeared over on Quora today. It prompted the following exchange with me and a passing Quoran posing follow-up questions (edited for simplicity). Full version here. Is Negotiation Dishonest by Default? No. It’s possible to be a dishonest negotiator. But when haggling over a price (‘This is my […]

Continue Reading
Older Entries