Opinion / European Union and Wider Europe

Ukraine v Russia: Negotiating with a Bully

China and India boldly … call for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine! Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Russia and Ukraine to “keep the crisis from spilling over” and from affecting developing countries. “China supports all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis. […]

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Ukraine v Russia: Going Nuclear?

Vladimir Putin’s disastrous, incompetent, stupid, not-good invasion of Ukraine is proving to be disastrous, incompetent, stupid, not-good and many more. So what to do? Make things worse! Here’s the Kremlin website version of his latest speech announcing mass mobilisations to build a larger army and making all sorts of threats […]

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Mikhail Gorbachev – Communist Witchcraft?

Mikhail Gorbachev has died. Plenty of glowing tributes to him in the Western media. Russians up to and including V Putin may be rather less forthcoming. Here’s a nice account of his various visits to the UK over the years. Gulp. It’s now nearly 40 YEARS since 1985 when Mikhail […]

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Ukraine v Russia: Now What?

Ukraine v Russia drags on. Ukraine saw off Moscow’s attempts to take Kyiv and is now pushing back hard against Russian positions in eastern Ukraine, notably the Kherson area. Western weapons are hitting Russian targets hard, although Russian weapons are doing plenty of damage on Ukrainian targets. It’s hard for […]

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That Boring War in Ukraine: Who’s to Blame?

My latest piece at DIPLOMAT magazine is all about European insecurity: Very broadly speaking, throughout the Cold War years the ‘West’ and the USSR dealt with each other within a policy framework nicknamed MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. The risk of mutual annihilation if a nuclear weapons exchange broke out was […]

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Ukraine v Russia: MAD or Big MAC

I’m so old that I can remember the Cold War and the nuclear deterrence doctrine called MAD: Mutually Assured Destruction. This was the simple idea that if country R launched a major nuclear missile attack on country A, country A would do the same against country R. And they’d both […]

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Ukraine v Russia: The Logic of Punishment

Back in 2019 I wrote a piece for DIPLOMAT on how diplomacy defines and rewards success. It concluded with this striking thought: Why has the word ‘judgement’ been removed from its erstwhile pride of place in the FCO’s staff appraisal procedures? It features a mere four times in that rambling Civil […]

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Ukraine v Russia: DeNazification

Vladimir Putin and his propaganda machine put a lot of emphasis on their ambition to ‘denazify’ Ukraine: [Our] goal is to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. And for this we will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of […]

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Ukraine v Russia: Big or Little Russians

Here is a gripping (if long) analysis of the Ukraine/Russia conflict by Claire Berlinksi. She quotes at length from a text called The Resolution of the Ukraine Question that briefly appeared in the Russian media when it seemed to be thought that Ukraine would collapse within a couple of days. […]

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Ukraine v Russia: Negotiations (2)

My previous post here opined on the broad features of any eventual ‘negotiations’ between Ukraine and Russia: One of the really key ideas in any negotiation between parties involved in a military conflict is this: You never win more at the negotiation table than you control on the ground.  But there’s […]

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