Opinion / Poland

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: 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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Ukraine v Russia: Negotiations?

As of midday today (28 February 2022) there’s talk of Ukrainian and Russian delegations meeting to discuss a ceasefire. 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 […]

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World War Three

My latest DIPLOMAT piece – what if World War Three has started but we haven’t realised? So here we are (at the time of writing this) in mid-January 2022. As usual the British media are agog and aghast at various world issues.  The legal machinations of Prince Andrew.  Australia’s COVID […]

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The End of the Soviet Union

My DIPLOMAT piece on how the Soviet Union collapsed. A subject with now a certain topicality as V Putin flails around hoping to create some sort of USSR 2.0? The Berlin Wall came down in late 1989, prompting tumultuous democratic changes across the European communist space. Two Moscows competed to […]

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Ukraine: Russia’s Death-Cult

In Budapest this week I learned that an Estonian diplomat recently asked someone from the inner circle of Putin ideologues where all this latest Russian aggressive posturing and behaviour were going to end. “It ends when you stop us”. * * * * * The key features of the current […]

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Last Night of The Proms

Back in 2014 I briefed readers on my interpreting adventures addressing the tumultuous mainly Polish audience for Last Night of The Proms in Krakow: This is a jolly annual gala occasion where Krakow Poles gather en masse lustily to sing Land of Hope and Glory and wave Union Flags and generally have […]

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Much More EU: That 2020 Budget Negotiation

Surely the EU was going to use its massive new COVID19/Budget negotiations to spank ill-behaved Hungary and Poland for their persistent rule-of-law failings? After all, surely you don’t get lots of EU money without sticking tightly to basic rules? Seems not! Hungary and Poland arguably emerge as the biggest winners. […]

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Duda Wins – Now What?

+ + + UPDATE + + + Here is Jarosław Kaczyński talking about the election victory and what (he think) needs to happen to change the Polish media scene Dust off Google Translate if for some reason your Polish is a bit rusty, and away you go. * * * […]

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Poland Presidential Elections

Poland is about to have a second-round run-off in an important Presidential election. Incumbent President Andrzej Duda of Law and Justice is in a tight race with Rafał Trzaskowski (Civic Platform) the Mayor of Warsaw. This is typically presented by the chatterati as quite a civilisational battle: nasty reactionary xenophobic […]

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