Opinion / Technology, Innovation, the Future

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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Zoom Diplomacy

Then there’s this one on the zany new world of Zoom diplomacy: Legend has it that in a room in Number Ten one such special telephone sat unused, to the point where no-one could remember why it was there. One day to the shared consternation of both Prime Minister and […]

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COVID-19 and (The End of) Human Rights

You may have missed some of my recent pieces for DIPLOMAT. So try this one: This one on Covid-19 and the Strange Death of Human Rights: Enter COVID-19. It turns out that the Enlightenment and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and almost everything else ever written about human rights […]

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COVID-19 Unmasked

How to tell if the state compelling us to walk around wearing moist unhygienic masks looking like muzzled dogs makes a scrap of difference in ‘fighting’ (sic) COVID-19? Here’s a study (via a piece posted by Robert Zimmerman) that had unusually controlled conditions (US marines). His piece suggests that masks […]

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Censored by Twitter

My first post here in a while. We’re planning to move house after some 13 years here, and then it was busy again and the weeks flit by. Have you heard of Benford’s Law? Me neither. It turns out that it’s a way of exploring ‘unfabricated’ numbers. The gist of […]

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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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