Opinion / The Law and Legal Issues

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: 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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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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Putin on Ukraine

We’re all trying to work out what Vladimir Putin ‘really’ wants. Does he know? Does the idea of ‘someone knowing what they really want’ even make sense? Still, President Putin went out of his way to explain his policies and wider approach in his long televised address to the Russian […]

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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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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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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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