When all bets are off

Love or loathe the US election result, it feels like all bets are off. Once again, odds have been defied, opinion polls disproven, and what many people long thought was politically marginal and outside the realm of possibility has become mainstream and a fact. In a world already characterised by growing uncertainty, there is now more: primarily, does he really mean it in practice? Of a few things, we can be sure, however, and to them we must hold tight. Continue reading

The international security conference tell

And so to Beijing, as I might write in the diary I don’t keep, for the Seventh Xiangshan Forum, a big day-and-a-half conference on international security affairs. It is the third such event I have been to this year – first Munich, then Moscow and now Beijing. In some ways quite similar yet also very different, what can be gleaned from each? Continue reading

Whither Peace?

Today is the UN International Day of Peace and it comes at a time when many people seem to feel peace is taking a horrible worldwide kicking. Is it so bad? Continue reading

Syria – myth and argument about non-intervention

Last week an article in the Washington Post stirred what seemed like quite a Twitter buzz, lamenting the effects of “the disastrous nonintervention in Syria“. The article is angry and vivid about the misery and destruction wrought by war in Syria. It blames the war’s continuation largely on the US deciding not to intervene in the war. It is an argument that could become influential so it’s worth examining. Continue reading

UK’s European policy – already broken? or magician’s distraction?

I finished my first post-Brexit post by noting the “exquisitely sharp dilemma” Britain’s new Prime Minister has to manage. That was before she seemingly decided to sharpen the dilemma by appointing Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. But some of Theresa May‘s other new Cabinet appointments may give more reason for serious reflection.  Continue reading

Brexit breaks it – but the UK’s number one foreign policy objective remains Europe

Still reeling from Brexit? You should be. Europe is. Britain will be for years. On all fronts. The ones who manufactured Britain’s new impasse have all left the stage. The second woman and 76th person to be Britain’s Prime Minister was not a Brexiter though some expected her to be. She faces quite some challenge in reconstructing Britain’s relationship to Europe.

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European security. Crisis? What crisis?

The tone of this year’s Munich Security Conference – the Davos of global security – was captured by the Munich Security Report’s theme: ‘Boundless chaos, reckless spoilers, helpless guardians.’ The front page headline on The Security Times, a conference special edition from the stable of Die Zeit, featured a box of matches and urged an appropriate response: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff.’ Continue reading