Category Archives: Uncategorized

Syria: the mission and the alternatives

On Saturday 7 April came reports that chemical weapons (CW) were used in Douma, Syria. In the very early hours of Saturday 14 April the US, France and the UK launched 105 cruise and air-to-surface missiles against a CW research centre and two CW storage facilities. US President Donald J Trump tweeted “Mission Accomplished!” But what was the mission? Continue reading

Impressions from Moscow – MCIS 2018

The seventh Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) was on Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 April. Listening to the speeches and chatting with various people during and after it, my first thoughts concern three related issues: the growing confidence of Russian policy; soft power; and shared concern about the increasing risks in global politics, together with deep differences about where those risks come from.  Continue reading

2 minutes to midnight?

On 25 January, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced the current time on its long lasting Doomsday Clock: two minutes before midnight, the Editorial Board decided, with midnight, of course, equalling apocalypse. The following day, The Economist, a magazine, carried a cover story on ‘The Next War: the growing threat of a great power conflict’. Are things really that bad? And if so, what can be done about them? Continue reading

A foreign policy for Brexit?

Brexit both contains and is creating abounding unknowns and uncertainties. These will have an impact on many aspects of international relations and security policy in Europe. How will it be possible to navigate them?

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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

Homerton and Hebdo: thoughts on violence in and from the margins

On Wednesday last week as the world knows, three men attacked the staff of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing twelve people and wounding eight. The night before a 17-year-old was murdered just off the high street in Homerton, east London, about 15 minutes’ walk from where I live. Continue reading