December 17, 2019

Israeli politics gets messier and messier. Now there is to be yet another election, hard on the heels of the last one which, in turn, was hard on the heels of the one before.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have two major aims in life. The first is to remain prime minister for as long as he feels like it. (He is already Israel’s longest...

December 10, 2019

The Europeans have not done well in countering President Donald Trump’s onslaught on Iran. When Trump unilaterally decided that the US should withdraw from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, which committed Iran to winding down its nuclear research in return for the West, Russia and China (the latter two were also part of the deal) lifting sanctions which...

December 3, 2019

It goes back to the French revolution of 1789. At the Revolutionary Convention the most radical of the insurgents decided to seat themselves on the left side. “Why not on the other side, the right side, the place of rectitude, where law and the higher rights resided, when man’s best hand could be raised in righteous honour?” wrote Melvin Lasky in wh...

November 26, 2019

It’s unbelievable that 102 years have passed since the Balfour Declaration when the British colonial government decided to give the Jews their own homeland- but also promised that “it be done without infringing on the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish population”. Now, this month, the Trump Administration has announced that the J...

November 19, 2019

Of all the present foes of America it is Iran which has consistently been over time the number one.  Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 that overthrew the secular-minded Shah and supplanted him with a militant, sometimes warlike, Islamic theocracy, it has been America’s Great Satan. (But for Europe rather less so, although no country has broken ra...

November 12, 2019

“Lies, damn lies and statistics”. “You can bend any fact with statistics”. There is some truth in that. Nevertheless, some statistics are necessary, revealing and surprising. Many of us when asked about the position of the poor in America would say that over the last two centuries they have made little progress. But look at the statistics, look at t...

November 5, 2019

Before there was Brexit there was Amexit- when the Americans in 1776 decided to revolt against Britain’s King George and unilaterally secede to establish their own independent republic.

In retrospect it was a strangely negative thing to do and one that took a long time to put right. As Voltaire who was living in London around that time observed, Brit...

October 29, 2019

It’s the most repeated maxim in all the reportage on the war in Afghanistan: “The Americans have the watches, we, the Taliban, have the time.”

“Play it again, Sam” was said in “Casablanca”. It should be played, said and listened to in Kabul and Washington today. This is America’s longest war ever- 18 years and counting. It has cost over one trillion...

October 22, 2019

It’s time overdue for the West to make up with Russia. The contretemps over Ukraine, now played out over five years, is too long. As the world goes it doesn’t deserve so much attention. Ukraine in land mass may be a big country but it’s population is only 44 million and its national income per head a quarter of Russia’s. The Ukrainian puppy’s tail h...

October 15, 2019

Insurgencies may not die, but at least, like old soldiers, they usually fade away. Well, that seemed to be the case with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK. For the best part of five years between 2000 and 2005 there was a truce in Turkey’s bitter and savage civil war. But it did not last.

The Kurdish “problem” goes back to the Ottoman Empire. The...

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