Since 1997, Jonathan's columns have been published on The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Justice blog. You can find them all here.

October 2, 2017

Recent reports estimate that India’s annual economic growth rate is now down to 5.5%. The government of Narendra Modi which until recently seemed to be on a public opinion roll could fall off its log- but that depends on the Indian electorate ending its self-deceit.

Three years ago Modi at the helm of his Hindu nationalist party, the BJP, gave Congre...

September 19, 2017

“It’s not over until the fat lady ends her song”- so goes the adage, referring to the often overweight soprano who sings the last aria in Wagner’s opera, Gotterdammerung.

British prime minister, Theresa May, is not fat in a bodily sense, but she is fat-headed, convinced of her own righteousness over Brexit, although she herself voted Remain in the Br...

September 12, 2017

“What did these vain and presumptuous men intend? How did they expect to raise their lofty mass against God, when they had built it above all the mountains and clouds of the earth’s atmosphere?” This is St. Augustine writing about Babylon in his “City of God”. In more modern times Jonathan Raban has written in “Soft City”, “The city has always been...

September 5, 2017

The big mistake, apparently about to be made by President Trump, in undoing the nuclear agreement made by President Barack Obama with Iran is not just that he intends to go backwards, it is that he doesn’t intend to go forwards. (To be fair, neither did Obama.)

What the Iranians negotiated about was not so much the “bomb” – to be or not to be – but a...

August 29, 2017

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

Dead right! This is America’s longest war ever, 16 years and counting. President Donald Trump, admitting he was reversing his campaign call for pulling out, has now decided to stay in, sending to Afghanistan another 3,900 tro...

August 22, 2017

Everyone has their favourite sounds- a ball on a cricket bat on a summer’s afternoon, birds singing, waves breaking on the beach, the coffee pot perking on the stove, children playing scoobydoo. Mine are the quiet sounds of the English Lake District- William Wordsworth’s:

“A flock of sheep that leisurely

pass by one after one;

the sound of rain and bee...

August 15, 2017

Does President Donald Trump (aka Fire and Fury) know what a nuclear war would be like? I ask the question because President Roland Reagan confessed he did not until he decided to look at some movies (once an actor, he was a cinema man), like “On the Beach” that depicted a nuclear war. The exercise changed his thinking and he became an anti-nuclear w...

August 8, 2017

It’s not that many years ago that Warren Christopher, the US Secretary of State, commenting on the outbreak of separatist ethnic strife in the 1990s in countries such as Somalia, Zaire, Rwanda, East Timor and ex-Yugoslavia, asked. “Where will it end? Will it end with 5,000 countries?”

It was a serious misjudgement. Separatist wars have fallen sharply...

August 1, 2017

He goes on to say: “Americans have lived for nearly two centuries with the Monroe Doctrine [which forbids non-Americans to seize land or intervene in Latin America]. Why don’t we understand that other countries are sensitive about military bases from potential rivals not only coming up to their borders, but taking land which historically they have c...

July 24, 2017

The most peaceful countries in the world are Iceland, Portugal, Austria, New Zealand and Denmark, according to the new Global Peace Index, in a new 136-page report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace in Sydney, Australia. The most violent are Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. 

Seen from a spaceship the most violent ones...

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