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

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...

July 16, 2017

China, since the days in 1793 and the mission of Earl Macartney, emissary of King George 11, has kept its distance from the West, preferring to be “as self-contained as a billiard ball”, to quote the great historian Alain Peyrefitte. It was Peyrefitte who argued in “The Collision of Civilizations” that Macartney’s decision not to kowtow to the emper...

July 10, 2017

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...

July 3, 2017

Here I am in Moscow- three days ago- standing in front of a statue of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhael Gorbachev to celebrate the unveiling of a statue crafted by the master sculptor, Alexander Bourganov.

I'm the only journalist invited to speak- and after I go with the others to drink Russian champagne. I talk to a group of s...

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