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Category: Foreign Affairs

The Fall of The West

The Fall of The West

I sometimes wonder if Francis Fukuyama regrets his 1992 book ‘The End of History’, written in the heady aftermath of the Cold War. It is commonly believed to have argued that mankind’s ideological evolution had ended, and the universalisation of liberal democracy was its endpoint. In truth, this does him a disservice: he framed his original essay as a question, not a statement, and was careful to say that totalitarian “events” could still happen in future but democracy would become…

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Mawkish nursery games. It’s time to leave the Second World War in the history books

Mawkish nursery games. It’s time to leave the Second World War in the history books

Sir Winston Churchill died in January 1965. He was accorded a state funeral, as befitted the man who embodied Britain’s struggle in the Second World War, and the country poured out its emotion for a giant of the age.  An album of his speeches even made the top ten.  His death marked the end of an era. Except it didn’t. As the years went by, British veneration of those who fought in that war only grew. “Their finest hour” became our foundation…

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Betting on the next Foreign Secretary

Betting on the next Foreign Secretary

Last weekend I did a piece on who will be the next Chancellor and my central premise was that Boris Johnson would leave Jeremy Hunt at King Charles Street lest he adds another malcontent on the backbenches so dabbling in this market didn’t really interest me as I might end up tying up my money for a long time. The events in the Strait of Hormuz probably ensures Boris Johnson decides to keep Hunt there for continuity reasons alone. However the…

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The man or the message?

The man or the message?

The recent decision by Iran to start enriching uranium, in breach of the JCPOA, shortly after the attack on two ships in the Gulf of Oman is a reminder of the Middle East’s penchant for unpleasant surprises.  No sooner had the attack happened, than the US, followed by Britain, asserted Iran’s responsibility.  There was intelligence proving this.  Unsurprisingly perhaps, Corbyn queried its reliability and, even more predictably, was slapped down by the Foreign Secretary. Corbyn was, however, right to ask…

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French toast – Bread and butter issues burn Macron

French toast – Bread and butter issues burn Macron

Aux armes citoyens! or at least put on your yellow hi-vis. In the last month, 50 years after the explosion of 1968, the French are once again taking to the streets.  Whereas Mai 68 was a cocktail of demands for a freer more open society, Decembre 18 is more a cry of anger about a stagnant standard of living. France is increasingly struggling to satisfy its citizen’s aspirations. In the post war world France progressed rapidly during Les Trente Glorieuses  the…

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Going nuclear

Going nuclear

ICYMI: Courtesy of the always resourceful @EIAgov, I got data back to 1949 of U.S. *net* petroleum imports (that's crude oil and refined products). The latest forecast is for 2019 net imports to drop to 1.5m b/d — lowest since 1958. #OOTT Full story here: https://t.co/itjliIuOzT pic.twitter.com/LXz1GvmULM — Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) May 9, 2018 When Peter the Great died in 1725, the Russian empire covered an extent unimagined when he came to power.  From his deathbed, he commanded his successors…

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Peace talks for our time, but where?

Peace talks for our time, but where?

The deal with North Korea is very much in the making and will be, if completed, a very good one for the World. Time and place to be determined. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 10, 2018 Will Trump have his Nixon in China moment? Following the news about the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Ladbrokes have a market up on the location of the summit. It is well noted that Kim Jong-un is very paranoid, particularly about his own…

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Challenges, challenges

Challenges, challenges

It is perhaps too easy to assume that Western democracy, capitalism and liberalism will continue to thrive and prosper, certainly in the West, and that they will continue to act as a model for countries elsewhere. To counter any complacency, here are two long-term challenges which the Western model faces. Money or freedom? Paddy Ashdown said that the biggest mistake the West made in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan was to fail to make the rule of law and security the…

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