• Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: A welcome North Korean defection

    19 August 2016.  At a London think tank two years ago, I had an argument with a North Korean diplomat. Fed up with his ambassador's peace-loving protestations and the polite questions put to him by the largely British audience, I broke protocol and asked what possible purpose was served by his nation calling the leader of the free world a ‘wicked black monkey’. Afterwards, the embassy's number two official took me aside to explain that the North Korean...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Matthew Harries: Nigel Farage hits the Trump trail

    25 August 2016.  Last night in Jackson, Mississippi, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party told supporters of the Republican nominee for president that they could do in the United States what the campaign for Brexit had done in Britain. Nigel Farage meant this in the sense of victory for an anti-establishment underdog. British viewers might have been forgiven for thinking instead of the day when Farage posed in front of his newest...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Russia, Iran and the air-base deal that wasn’t

    23 August 2016.  The abruptness with which Russian use of an Iranian air base was halted this week is a reminder that the two nations are not so much allies as partners in a marriage of convenience. The episode is also a reminder of Iran–US military cooperation not so long ago, a high point in relations that offers a beacon for the future. On 16 August, a foreboding headline in the Washington Post...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Dana H. Allin: Taking Trump Seriously

    02 August 2016.  Is it ‘a category error’ to critique Donald Trump’s policy ideas because, as Matthew Yglesias suggests, they are so ‘ridiculous and inconsistent’? The answer, at the most obvious level, is yes. That is why it makes more sense to focus on his personality, which is outlandish but also fundamentally authoritarian. The genuine admiration that he repeatedly expresses for Russian President Vladimir Putin is less a matter of strategic appeasement than...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Jonathan Stevenson: The German Attacks and the Categorisation Problem

    01 August 2016.  Four ‘lone wolf’ attacks within a single week rocked Germany last month – all four by Muslims, three by recent immigrants and three in Bavaria, the area of the country most accessible from the Middle East. On 18 July, an Afghan asylum seeker attacked and badly injured five people with a knife and an axe on a train near Würzburg. The worst incident occurred on 22 July when a German-Iranian...

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