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New World Chaos

Rodric Braithwaite, 24 January 2013

Governing the World: The History of an Idea 
by Mark Mazower.
Allen Lane, 475 pp., £25, October 2012, 978 0 7139 9683 8
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... Mark Mazower has written many elegant but gloomy books about the unending capacity of the Europeans to destroy one another. His new book is elegant, perceptive, stimulating and erudite. It deals with the attempts to create institutions that would bring economic and political order not only to Europe, but to mankind in general, to find a way of bringing to an end the Hobbesian chaos of war between nations with its casual massacres of civilians and organised slaughter on the battlefield ...

Andropov was right

Tariq Ali: The Russians in Afghanistan, 16 June 2011

Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89 
by Rodric Braithwaite.
Profile, 417 pp., £25, March 2011, 978 1 84668 054 0
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A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan 
by Artemy Kalinovsky.
Harvard, 304 pp., £20.95, May 2011, 978 0 674 05866 8
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... Rodric Braithwaite, British ambassador to Moscow between 1988 and 1992, was in Russia when Soviet troops crossed the Oxus into Afghanistan in 1979. His fascinating account of the Soviet intervention is based almost entirely on Russian sources: interviews with participants, information from veterans’ websites and from archives, although those of the GRU and the KGB remain mostly sealed ...

Secrets are like sex

Neal Ascherson, 2 April 2020

The State of Secrecy: Spies and the Media in Britain 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
I.B. Tauris, 352 pp., £20, March 2019, 978 1 78831 218 9
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... their energy towards hunting out the everyday deceits of ‘normal’ politics.According to Sir Rodric Braithwaite, the wisest of our ex-ambassadors, ‘secrets are like sex. We all suspect that others get more than we do.’ Press sensationalism about the secret world has made discussion of its reform almost impossible. Lord Scott, in his ...


Thomas Jones: The Bomb in My Head, 5 April 2018

... any difference, that they were as fruitless as the civil defence advice to ‘duck and cover’. Rodric Braithwaite, a former British ambassador to Moscow, in his new book, Armageddon and Paranoia, follows the establishment line that the protests, though ‘impressive’, ‘did not change policy’.3 But as Mary Kaldor told Zoe Williams last year, one ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... going on.’ (And not just Muslims: the former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir Rodric Braithwaite, has also spoken of ‘overselling’.) ‘The threat of terror is extremely exaggerated,’ Tamimi continues. ‘The police have been trying hard to build bridges with the various communities in the light of 11 September but the ...

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