Politics & Economics

Image showing the American Eagle spreading its wings with caption: "Ten thousand miles from tip to tip," from 1899.

Warfare State

Thomas Meaney

5 November 2020

Democrats and Republicans across the spectrum are increasingly united in an anti-China front, whether on grounds of trade or human rights or strategic balance. They are Democrats v. authoritarians, though at least they grant that totalitarianism is dead. But if the two chief global crises – climate change and capitalism – are regarded from the perspective of American power, the position towards China is anything but clear.

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Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan

5 November 2020

Within six months of resigning as Brexit secretary, David Davis was earning £3000 an hour as an ‘external adviser’ to JCB – itself a major donor to the Conservative Party. Nick . . .

Syria Alone

Patrick Cockburn

5 November 2020

Suha Ahmad​ lives on the outskirts of the port city of Tartus in north-west Syria. Her husband was killed in March while fighting on the government side in the war, her mother and father are dead . . .

The Importance of Being Ernie

Ferdinand Mount

5 November 2020

Sir​ Nicholas Henderson was British ambassador almost everywhere that mattered – Bonn, Paris, Washington. He met all the great personalities of the second half of the 20th century. Yet in conversation . . .

Fox News President

Deborah Friedell

5 November 2020

Four years ago​, my brother, a philosopher, advised me to gamble, exorbitantly, on Donald Trump becoming president. If Hillary Clinton won, he reasoned, so much the better. If she didn’t, the . . .

Bolsonaro’s Brazil

Perry Anderson, 7 February 2019

By comparison with the scale of the upheaval through which Brazil has lived in the last five years, and the gravity of its possible outcome, the histrionics over Brexit in this country and the conniptions over Trump in America are close to much ado about nothing.

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Let Them Drown

Naomi Klein, 2 June 2016

Environmentalism might have looked like a bourgeois playground to Edward Said. The Israeli state has long coated its nation-building project in a green veneer.

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Where will we live? The Housing Disaster

James Meek, 9 January 2014

The government has stopped short of explicitly declaring war on the poor, but how different would the situation be if it had?

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What I Heard about Iraq: watch and listen

Eliot Weinberger, 3 February 2005

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying...

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Moderation or Death: Isaiah Berlin

Christopher Hitchens, 26 November 1998

In​ The Color of Truth*, the American scholar Kai Bird presents his study of McGeorge (‘Mac’) and William Bundy. These were the two dynastic technocrats who organised and...

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Why Fascism is the Wave of the Future

Edward Luttwak, 7 April 1994

That capitalism unobstructed by public regulations, cartels, monopolies, oligopolies, effective trade unions, cultural inhibitions or kinship obligations is the ultimate engine of economic growth...

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The Morning After

Edward Said, 21 October 1993

Now that some of the euphoria has lifted, it is possible to re-examine the Israeli-PLO agreement with the required common sense. What emerges from such scrutiny is a deal that is more flawed and,...

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Maastricht and All That

Wynne Godley, 8 October 1992

A lot of people throughout Europe have suddenly realised that they know hardly anything about the Maastricht Treaty while rightly sensing that it could make a huge difference to their lives....

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John Hume on the end of the Unionist veto in Ulster

John Hume, 2 February 1989

In recent times in Ireland we have been reminded of a lot of anniversaries. Remembering the past is something of an obsession here. The future, discussing it or shaping it, doesn’t seem...

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In the Grey Zone: Proxy Warfare

Tom Stevenson, 22 October 2020

Whenever America’s enemies are said to be using ‘asymmetric’ or unconventional tactics and proxy warfare, it’s easy to forget not only that America is the world’s most prolific...

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Diary: In Conakry

Fleur Macdonald, 22 October 2020

Guinea hasn’t had much experience of democracy. Since independence it has been ruled by a series of dictators, some better liked than others. Alpha Condé was elected ten years ago, in the...

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Red Pill, Blue Pill

James Meek, 22 October 2020

Conspiracists describe epi­phanies where they start to see the big pict­ure, the universal meta-conspiracy that ex­plains and links everything. But the picture isn’t big. It’s small....

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China after Covid

Wang Xiuying, 22 October 2020

Since China tamed the virus and normal life resumed, the CCP has bestowed its highest honours on key scientists and doctors. Political commentators, like middle-class consumers, are in high spirits. The...

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Diary: At the Mexican Border

Carlos Dada, 8 October 2020

I had just arrived in the town of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas, not far from the Guatemalan border, when I heard that a boat had capsized. On the morning of 11 October, a fisherman had spotted...

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Short Cuts: RBG’s Big Mistake

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, 8 October 2020

Should Trump’s nominee be confirmed, the Supreme Court will shift to the right, probably far to the right, and will remain there for a generation. Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the lion’s share...

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Johnson’s reputation has fluctuated along with historians’ views of Reconstruction. Long celebrated as a heroic defender of the constitution against the Radicals, he is today a leading contender...

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The worlds, pre-internet, were so much smaller and dingier and more accidental than those of today’s feminisms. Whether or not you knew about this group or that argument depended on who you...

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Short Cuts: Woke Conspiracies

William Davies, 24 September 2020

A British equivalent of Fox News, wherever it may come from, would have its own distinctive character – less evangelism and more Elgar, fewer guns and more poppies – but the commercial and...

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Bye Bye Britain

Neal Ascherson, 24 September 2020

In 2019, Boris Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 2020, he shrank into being prime minister of England. For the second time in less than seven...

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Short Cuts: Ofqual and the Algorithm

Paul Taylor, 10 September 2020

Ofqual is not an independent agency; it is a government department and acted on the instructions of the minister. The problems with the algorithm aren’t technical but a consequence of the political...

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The US had other ideas: The Pipeline Project

Tom Stevenson, 10 September 2020

Europeans can gripe about having to do business with the Russian state and Russian planners may complain about being beholden to the European market, but geography conspires against them. The gas is where...

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I need money: Biden Tries Again

Christian Lorentzen, 10 September 2020

Joe Biden seems to have got into politics simply because he could: for the fuck of it, not out of any ethical commitment or bracing ambition. Unlike most recent Democrat and Republican nominees for president...

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One reason the EU has been so keen to tie the UK to level playing field conditions, and is so reluctant to believe the UK’s repeated assurances that it has no intention of cutting regulatory standards,...

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Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne, 13 August 2020

In a time of crisis, the public sees governments as being like lightbulbs: when they stop working, they need to be changed, and the most important thing to consider about the new bulb is whether it will...

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Reconstruction was under attack from the outset. There was never a consensus on its legitimacy, and in the end it sank under the weight of racism, indifference, fatigue, administrative weakness, economic...

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It’s not only that cultural and political polarisation makes it harder for different ‘sides’ to understand one another, although that is no doubt true. It makes it harder to understand...

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Whose century? After the Shock

Adam Tooze, 30 July 2020

One has to wonder whether the advocates of a new Cold War have taken the measure of the challenge posed by 21st-century China. For Americans, part of the appeal of allusions to Cold War 2.0 is that they...

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