Politics & Economics

Photograph of Henry Kissinger in 1975.

Kissinger looks for his prince

David Runciman

3 December 2020

What did Kissinger do in power that has given him such an extraordinary afterlife? He was a consummate showman, a master of the on-the-record and the off-the-record briefing, a darling of the paparazzi, as comfortable in a Tehran nightclub as he was at a Washington summit and likely to be photographed attending both. But is showmanship really enough?

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America is a baby

Patricia Lockwood

3 December 2020

On Election Day,​ as soon as the polls closed, I had to watch the three-hour-long 1972 movie musical 1776. You almost certainly haven’t seen it, so I’ll summarise it for you. The year . . .

Risk-Free Assassinations

Andrew Cockburn

3 December 2020

Amid​ the death and destruction of the current conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, one shining success story has emerged: the Turkish-designed and manufactured Bayraktar TB2 drone, widely credited . . .

A Regular Grey

Jonathan Parry

3 December 2020

To​ have one brother killed by an African animal would be a misfortune. To lose two, at different times, is surely remarkable. Such was the distinction of Sir Edward Grey, who served as foreign secretary . . .

Troll Factories

Vera Tolz

3 December 2020

Donald Trump’s​ press conference on 5 November, in which he claimed he had won the election and said there had been mass voter fraud, was like a scene from a dystopian movie. His allegations . . .

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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Failed Vocation: The Corbyn Project

James Butler, 3 December 2020

It is an intellectual vice on the left to think that because the world is best understood in terms of the operation of broad structural forces, personal qualities are less important. With regard to political...

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Of all​ the world’s trouble spots few are more susceptible than the Middle East to being seen in terms of binary oppositions. One particularly murky dichotomy is between Sunni and...

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Mainstream Democrats have had more than a generation to respond to the simple question: what will you do to increase job opportunities here in Erie (or Warren, Dubuque, Lorain, Wilkes-Barre and so on)?...

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Warthog Dynamism

David Bromwich, 19 November 2020

Trump throws himself into a relentless salesman’s posture for whatever product he happens to be selling. The Democrats made the mistake of assuming that his vulgarity and ignorance were self-evident:...

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Why go high?

Adam Shatz, 19 November 2020

Trump will cast a long shadow, especially overseas, where America’s image has suffered a calamitous blow. Every country is at times reduced to playing a crude caricature of itself, exhibiting its...

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Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

Will politicians be willing to anger Silicon Valley or big banks if the same firms are likely to feather their nests almost as soon as they step away from the cabinet table? Is the implicit message that...

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Syria Alone

Patrick Cockburn, 5 November 2020

Authoritarian elites, in Syria as elsewhere, are largely immune to embargoes and may even profit from them because they have the power to monopolise scarce resources. The poor and the powerless, the great...

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The Importance of Being Ernie

Ferdinand Mount, 5 November 2020

Ernest Bevin’s vigorous scepticism and his quick understanding of what other people were actually like – a rare quality in politicians, that race of incurable solipsists – went with an...

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Short Cuts: Fox News

Deborah Friedell, 5 November 2020

Trump is known to watch so much Fox News (up to seven hours a day, coded on his schedule as ‘executive time’) that some advertisers – farmers seeking subsidies, airlines opposed to foreign...

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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...

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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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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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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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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: 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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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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