Monthly Archives: August 2018

Unceasing Fire

Last week saw Eid al-Adha, and ought to have brought the beginning of a ceasefire between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, which was announced by President Ashraf Ghani the Sunday before. Continue reading

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Present Tense

Review – 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

The success of Yuval Noah Harari’s first book, Sapiens, a sweeping assessment of human history, was so great that its author has been granted a status far beyond that normally afforded to professors of global history. Continue reading

The Rojava Reconquista

With the fall of Daraa and the end of rebel rule in Syria’s southwest, observers are beginning to talk more definitely about the conclusion of the country’s civil war. Advocates of the regime of Bashar al-Assad have claimed the conflict was close to ending consistently.

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Diplomatic Behaviour

The spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada seemed, at first, an inexplicable rift. Saudi behaviour, in expelling the Canadian ambassador after a Canadian diplomatic Twitter account judiciously criticised the kingdom’s record on human rights, is widely perceived to be unjustified, unreasonable and nonsensical. But those adjectives are less uncommon in diplomacy these days than one might expect and hope. Continue reading

Another Looming Tragedy in Syria

The regime of Bashar al-Assad plainly believes the Syrian Civil War is entering its terminal stages. This belief is distinct from the regime’s messaging, which has consistently held that Assad was never threatened by Syria’s revolution, and that his victory was always assured. Continue reading

The Anti-Semitism Row Shows Corbyn Is Untouchable

The long-standing row over alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party continues to rumble on. This weekend deputy leader Tom Watson spoke out and was quickly the subject of an online campaign from Corbynistas calling for him to resign.  Today we have a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum, George McManus, suspended over a Facebook post comparing Watson to Judas because he took money from ‘Jewish donors’. Continue reading

In Parts True and Original

Review – The Death of Truth by Michiko Kakutani

Amid many recent books purporting to explain our present age’s apparent problems with the truth, Michiko Kakutani’s stands out.

It stands out because of its author’s reputation as a judicious writer; she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for literary criticism. But more than that, it stands out because of the specificity of its central claim – which holds not, as other books have argued, that there is more falsehood in the world now than ever, or it is easier to be duplicitous, and on a grander scale, than at any time in recent history; but rather that the very idea of verity is under attack, and that it has been in retreat for some time. Continue reading