Browsing All Posts filed under »Barack Obama«

From the Archives: The New Year’s War in Gaza

November 16, 2012

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With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza. Some of the observations are understandably dated, but I think the piece is still relevant. At eleven o’clock Saturday morning, on December 27th 2008, the New […]

History is more complex than the Iran debate allows

October 23, 2012

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Whenever I have written about Iran, I have looked at the problems of numerous policies to deal with the country, rarely offering my own suggestions for solving the Iran problem. There are two reasons for this, one of which is that it is ridiculously complex and no one can really come up with what I […]

Tim Montgomerie can add Iraq to his list of foreign policy failures

December 20, 2011

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I have a complicated relationship with neoconservatives. Laws prohibiting murder complicate things, but also the way ‘neocons’ ruin good ideas with bad analysis. Democratization in the Middle East is tainted by its association with them (though the claim that the Arab Spring vindicates their beliefs is like Jehovah’s Witnesses claiming credit for the Second Coming…). […]

The West needs to drink a glass of man up!

November 3, 2011

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These last few years have been tough for the Western Alliance and a dispiriting time for those like me who feel the well-being of the world is best served by Western primacy. It isn’t the rise of the emerging powers that has been dispiriting, but rather the self-pity their rise has engendered in the West. […]

Striking Pakistan

September 26, 2011

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Since the September 13th attacks in Kabul, relations between Pakistan and the United States have become so bad that it is rumoured the baddies in the next Indiana Jones film will be the ISI, which is much more damaging to a country’s reputation than being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Thursday, Admiral […]

Afghanistan: A timeline

August 12, 2011

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I was surprised to discover recently that there is no comprehensive, publicly available timeline of the war in Afghanistan. This was also annoying, as it meant I had to construct my own. Here is what I have so far, but will continue to build it and hope others will contribute too. My aim is cover […]

Passionately moderate-ism

June 24, 2011

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President Obama announced the withdrawal of ten thousand troops from Afghanistan, plus twice that number out by next summer, in a short statement he made Wednesday night at the White House. Others have written about the announcement and discussed the issues surrounding it much better than I could hope to, but there was a section […]

Israel and its inability to think strategically (still)

May 23, 2011

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Last summer, when perennial concern about Iran’s nuclear programme grew hysterical, Ron Tira, a noted Israeli strategic thinker, wrote that the importance of an attack on the country was not the operation itself but manipulating international reaction. ‘It is necessary to examine Israel’s response to different events, for example, the Turkish flotilla to the Gaza […]

Understanding the Pakistani dimension

May 2, 2011

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I woke up this morning to a text from a friend saying, ‘That’s Obama re-elected in 2012…’ M’boss at Egremont, Nik Darlington, had also texted me asking if I wanted to write something on Osama Bin Laden. Why, I wondered. The news came as a pleasant surprise. I listened to this song to celebrate, because, […]

Mistaking Libya for the world

April 6, 2011

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There is nothing like an international crisis to make pundits think they are foreign policy experts, as I wrote last month; and a common problem with their “take” is that they believe the crisis tells us something troubling about the future. When Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, the media predicted a new Cold War. I […]

Libya, The Spectator and the limits of punditry

March 13, 2011

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There is nothing like an international crisis to make pundits think they are foreign policy experts; to the actual experts, each sloppy op-ed is like someone pushing to the floor a trolley full of brass instruments. As the uprising in Libya has turned to armed rebellion, I have had to cover my ears to avoid […]

Making sense of the 2015 withdrawal

March 6, 2011

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The Foreign Affairs Committee published a report this week on Afghanistan and Pakistan, looking at how the United Kingdom has handled the conflict – especially the Coalition government. I have been following the inquiry since it began last summer and was excited to finally get my hands on its conclusions. From what I’ve read, regional […]

A strategist abroad: NATO meets some bloggers

February 22, 2011

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The figure used by the NATO official was 70%; the organisation had found that it was mentioned by social media more than on mainstream news sites, and blogs made up 70% of those references. I believe it was that figure which spurred NATO into engaging with the blogosphere, and they hosted a conference last week […]