Knowing The World

As winter sets in, both Russia and Ukraine still think they can win this war

The fantastic new German cinematic version of Erich Maria Remarque’s seminal war novel, All Quiet on the Western Front, makes a telling, universal point about war itself right off the bat: how a conflict plays out is almost never as you imagine it to be. The young German boys are regaled about the effortless victories … Continue reading As winter sets in, both Russia and Ukraine still think they can win this war

Rishi Sunak and the revenge of the grown-ups

A famously frustrated Bill Clinton once explained the paradox of American politics like this: While the American people emotionally liked the Democratic Party — loving its nurturing focus on taking social care of the country — it still tended to vote for a colder, more distant, law-giving Republican Party. The Democrats were the “Mommy Party” … Continue reading Rishi Sunak and the revenge of the grown-ups

Sanctions on Russia are on a collision course with Europe’s green ambitions

These days, Europe is seen as the weak link in the developed economic world. The European stock market is underperforming its US rival, down 22 percent year-to-date. Even risky emerging markets are doing better. Likewise, Europe’s surging inflation rates, in countries like Germany and Spain (not to mention what the UK is going through), are … Continue reading Sanctions on Russia are on a collision course with Europe’s green ambitions

Putin’s rattling of nuclear weapons, the danger they pose worldwide – and the role of the Nobel Peace Prize

As Max Hastings’ hugely enjoyable most recent book, Abyss: The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 makes abundantly clear, during the Cold War millions of people went to bed terrified of a nuclear conflict breaking out. However, since the implosion of the Soviet Union, the world has increasingly perceived the threat of nuclear war as highly unlikely. … Continue reading Putin’s rattling of nuclear weapons, the danger they pose worldwide – and the role of the Nobel Peace Prize

The Ukraine war reaches its Gettysburg moment. Will we see a draft that could end Putin, or the disintegration of western unity?

The early 1900s baseball star (and sometime philosopher, they often go together) ‘Wee’ Willie Keeler put it perfectly – that the key to the sport is to ‘hit ‘em where they ain’t.’ The same simple, effective philosophy, to an even larger extent, explains Ukraine’s dramatic strategic offensive of last week to the northeast of the … Continue reading The Ukraine war reaches its Gettysburg moment. Will we see a draft that could end Putin, or the disintegration of western unity?

A global food crisis could spell a bigger catastrophe than Vladimir Putin’s war

You always knew you had reached an intellectual dead end when foreign policy grandees sat around a table and recommended sanctions as an all-purpose answer to any problem. While such an initiative almost never practically worked in terms of changing the policy of the offending country, it made political sense in a Washington sort of … Continue reading A global food crisis could spell a bigger catastrophe than Vladimir Putin’s war

A terror network’s struggle for influence in Afghanistan

The presence of al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, under the protection of the Taliban in a luxury villa in Kabul raises important questions about who is actually running the country and what this means for U.S. and allied interests.  When U.S. forces killed al-Zawahiri on July 31, he was not just visiting Afghanistan’s capital city. He and … Continue reading A terror network’s struggle for influence in Afghanistan

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