China

Inflection Point

21 July 2021 ‘Zeitgeist’ is a slippery word. At best it’s just a fancy German way of saying ‘the spirit of the times’; at worst it is only pretentious noise. So maybe we should say ‘inflection point’ instead. I think we are passing through an inflection point. People who have taken climate change seriously for …

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Iran: Giving Up On JCPOA

14 June 2021 “Lifting Trump’s sanctions, @SecBlinken, is a legal& moral obligation, NOT negotiating leverage. Didn’t work for Trump – won’t work for you,” tweeted Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late last month. But what if US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (and President Joe Biden) have just decided that reviving the 2015 nuclear …

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Falling Birth Rates

18 May 2021 The birth rates are falling fast in all the world’s more prosperous countries, but the generation now in their middle years have not yet grasped what that means for their later years. If they end up needing some sort of assisted living, either at home or in a care home, they will …

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The ‘Defence’ Follies

25 March 2021 In the early decades of the Cold War, this was the season when NATO defence chiefs would announce their spending plans for the next year, and they would almost always ‘discover’ some new threat from the Soviet Union to justify the money. In the United States, for example, the intelligence services traditionally …

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Burma: Back to Basics

3 February 2021 China’s Xinhua news agency tactfully described the Burmese army’s seizure of power on Monday as a ‘cabinet reshuffle’. This suggests a possible new approach for Donald Trump’s legal team as he faces a second impeachment trial, but it won’t work, for two reasons. One, Trump’s coup attempt failed. Two, people got killed. …

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