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weiwei Global conflict 

Political art can easily turn into propaganda

The acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been repeatedly persecuted in China over his human rights activism. Having previously suffered a brain haemorrhage as a result of a police beating, he was arrested in 2011 and imprisoned for 81 days in solitary confinement in a tiny unventilated cell. His art tells us about the importance of free speech, the oppressive reality of a true surveillance society and life as a struggle for freedom against tyranny. The best of his creations are as imaginative and creative as they are moving. To…

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death-on-a-pale-horse Global conflict 

The axis of destruction

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to fling open the doors of Germany to more than a million migrants from the developing world baffled many. Although only a minority of these migrants were refugees fleeing persecution, with most of them seeking instead the chance of economic opportunities in Europe, it is widely believed that Mrs Merkel saw the presence of at least a proportion of Syrian refugees amongst their number as an opportunity finally to shake off the spectre of her country’s belligerent past and recast its reputation as a nation…

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claude_bernard_and_his_pupils-_oil_painting_after_leon-augus_wellcome_v0017769 Global conflict 

The Iranian symptom of the west’s auto-immune disease

People are understandably preoccupied with the threat from North Korea and what to do about it. But with the polyvalent perversity that characterises our modern age – afflicted as it is by the political equivalent of auto-immune disease in which it seeks to destroy its allies while embracing its mortal enemies – many in the west continue to downplay or ignore the far greater threat to the world from North Korea’s partner in crime, the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s not just that, as with North Korea today so with…

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turkey_in_asia_1909-1 Global conflict 

Is cantonisation the way out of the Middle East quagmire?

Given the carnage in Syria and the intractability of such a complex religious and ethnic civil war, it has often been observed – rightly – that the very notion of one unified country is inimical to Arab culture. It was imposed upon the Arab world after World War One by western countries which either didn’t realise or didn’t care that the nation state was wholly inappropriate for a culture which was fundamentally tribal. What we’ve seen happening, not just in Syria but more widely throughout the Arab world, is the…

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hadcrut4-may17a Global conflict 

The truth about that inconvenient truth

Delighted to see that Roy Spencer’s e-book, “An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy,” is trouncing Gore’s own book “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” on the Amazon e-book rankings – despite the fact that Gore’s book has been accompanied by the razzmatazz of a movie and promotional tour, and Spencer’s book only appeared on Amazon last week. Spencer’s book has two main themes: that most of Gore’s claims about weather disasters, melting ice sheets and rising sea levels are either untrue or the result…

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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Goya, 1799 Global conflict 

The eclipse of reason in the west

Historical statues are being toppled in America; snarling, violent anti-fascists mirror the behaviour they are supposedly against; Britain’s Conservative Government is to enforce hate-speech guidelines which are as contestable as they are subjective. As we watch western societies buckling under the bizarre combination of an apparently extreme concern to protect other people’s feelings with an extreme attempt to suppress other people’s opinions, many of us feel utter bewilderment. How can so many people who are ostensibly devoted to reason and freedom be behaving so irrationally and oppressively? Having tracked the…

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nagasaki-moument Global conflict Israel 

Thank goodness for the Japanese ambassador

The BBC is still pushing the hysterical line that it is President Trump, not Kim Jong-un, who is edging the world to the brink of war. The BBC News website, reporting that Trump is “ramping up the rhetorical brinkmanship”, thoughtfully provides us with evidence of Trump’s “nuclear fixation” (Trump’s!!) and also features a delightfully amusing little quiz question inviting people to guess which leader made a particular bombastic remark, Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un. Nucleardum and Nucleardee, eh? You could die laughing, couldn’t you. The BBC’s message is thus that…

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kim-jong-un Global conflict 

Who frightens the alt-left most? Three guesses…

A country’s leader terrifies the world by threatening to unleash nuclear war. He’s nuts? Sure. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un? No, America’s Donald J Trump. Yup, that’s right. For US Democrats and the mainstream media, President Trump is more terrifying than Kim Jong-un, the psychotic dictator of North Korea. Pyongyang is now said by the US Defence Intelligence Agency to have produced nuclear weapons for delivery by ballistic missiles which can reach American cities. In response to this revelation, President Trump said: “North Korea best not make any more threats to…

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arak Global conflict 

Why the US should withdraw from the Iran deal now

John Bolton, America’s former ambassador to the UN, says the US must now withdraw from the disastrous Iran deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was brokered in 2015 by President Obama and the other permanent members on the UN Security Council plus Germany. The US State Department has just certified, for the second time during the Trump administration, that Iran is complying with the deal. I’m told this provoked absolute fury by President Trump. He felt he had no option, though, but to sign…

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battle-of-vienna-8 Global conflict 

The Saudi Islamist conundrum

Modern Islamic Warfare, a monograph by Middle East analyst and former Pentagon staffer Dr Harold Rhode, is essential reading. You can download it  here. Concisely and clearly it explains the Islamic world, the confusions it causes amongst those who don’t understand it and why, as a result, the west is being defeated by it. There is one passage in particular which sheds valuable light on the Islamist threat now terrorising the world, and explains in turn the otherwise baffling role played by Saudi Arabia in both helping create that threat and fighting…

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