This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

(Image: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street)

UK and EU agree to ‘last throw of the dice’ in Brexit trade deal talks

Jim Brunsden, Sam Fleming, and George Parker

Financial Times

The UK and the EU have agreed to make one final attempt to secure a post-Brexit trade deal, with talks set to resume in Brussels on Sunday, in what British officials claim is “the last throw of the dice”.

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed during a phone call on Saturday that an eleventh hour push should be made to get a deal over the line.

In a joint statement after the call, the two leaders said “that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams” to assess whether outstanding disagreements “can be resolved”. (Read more)

Slavery will never be history as long as we turn a blind eye to China

Nick Cohen


Today’s confrontation with the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries could puff us up and make us feel better about ourselves were the slave trade of the 21st not thriving. We will remember 2020 for the crowds taking down statues of Confederate generals and English slavers; of Black Lives Matter protests against slavery’s continuing legacy of condemning African Americans to suffer as their country’s lowest caste.

So successful has the overdue moment of reckoning been that Hollywood and the leaders of American capitalism have embraced anti-racism. In the words of its CEO, Tim Cook, Apple was willing to commit to change that would end “the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism”. Do not let a leftish sneer form on your lips. Causes only win when the likes of Tim Cook endorse them. The elite’s embrace is a sign of victory. (Read more)

Crafting a Global Message of Anti-Racism

Nicholas Grant

Black Perspectives

In late October, Kemi Badenoch took to the dispatch box in the House of Commons during a parliamentary debate about Black History Month to offer a scathing denouncement of “politicized” education, critical race theory and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The UK Minister for Women and Equalities insisted that, “Our history is our own, it’s not America’s. Too often those who campaign against racial inequality import wholesale narrative and assumptions that have nothing to do with this country’s history and have no place on these islands.” She doubled down on this point by insisting, “Most Black British people who came to our shores were not brought here in chains but came voluntarily due to their connections to the UK and in search of a better life.” Drawing on her own family history and evoking the story of Tom Molineux – the formerly enslaved African American prize-fighter who found fame in Britain in the early nineteenth century – Badenoch concluded that, “…this is a country that welcomes people and that Black people from all over the world have found this to be a great and welcoming country.” (Read more)

Has China given up on Australia?

James Curran

Australian Financial Review

The government response to this week’s tensions with China was understandable, and while it marks a new low in relations, it also confirms what was an existing trend.

Hawks in both capitals, already in full flight, will now soar higher on these gusty thermals of outrage. An aggressive Chinese nationalism will continue to blaze its ugly trail across the globe.

Australian sensitivities have been pricked at a delicate time for its military, with its slouch-hat nationalism badly bruised from the revelations of the Brereton inquiry.

The Australia-China relationship now finds itself where Beijing and Washington were at the onset of COVID-19, trading in tit-for-tat barbs that only reinforce negative stereotypes each has of the other. (Read more)

McCarthyism was never defeated. Trumpism won’t be either

Beverly Gage

Washington Post

A month after the presidential election, most Republican lawmakers have refused to acknowledge the obvious: Despite President Trump’s fondest hopes and florid temper tantrums, Joe Biden won. This display of political cowardice can tempt us to seek comfort in the past — in moments when even the most stalwart GOP loyalists put country over party.

One such episode occurred in August 1974, when three Republican congressional leaders trudged to the White House to let Richard Nixon know that he was fast losing his party’s support. Another took place in late 1954: A Republican-controlled Senate voted to censure Joseph McCarthy, one of their own, after four years of lies and vitriol. In that nobler age, the story goes, McCarthy’s colleagues recognized the threat he posed to democratic institutions and political fair play, and voted to bring an end not only to McCarthy’s personal reign of terror but to the broader phenomenon of McCarthyism — just as many Democrats (and more than a few Republicans) hope that Trumpism will disappear, or at least diminish, once Trump himself leaves office. (Read more)

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