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

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan

(Image: Ed Reinke/AP)

This Is How Reaganism and Thatcherism End

Anne Applebaum

Atlantic

In an Italian hotel ballroom of spectacular opulence—on red velvet chairs, beneath glittering crystal chandeliers and a stained-glass ceiling—the conservative movement that once inspired people across Europe, built bridges across the Iron Curtain and helped to win the Cold War came, finally, to an end.

The occasion was a conference in Rome last week called “God, Honor, Country: President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and the Freedom of Nations.” Inspired by the Israeli writer Yoram Hazony, convened under the banner of “National Conservatism,” this event was co-organized by Chris DeMuth, a former president of the American Enterprise Institute (in the era when it supported global capitalism and the Iraq War) and John O’Sullivan, a former speechwriter for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. O’Sullivan now runs the Danube Institute, which is funded, via a foundation, by the Hungarian government. The conference itself was funded, according to DeMuth, by an anonymous American donor. This was the successor to the National Conservatism Conference held in Washington, D.C., last year. That occasion featured a strange agglomeration of new and old conservatives, including both John Bolton and Tucker Carlson, people who still talk hopefully about shrinking the state and those who want to enlarge it, people still jockeying to be relevant and people full of confidence that they now are. (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

(Image: http://www.warontherocks.com)

Russian Demographics and Power: Does the Kremlin have a long game?

Michael Kofman

War on the Rocks

One of the oft-voiced constraints on the longevity, or perhaps durability, of Russian power is that of its demographic decline. If there is a mainstay of wisdom in Washington, it is that Russia’s underperforming economy, and a terrible demographic outlook, mean that Russia doesn’t have a “long game.” President Barack Obama echoed this view in 2014:

I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything. Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking.’ (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

(Image: Thomas Paterson)

Requiem for a Dream

Roger Cohen

New York Times

I have covered many stories that marked me over the past 40 years, in war zones and outside them, but none that has affected me as personally as Britain’s exit from the European Union. Brexit Day, now upon us, feels like the end of hope, a moral collapse, a self-amputation that will make the country where I grew up poorer in every sense.

Poorer materially, of course, but above all poorer in its shriveled soul, divorced from its neighborhood, internally fractured, smaller, meaner, more insular, more alone, no longer a protagonist in the great miracle of the postwar years — Europe’s journey toward borderless peace and union. Britain, in a fit of deluded jingoism, has opted for littleness. (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

Hanover Park children pose for a picture and mimic gang gestures embedded by the suburb's gang culture, although they are not gang members.

(Image: Guy Oliver/TNH)

Demobilising South Africa’s ‘child soldier’ gangs

Guy Oliver

The New Humanitarian

Hanover Park, a depressing neighbourhood of drab buildings and unemployed young men, is one island in a violent gangland archipelago that stretches across South Africa’s coastal city of Cape Town, where even the deployment of the army has failed to stop the shootings.

Gangsters as young as 12 operate within a contested jigsaw of fiefdoms in the historically “coloured” township just a 15-minute drive from well-heeled central Cape Town, South Africa’s legislative capital.

Mary Bruce points to identical three-storey flats 30 metres from her Donegal Court home in Hanover Park. “That’s the Ghetto Kids. Over there is the Dollars, and this side is the Americans: they fight everyone.” A couple of hundred metres towards the taxi rank the “turf” yields to two more gangs – the Mongrels and Laughing Boys.

Up to 500 youths in Hanover Park could be classed as “child soldiers”, according to Brian Williams, a visiting professor for peace, mediation, and reconciliation at the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu, in Uganda. (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

Image result for oz katerji soleimani new statesman

Qasem Soleimani brutalised the Middle East, but the bloodshed is far from over

Oz Katerji

New Statesman

Nobody saw it coming. Nobody. General Qasem Soleimani, the most feared man in the Middle East, was assassinated in Baghdad by a US drone strike in the early hours of Friday morning, and not a single Middle East analyst, journalist or pundit had seen it coming. When disbelief finally faded and reality set in, the confirmation of the news that the commander of Iran’s Quds Force had been assassinated on orders from Washington sent shockwaves around the world. We were and are witnessing an era-defining moment for the Middle East.

The Soleimani era is over, not a single person predicted it, and not a single person knows what will happen as a result for the region, or for the world. And that is terrifying. “A multitude of mixed feelings, but ‘fear’ is the dominant one,” tweeted Iraqi journalist and editor of Irfaa Sawtak, Rasha Al Aqeedi. “God-like figures aren’t supposed to die. When they do, it gets very confusing.” (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

(Image: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times / Redux)

War Is Not Over: What the Optimists Get Wrong About Conflict

Tanisha M. Fazal and Paul Poast

Foreign Affairs

The political turmoil of recent years has largely disabused us of the notion that the world has reached some sort of utopian “end of history.” And yet it can still seem that ours is an unprecedented era of peace and progress. On the whole, humans today are living safer and more prosperous lives than their ancestors did. They suffer less cruelty and arbitrary violence. Above all, they seem far less likely to go to war. The incidence of war has been decreasing steadily, a growing consensus holds, with war between great powers becoming all but unthinkable and all types of war becoming more and more rare.

This optimistic narrative has influential backers in academia and politics. At the start of this decade, the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker devoted a voluminous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, to the decrease of war and violence in modern times. Statistic after statistic pointed to the same conclusion: looked at from a high enough vantage point, violence is in decline after centuries of carnage, reshaping every aspect of our lives “from the waging of wars to the spanking of children.” (Read more)

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”

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

Image result for nytimes jungle prince

(Image: Brian Denton/New York Times)

The Jungle Prince of Delhi

Ellen Barry

New York Times

On a spring afternoon in 2016, when I was working in India, I received a telephone message from a recluse who lived in a forest in the middle of Delhi.

The message was passed on by our office manager through Gchat, and it thrilled me so much that I preserved it.

Office manager: Ellen have you been trying to get in touch with the royal family of Oudh?

Ellen: this has to be the best telephone message ever

Office manager: It was quite strange! The secretary left precise instructions for when you should call her — tomorrow between 11 am and 12 noon

Ellen: oh my god

I knew about the royal family of Oudh, of course. They were one of the city’s great mysteries. Their story was passed between tea sellers and rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers in Old Delhi: In a forest, they said, in a palace cut off from the city that surrounds it, lived a prince, a princess and a queen, said to be the last of a storied Shiite Muslim royal line.

There were different versions, depending on whom you spoke to. Some people said the Oudh family had been there since the British had annexed their kingdom, in 1856, and that the forest had grown up around the palace, engulfing it. Some said they were a family of jinns, the supernatural beings of Arabian folklore. (Read more)

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Continue reading “This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy”