Middle East in Revolt?

Wonderful news from the Middle East these days. At long last the populations are not prepared to put up with their corrupt and incompetent rulers. It became a tradition in the Arab Middle East; including north Africa, that a leader once he attains power would proceed to treat the country as his personal fiefdom. Oil and all other sources of wealth are treated as personal possessions to be disposed of as the leader sees fit. Continue reading

Perennial Victims

At the start of a new decade in the twenty first century, I felt it is right to address this article to my fellow countrymen and women wherever they happen to be. The urge to write the piece arose from the stream of emails and articles that regularly appear on my computer screen. Most express heartfelt and genuine feelings of despair at the awful state of affairs in Iraq and other Arab countries. Continue reading

Fallen Fig Leaf

It was appropriate that George W Bush gave the fig leaf a final tug this autumn. The Western ‘civilised’ world has covered itself with a huge fig leaf: for many decades. Not content with appropriating for themselves all the virtues on offer, politicians and commentators from the Western world chose to underline that monopoly by constantly criticising others for their lack of such virtues. Continue reading

USA and War

The USA drifts from one war to the next and there is, it seems, a constant supply of new targets for future wars. Undeniably, a hegemonic power in decline, as the USA has been for several decades, is an unstable and easily provoked entity. It has global commitments that are too difficult (and too embarrassing) to discard willingly, and it has an increasing number of challengers that now feel able to stand up to a weakening power. Moreover, it is not easy for a waning hegemonic power to accept or even recognise that it is not the undisputed leader anymore. Continue reading

Posted in USA

Life of Make Believe

This article is not about the reliability or otherwise of the news or the trustworthiness or otherwise of politicians and business leaders. Dissembling (polite word for falsification and pretence!) has been part of public life for many centuries. The article is about the yawning gap opening up between reality and what is deemed to be normal day to day life particularly within ‘advanced societies’. Continue reading

Systematic Destruction of Iraq

Note: This article is based on a presentation I gave at a Cost of War Conference held at Liverpool Hope University (June 2009). The presentation, and the article below, stressed the need to look at the 2003 war against Iraq as one episode of a long process that set out to transform Iraq from a country that was functioning reasonably well to one that is hardly recognisable as a national entity. Publication of the latest Arab Human Development Report in July 2009 prompted me to publish this article as whatever ills afflict the Arab countries can be seen in very sharp focus in Iraq; only magnified several fold. Continue reading

Futile Promises – “So that this could never happen again”

A search on Google of the above statement, and slight variations on it, yields some 20,000 hits! An abused child dies, a military adventure fails, or economic meltdown looms out of the blue invariably results in the now well-rehearsed apologetic pronouncement that “lessons have been learnt” and that “steps have been taken to make sure this does not happen again”. Of course a variation on ‘this’ happens again and again. Continue reading

The West’s Chronic Crisis: From the ‘West’ to the ‘Rest’

The elephant in the corner of the room

Periodic crises should be understood for what they are. They provide opportunities to introduce unpalatable, measures that have major detrimental impact on citizens. The 2007/08 crisis is a case in point. It should not be viewed as a discreet event that will in time pass to allow Western economies to continue as before. In fact, for several decades there has not been a moment when the future was as good as the past. Continue reading

Iraq Under Mandate Again: Eighty Years Later!

Time to Wake Up

At the start of the second period of mandate given by the international community for a foreign power to govern Iraq, this disheartening article is not intended to depress us even further. The aim is simply to show that little has altered in Iraq in over eighty years, and that a change in both style and substance is now overdue if Iraq’s association with failure and submission were to be reversed. Continue reading

The Popes were right about the myths of economic liberalism

All that glitters is not gold

Five bishops from the Church of England roundly criticised the economic policies of the Labour Party government in Britain in an article published in the Sunday Telegraph on Sunday 28 December 2008. One of the bishops, from Manchester, branded Labour as being “morally corrupt”. Traditionally, British governments of all colours have followed; over the centuries and whenever possible, extreme economic liberal policies that put the focus on the market while relegating the state to a minor role in economic affairs. Continue reading