How the Democrats are becoming more like Trump

In America nowadays, we hear a lot about partisan polarisation. Republicans and Democrats couldn’t be more different, it is argued, with the former moving to the right, the latter to the left. This is certainly borne out on Twitter, where Trump’s dominance is matched only by self-described ‘socialist’ congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. However, in three crucial …

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Why Britain voted Leave: Brexit explained to non-Brits

My non-British friends often ask me why Britain voted to leave the European Union. Some are Europeans themselves, the vast majority of whom feel sad and bewildered by Britain’s departure. Others are American or Asian, who don’t know much about the EU beyond its primary function as a facilitator of trade, and so would like …

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Irreparable damage

Recently Theresa May strongly rejected the idea of holding a second Brexit referendum. Calls for such a vote have been growing among MPs, who claim it’s the only way of breaking the parliamentary deadlock. But May, who survived a Tory leadership challenge, insisted that another referendum would do “irreparable damage to the integrity of our …

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Afghanistan – the futile war

It’s now more than 17 years later, years in which American commanding generals in Afghanistan repeatedly hailed the U.S. military’s “progress” there and regularly applauded the way we had finally “turned a corner” in the Afghan War — only to find more Taliban fighters armed with RPGs around that very corner. Finally, in the 18th …

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The three choices facing Brexit Britain

Regular readers of Epicurus Today will have noticed an increasingly frequent number of posts on Brexit. This is because we have reached a crucial point in the negotiations, whereby the terms of our departure have been agreed, and just need ratification from the British parliament. The problem facing Britain’s lawmakers is that the country is incredibly …

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The US is complicit in the deaths of these children

An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five have starved to death as a result of the conflict in Yemen, Save the Children has warned. The charity says the figure, based on UN data on acute malnutrition, is a conservative estimate. About 8.4 million people (a third of the population) are at risk of …

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America’s empire of bases

“After the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union imploded, keen observers were surprised to discover that the whole global military structure that Washington had set up “America’s empire of bases” or a “globe-girdling Baseworld” – chugged right on. It didn’t matter that there was no real enemy left on Planet Earth. It was, indeed, …

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Are the Democrats the party of the rich? And does it matter?

At least as far as the House of Representatives was concerned, this year’s midterm elections were a success for the Democrats. They gained a decent majority, won 40 seats off the Republicans, and won the popular vote by roughly nine million people in what was the highest midterm turnout since 1914. While not a complete …

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The Chinese – should we fear them?

A friend of mine confided that he feared the Chinese. Should he be regarded as bigoted? I replied that I thought his fears were well justified. I referred to the history of the late 19th and early 20th Century history as a parallel. After the death of Bismarck, who created modern Germany, the tinpot Kaiser …

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Trump’s sanctions on Iran pose a threat he never thought of

Sanctions are used by the US to punish rivals and discourage challenges to American power. The US has imposed (by executive order only) sanctions on a record 944 individuals and entities in the last year. This year it could reach 1000. Such carrots as aid, investment or diplomacy are not even discussed. Sanctions are widely …

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Don’t blame Brussels, blame Whitehall

“Take back control.” That was always the most potent of Brexit slogans. And the most deceitful. Disenchanted voters were never going to gain control of the rules of EU trade. The one sphere in which they could assert control is over the area where they live: local government. Local councils deliver a quarter of all …

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Five thoughts on the midterm elections

Neither Democrats nor Republicans should be satisfied with the results. The Republicans’ failure to keep control of the House despite a booming economy, low unemployment and the lack of an unpopular war doesn’t bode well for them if things get worse. Equally, the Democrats’ losses in the Senate expose the party’s weakness in rural and …

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Has the Republican Party gone crazy?

According to some political scientists, America has undergone what is known as asymmetric polarisation, which is when both of the two main political parties become more extreme, but one becomes far more extreme than the other. In America’s case, both the Republicans and the Democrats have abandoned the centre, but the Republicans are far further …

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Josip Broz Tito and Josef Stalin, 1948

The letter that terrified the most terrifying leader of modern times. When a schism grew between the Communist allies, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Soviet leader Stalin expected the smaller country to bow before his power. Instead, the Yugoslavian President Marshal Tito defied Stalin. The latter was incensed, and despatched successive assassins to murder Tito. …

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What Germany’s Green Party can teach America

A fortnight ago, I wrote on how the Democrats can win the midterms. Today, I wanted to focus on a successful example of an insurgent centre-left party- Germany’s Green Party- and what they can teach Democrats, and Americans generally. On the 14th October, an election was held in the German state of Bavaria. The closest thing Germany …

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The gunrunner President

American weapons makers have dominated the global arms trade for decades. In any given year, they account for between one-third and more than a half by value of all international weapons sales. Until recently, the Trump administration had focused on the promotion of big-ticket items like fighter planes, tanks, and missile defense systems around the …

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Our collective memory is fading

The famous quote by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, is echoed by Yascha Mounk, who writes, “One possible explanation for why young people are disenchanted with democracy is that they have little conception of what it would mean to live in a different political system.” Today most …

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