Foreign policy

1 August 2022News

How Johnson and Truss have helped to undermine diplomacy and prolong the war in Ukraine

As Noam Chomsky has repeatedly pointed out since February: ‘our prime concern should be to think through carefully what we can do to bring the criminal Russian invasion to a quick end and to save the Ukrainian victims from more horrors’ (PN 2660).

This must mean an immediate ceasefire and a quick peace agreement along the lines nearly agreed at the end of March.

The reality is that this brutal and dangerous war will end in one of three ways: the two sides will…

1 April 2022Feature

A Democracy Now! interview with Stephen Zunes on 21 March

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.

As we continue to look at the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we’re joined by professor Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco. He recently published an article in The Progressive headlined ‘The US Hypocrisy on Ukraine.’ Zunes condemns the Russian invasion but criticises what he sees as President Biden’s hypocrisy.

He writes: ‘If Biden really believed that…

1 April 2022Review

Pluto Press, 2021; 336pp; £19.99 (use discount code ‘PEACENEWS20’ to get 20 percent off at the Pluto Press webshop – offer valid until 30 April)

In the first year of COVID-19, while most of us were watching too much TV and just trying to stay sane, Paul Rogers was revising and rewriting his classic book on global security, Losing Control, to create this updated, enriched and unmissable fourth edition.

Among other things, he added a powerful new section on COVID-19 and the ‘lethally slow’ response of the UK. As part of this section, Rogers criticises the British government’s decision in late 2020 to pre-empt an ongoing…

1 April 2022Feature

Western commentators who rush to condemn Putin’s nuclear madness would do well to remember Western nuclear madness of the past, argues Milan Rai

On top of the fear and horror caused by the month-long Russian onslaught in Ukraine, many people around the world have been shocked and frightened by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recent words and actions in relation to his nuclear weapons.

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the nuclear-armed NATO alliance, called Russia’s latest nuclear moves over Ukraine ‘irresponsible’ and ‘dangerous rhetoric’. Also on 27 February, British Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the commons…

1 April 2022Feature

A comparison of the wars in Ukraine and Yemen - and the west's response

Boris Johnson told the Conservative spring conference in Blackpool that the Ukraine war was ‘a moment of choice... a choice between freedom and oppression’, where victory for Russia would be ‘a green light for autocrats everywhere.’ (19 March)

He had already given that green light to the autocrats by backing the Saudi war in Yemen wholeheartedly, ever since he became foreign secretary in 2016.

Saudi Arabia’s record on democracy, freedom and human rights is even worse than that…

1 February 2022Feature

What happens if we apply a single standard to international behaviour?  

What if... North Korea had somehow managed to buy the Cape Verde group of islands (about 400 miles off the coast of Senegal) from Portugal in 1965 for, say, £3m?

What if... the North Korean government had then expelled the population of the biggest island in Cape Verde – in order to lease the island to China for military purposes?

What if... China had then built communications, naval and air bases in Cape Verde from 1975 onwards, constructing two 12,000-foot-long runways,…

1 February 2022Feature

Looking at China-Taiwan from a different angle

What if... after finding out that he’d lost the July 1945 election, Winston Churchill had scooped up the royal family and a handful of aristocrats, quite a bit of the British armed forces (including a fair chunk of its military equipment), some financiers from the City of London, and much of Whitehall’s civil service – and then retreated to the Isle of Mull on the west coast of Scotland?

What if... Churchill had loaded all the gold reserves of the Bank of England into a military…

1 February 2022News

How NATO’s broken promises led us to war  

There are two connected Ukraine crises going on. There is a civil war in Eastern Ukraine, in the Russian-speaking Donbass region, which Russia is involved in. There is also a larger confrontation over NATO expansion. The massing of over 100,000 Russian soldiers on the border and the threat of all-out war are linked to both crises.

As we go to press, it’s not clear what is going to happen.

What is clear is that there are nonviolent solutions to both crises.

Solving the…

1 October 2021Feature

Sarvy Geranpayeh interviewed Noam Chomsky for Gulf News on 8 September

Gulf News: It was only several months ago that you predicted that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would cause the collapse of the Afghan army and the government and that’s exactly what’s happened.

That’s what’s [been] unfolding in the last few weeks, as we’ve seen, and yet we see the Biden administration and others express surprise at what’s happened or at least at the speed at which it’s all happened. Where are your thoughts on that?

Chomsky: The basic problem is one that…

1 August 2019Feature

Five academics examine our media's coverage of foreign affairs, in a piece censored (and then rejected) by a leading liberal publication.

Egyptian security forces killed 817 protesters as they cleared the sit-in of Rab'a al-Adawiya Square in Cairo on 14 August 2013. Photo: Amsg07 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

When Noam Chomsky first observed that the United States had attacked South Vietnam, he was upending a particularly tedious case of media…

1 August 2019Review

Polity Press, 2018; 240pp; £15.99

In this challenging analysis, Dave Wearing examines Britain’s relationship with the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Oman – in the context of modern international capitalism.

From the outset, Wearing dismisses the familiar discourse of ‘British values’, which presents our liberal democracy as being in natural opposition to an authoritarian Middle East, warning that this obscures the far weightier ‘common cause’ held…

1 December 2018Review

Polity, 2018; 224pp; £15.99

Mary Kaldor uses the term ‘security culture’ to refer to any set of tools and practices that a nation state, a non-state actor, or an armed (or unarmed group) uses in seeking to address or perpetuate violent conflict. In this book she focuses on four such ‘security cultures’: ‘geo-politics’, ‘new wars’, the liberal peace and the war on terror, examining their histories, the forces that motivate and sustain them, and their relationships to power.

Of the four security cultures, ‘…

1 August 2018Feature

What if the next British cabinet contains a minister for peace?

By Fibonacci - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=837817

Have you heard about the minister for peace and disarmament?

Did you know that the Labour party has promised to establish a minister for peace and disarmament (MPD) if they win the next general election? If so, do you know what policy areas this minister might focus on and how they could work with other…

1 June 2018Comment

Is the US president opening Pandora's box?

US president Donald Trump has taken steps towards war with China and Iran, even as he seeks peace with North Korea. But things may not be quite what they seem.

At the beginning of May, the Trump administration declared trade war on China.

The US gave China a punishing list of economic demands, including a reduction in the US-China trade imbalance by $200bn by June 2020. (This would require the Chinese government to effectively take over the economy, when the US has been…

1 June 2018News

Trump's Korea summit is heading for disaster, argues Milan Rai

US national security advisor John Bolton, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, US president Donald Trump and US vice-president Mike Pence (left to right) on 2 May 2018. Photo: US State Department

We can expect a lot of twists and turns over the next month, before the unexpected 12 June summit in Singapore between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. There is a reasonable way forward that experts agree gives a solid chance for building towards some kind of…