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Obama abroad

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 29 May When it came to foreign affairs, Barack Obama’s first presidential task was a simple one. He had to be better than his predecessor. For this alone, it seems, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. But those who hoped Obama’s promise of “change” would apply to the US’s… Read more

UK election: democracy and inequality

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 11 April Like this year’s English Premier League, the coming British general election at least offers the excitement of an uncertain finish. But where the three top football clubs offer intriguing contrasts in tactics and styles, the three mainstream political parties are competing stolidly for the middle ground, with the… Read more

Afghanistan: Crimes of the New Century

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 28 December There is one sad, near certainty about 2009: the war in Afghanistan will grow bloodier, more brutal and more dangerous to the region as a whole. Barack Obama has coupled his pledge to withdraw US troops from Iraq (a pledge already heavily qualified) with an insistence on escalating… Read more

Evading the Invasion

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 7 October Who’s being invaded by whom? From the headlines in Britain’s most popular newspapers, and statements from politicians, not least government ministers, you’d think the country was about to be swamped by an alien horde, a wave of immigrants threatening its culture, public services and safety. In his speech… Read more

Good riddance Tony Blair

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 6 May After ten years as Prime Minister, Tony Blair faces the end of the road, and for most of us in Britain, his resignation will come not a moment too soon. A man elected in 1997 because he was portrayed as moderate, prudent and sincere has become a by-word… Read more

Misbegotten Afghan adventure

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 17 September NEARLY five years after the U.S.-led coalition dispatched the Taliban and proclaimed a new dawn for Afghanistan, foreign troops are waging a full-scale war against insurgents said to control as much as half the country. Meanwhile, millions of Afghans face starvation, and the development and democracy promised by… Read more

The media and the warmongers

The Journalist, October 2002 POPULAR SUPPORT for wars in foreign lands is not a natural phenomenon. It has to be carefully constructed, sometimes over decades, sometimes in a matter of weeks, but always with the assistance of the media. And when powerful forces committed to making war get to work, journalists come under pressure. From… Read more

The Unending War on Terror

Tribune, 28 February 2002 On 19 February, the Pentagon Central Command confirmed that it has launched missile strikes in Afghanistan on “enemy forces” who are neither Al Qaeda nor Taliban, but are apparently hostile to the interim regime of Hamid Karzai. Asked by reporters in Delhi about the progress of the war in Afghanistan, General… Read more

The new global anti-war movement

Red Pepper, December 2001 It’s been widely observed that the US-led global alliance ‘against terrorism’ is a motley assemblage, bound together by expedience rather than principle. Some would say the same about the global anti-war alliance now being constructed to oppose it. Diversity is certainly the hallmark of this emergent movement, but it is both… Read more

This jibe is meant to stifle debate

There is nothing anti-American about opposing the drive to war The Guardian, 4 October, 2001 Reading the fulminations against the alleged anti-Americanism of those opposed to the current drive to war, I feel I’ve come full circle. As an American teenager protesting against the butchery in Vietnam, I became accustomed to being attacked by some… Read more