The Western Image of Order

Roosevelt in 1902 [source: Wikimedia]

The peoples of this planet desire both peace and order, but we have become gridlocked in our thinking about how to achieve this. European and North American nations have simply assumed that the world would naturally adopt westernisation as the way forward; Islam has been locked for over a thousand years in its faith that the… Continue Reading ➤

King Charles III

Prince Charles arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in the United States, 1981 [source: Wikimedia]

The great West End blockbuster of the moment is Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III. It portrays a chain of events after the unthinkable but inevitable moment when Queen Elizabeth dies. Bartlett’s story contains all the tragic drama of Shakespeare’s portrayals of hollow crowns, complete with an array of allusions to Richard II, King Lear, Macbeth… Continue Reading ➤

Prostitution, Drugs, and GDP: does the Reality Check Pay Off?

[source: Wikimedia]

The European economic recovery seems to have found an unlikely helping hand. The UK, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Finland are among the nations now moving to include illicit activities in their calculations of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the most widely-used measure of goods and services output across an economy. By one estimate, the UK could… Continue Reading ➤

Silent Partners – How to do things with the uncanny

[source: Wikimedia]

The current exhibition “Silent Partners” at the Fitzwilliam Museum charters the history of the artist’s mannequin. From Walter Sickert’s corpselike dummy to Alan Beeton’s androgynous muse, propped up at a writing table in the gallery just as it appears in Beeton’s oil paintings, the exhibition reflects on mannequin’s shift from a functional stand-in for the… Continue Reading ➤

Oman’s Precarious Future

Qaboos in Oman, 1998 [source: Wikimedia]

Oman is an oasis of stability and moderation in the Middle East. Perhaps problematically for Western liberal democrats, this is thanks to Sheikh Qaboos bin Said al Said, Oman’s absolute monarch. He took power in 1970 in a British-supported coup against his father, the previous Sultan. It was a country only in name: a collection… Continue Reading ➤

// Brazil Between the Shots //

[source: Wikimedia]

// Foreword // This year, Brazil has occupied a central space in the global public consciousness. As the host nation for this summer’s 2014 FIFA World Cup, it became the subject of worldwide scrutiny, making headlines for its performances both on and off the pitch. In late October, attention was redirected towards the presidential elections,… Continue Reading ➤

Russia: Aggressor in the Baltics?

Московский Кремль [source: Pedro J Pacheco]

NATO’s 10-day TRIDENT JUNCTURE 14 exercise came to a close on Monday 17 November amidst growing fears that the Kremlin’s alleged military intervention in Ukraine will be followed by a campaign of intimidation and psychological diminishment in the Baltics, in what is seen as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to reaffirm Russia’s status in its former sphere… Continue Reading ➤