The Rising Cost of Lying

The Rising Cost of Lying

According to official Russian sources, the Ukrainians are either killing their own people or staging highly realistic scenes of mass murder, with the sole aim of discrediting Russia’s invading forces.  Of course, nobody in their right mind, except perhaps the most dyed-in-the-wool ideologue or craven fellow traveller, believes any of this.  Applying David Hume’s test [...]

The World Turns on its Dark Side

The World Turns on its Dark Side

Putin’s war of choice in Ukraine has untold impact on countless lives and on the future security and stability of human civilisation. What to say?  Let's start with the nature of decision-making. Much has been made of Putin's shift from cool-headed strategist to Napoleonic visionary, and I confess that I saw nothing in the evolution [...]

Afghanistan: an object lesson in strategic failure

Afghanistan: an object lesson in strategic failure

Many years ago, I was talking with an Afghan who had lived through the country's civil war. After he had described the horrendous privations and dangers he and his family had experienced, he paused. 'Don't ever leave us like that again', he said.  And that, horrifically, is exactly what is happening. Not everything since the [...]

D’oh!

D’oh!

Hardly a day goes by without me reading a story about some conspiracy theory or other and asking myself whether we might finally have reached 'peak stupid'.  Of course stupidity is nothing new in human society, history (I would contend) essentially being a succession of stupid decisions punctuated by moments of getting things right. But [...]

A drama, a crisis, and a tragedy

A drama, a crisis, and a tragedy

As we all now know, Dominic Cummings’ evidence to Parliament yesterday was something of a bombshell - an account of a political leadership beset by ill-preparedness, detachment and complacency. Ill-equipped to deal with a crisis of this magnitude. Perhaps the best single word to describe the Johnson administration’s performance throughout is ‘hapless’.  Not stated explicitly [...]