Current Affairs

The Backdrop of the Crisis in Syria

Itamar Rabinovich— An atrocious civil war has been raging in Syria for more than six years now. More than half a million Syrians have been killed thus far, and more than ten million—almost half the population—have been uprooted. The Syrian crisis has affected the stability of neighboring countries, undermined the

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Eclipses and the Lessons of History

Anthony Aveni— “Celestial source of life and light on earth! What envious rival intercepts thy rays? Dares thy own satellite intercepts thy blaze, Or stay thy stream of empyrean birth?…”   The first four lines of a sonnet “tweeted out” by the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy

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Benjamin Franklin on Immigration

To celebrate the publication of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin: Volume 42 this month, we’re highlighting the founding father’s opinions on immigration as found in his letters and pamphlets. The following excerpt is taken from his pamphlet “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America.” Benjamin Franklin— With Regard to Encouragements for

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Remembering (and Forgetting) Collective History

David Rieff— Lawrence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen” was first published in the London Times on September 21, 1914, six weeks after the Great War had begun. It is sometimes suggested that Binyon, who was a distinguished art historian as well as a poet (he was the British Museum’s Keeper

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The CIA’s Drone Policy Under Trump

Christopher J. Fuller— President Trump’s agenda has borrowed heavily from Reagan. Tax cuts, a military buildup, and even the slogan “Make America Great Again” were all signatures of the 1980 presidential campaign, noisily repackaged for a new age. Within a day of assuming office, Trump revealed a further resonance with

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Decarbonization and the Fossil Fuels – What Happens Next?

Dieter Helm— The simple answer is that if Paris is the best we can do to decarbonize the global energy system, the companies can relax and carry on as usual. Paris keeps the climate change bureaucracy in business, and the UN in the game, but it emphatically does not do

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Digitalization: The Deadly Threat to Fossil Fuels

Dieter Helm— Decarbonization should eventually bring about the end of fossil fuels, but they face a much more immediate threat. That threat is digitalization. Everything digital is electric. The future of energy is therefore electric too. Whilst there are some people who think that the impact of the communications revolution

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Trump Gets Lucky on Energy

Dieter Helm— The Trump narrative on energy is, like his on manufacturing, full of holes. But this might not matter much. What is going on in the oil and gas markets, and what is going on in the US, may produce results for which he can claim the credit, even

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How Erskine Childers Became My Friend

Karen M. Paget— I met Erskine Childers, a former officer of the National Student Association and a distinguished United Nations official, long after he died. If that seems impossible, let me explain. I came to know the young Erskine Childers through letters left behind in the United States National Student

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The Networks of U.S. Governance

Anne-Marie Slaughter— Since I write a great deal about networks, interviewers often ask me about Donald Trump’s network, pointing out that he “certainly seems to understand how to use a political network” in a way that bypasses mainstream media and pundits. That’s a fair question, but one that also reveals

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