Chasing Dirty Sexy Russian Money

George-Osborne-Evening-Standard-Lebedev

Unless you’ve been in a cave, you will have heard the good news: George Osborne has found work at long last! The former Chancellor will soon be the editor of The Evening Standard, the only free London newspaper, distributed at tube stations across the city. Plenty of people have raised the issue of a conflict of interests, losing track of who has gone through the spinning door. The full picture is far more absurd than one politician’s decision. The Evening Standard is owned by Alexander Lebedev and watched over by his son Evgeny. Former editor Sarah Sands is going to take up a new … Continue reading

Are you an Assadist?

Hunkering down: a poster of Syria's president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, Jan. 14 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)

Some people whose interest in the Middle East is recent think that Assad is a uniquely Syrian phenomenon. I think the excessively harsh despotism and the equally excessive ability to cruelly exterminate your own population while believing yourself to be setting your nation on the road to modernity are quite unique in terms of their degree and intensity, but Assadism is nonetheless a more widespread political disposition in the Arab world. It can even be described as a mode of being. How do you recognise an Assadist? Here are some helpful suggestions for the newcomers: • An Assadist is anyone who … Continue reading

Six reasons why we don’t need a new cold war

The Pentagon budget the Obama administration unveiled this week calls for quadrupling spending on efforts to counter Russia. The money would move more troops, tanks, and artillery into position near the Russia border. This last Obama budget would also fund another installment in a $1 trillion and 30-year plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal with new land-based missiles, bombers, and submarines. If Congress supports the White House’s request, this budget would have our country spending more, adjusting for inflation, than we did during most of the Cold War. The Republican-controlled Congress wants to add even more. Sounds like we’re gearing … Continue reading