World Politics

Look who’s afraid of change while Conservatives keep it fresh

Writing this column from London amid an intense heatwave, the meltdown in the British Conservative Party offers no end of lessons for politicians and polities everywhere. Last Thursday Boris Johnson’s gravity-defying political survivalism was brought crashing down to earth as he was forcibly ejected — “by the herd”, as he dubbed his Tory colleagues — [...]

It’s when the moderate centre is quiet that extremists flourish

There are a lot of reasons right now to read or reread the works of Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. Her 1985 theological dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, recently brought to the screen as a miniseries, obtained fresh urgency in the light of the extraordinary US Supreme Court decision last week to remove the constitutional right to [...]

Presidential sounds of silence are fuelling the fire engulfing SA

Workers Day, May 1 2022, offered South Africans sharply contrasting images of President Cyril Ramaphosa and leader of the official opposition John Steenhuisen. Ramaphosa had a double indignity heaped on him at a rally at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West. The obvious injury to presidential pride was his forced removal from the keynote [...]

Putin’s war has sorted the wheat from the chaff — and there’s lots of chaff

Today, barring a huge upset, Emmanuel Macron will be re-elected president of France. However, if polling was always accurate President Hillary Clinton would be in her second term in the US and the UK would be still a leading member of the EU. The election in France revolves in part on how toxic the embrace [...]

Magnitsky Acts kick in as sanctions against Russia echo apartheid boycott

Just on six years ago, in the depths of the Jacob Zuma era and the ANC’s state capture project, I wrote a column highlighting two powerful phrases originating from South America that had been applied to the kleptocracy emerging in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Both also applied, with interest, to the state of Zuma’s capture of [...]

By |2022-04-11T06:35:15+00:00April 11th, 2022|Jacob Zuma, Russian War, Vladimir Putin, World Politics|0 Comments

Kenyan response to Ukraine crisis puts SA to shame

Russia drove its tanks and fired its missiles over the international rule book this week and launched an unprovoked attack on neighbouring Ukraine, unleashing a new war in Europe. Who wins the award for the most fatuous and fantastical depiction of the now red-hot Cold War? It is an overcrowded field, but the clear winner [...]

Was Biden weak or is he doing a Ramaphosa and playing the long game?

Last Thursday, while driving in the English countryside, various authoritative voices on BBC Radio Four provided a counterpoint to the heavy traffic. The topic was, of course, Afghanistan, and the experts speculated that the capital city, Kabul, was in danger of encirclement at some future point, “perhaps even on the anniversary of 9/11”, in view of [...]

By |2021-08-18T06:27:13+00:00August 18th, 2021|Opinion, World Politics|0 Comments

Poetic justice in the way court-stacking is so often foiled

Back in the early 1930s, SA, perhaps in echo of those times, had a Hitler-admiring, German-speaking minister of justice. History does not remember kindly, or perhaps at all, the name of Oswald Pirow. Still, in the momentous drama of events in the US following the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last weekend, [...]

By |2020-09-27T07:56:57+00:00September 27th, 2020|Donald Trump, US elections, World Politics|0 Comments

SA may not be booming like Rwanda, but at least we haven’t got a dictator

A handy guide to the mythologising of hero worship is offered in the 1962 Western movie starring John Wayne, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. The last line features a minor character who says: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Many years later in 2004, I was in Brussels for a political jamboree when [...]

By |2020-09-03T07:53:14+00:00September 3rd, 2020|Opinion, World Politics|0 Comments

If SA is outdone by Bibi and Trump, we must be in dire domestic straits

Last week, two vulnerable heads of governments dealt with foreign policy predicaments in their immediate neighbourhoods with decidedly different results. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing unprecedented crises, several of his own making: his improbable coalition government  – which spans far-right, right and moderate centre parties, secular and ultra-religious factions – is unravelling. [...]

By |2020-08-19T08:03:29+00:00August 19th, 2020|Opinion, World Politics|0 Comments
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