Conspirator in Chief?

“What did the president know, and when did he know it?” This was the question asked by Senator Howard Baker who worked on the Senate committee investigating the Watergate Scandal. It was an appropriate question back then when it pertained the extent to which Richard Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal. The question remains …

Welfare State Woes

What do Mitch McConnell and Prayut Chan-o-cha have in common? Not much at first glance. One is the Republican Senate Majority Leader of the United States, a masterful tactician who many in Washington fear. The other is the prime minister of Thailand, who came to power by means of a coup and is now preparing …

The Myopia of the Trump Administration

Donald Trump’s administration is incredibly myopic. This is the main takeaway from the president’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. Let us first make clear that Trump’s announcement today was largely theatrical and will have no real impact on the Paris agreement itself. The reason for this is that …

Rationalising the Irrational

Vox recently published an article, written by David Roberts, titled “We overanalyse Trump. He is what he appears to be”. In it, Roberts discusses the concept of a “theory of the mind”: the capacity that humans develop to “read” humans and to understand their beliefs and goals. As such, humans with this capacity are consistently …

Rock Bottom for Foggy Bottom

Rex Tillerson initially seemed like a solid pick for Secretary of State. Yes, he had received an odd medal from Putin, of all people, and yes, he had no experience in government. But he had also worked for decades at ExxonMobil, with its globe-spanning business interests, and he was no stranger to negotiating with foreign …

An American Autocracy?

Illiberal Democracy “Acta est fabula, plaudite.” These, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, were the last words of Augustus Caesar: “The play is over, applaud as I exit”. Augustus, of course, was not an actor; he was the first emperor of Rome. Or was he? It is well known to readers of history that Augustus …

What Trump’s Triumph Means

The Big Chilli, an English language magazine for expatriates in Bangkok, has recently published my article on their website! IT was a long night on November 8th in the United States. A race that many had predetermined the outcome could still not be called with many swing states being neck and neck. But the result …

Donald Trump, President-Elect

“Veni, vidi, vici”, Julius Caesar once said after a successful battle: “I came, I saw, I conquered”. A fitting maxim, perhaps, for the most successful general of the ancient world, but also, surprisingly enough, for a billionaire businessman-turned amateur politician. Against the seventeen Republican candidates, Trump triumphed; against the Democratic nominee, he repeated the feat. …

The 2016 Election is Disheartening

Writing has not been something that I have done much of lately. It certainly hasn’t been because of a lack of possible content: world politics has certainly been incredibly interesting, arguably perhaps a little too interesting. Only lack of time can prevent me from blogging. But even with this lack of time, however, the second presidential …