Category Archives: War, defence and peace

The tocsin sounds for World War I

This year we are so used to hearing that the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 was greeted by cheering crowds that it’s worth pausing to check diaries and memoirs of the time to see what people really … Continue reading

Posted in War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sentenced to be flogged

India, 1853: a young British army officer finds himself in a difficult situation: “One very painful circumstance stamped itself on my memory. I was obliged to be present at a flogging parade— the only one, I am glad to say, … Continue reading

Posted in War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Syria obscura

Whether or not we should bomb Syria I don’t know, but I am pretty sure that we are not being told everything we need to know before briefing our local MP on how to vote.  That’s usually the case.  But … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and current affairs, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bologna, 02/08/1980

Today, 2 August is the anniversary of the Bologna railway station bombing in 1980, when the concourse and platforms were thronged with tourists and local people going on their annual holiday.  It as a low point in modern European history.  … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and current affairs, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The next war

War is the Theatre of the Unexpected.  As soon as battle begins, it comes as an unpleasant surprise to discover that the enemy has some advantage that we didn’t know about till now. This is the kind of surprise that … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and current affairs, Uncategorized, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The problem of evil

The more I think about it, the more I see the problem of evil as a triple-layered one.  Put another way, it is three circles of hell.  It is not only that those of us who believe in some kind … Continue reading

Posted in War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No-fly: for and against

The question whether the UN ought to authorise the imposition of no-fly zones over Libya has answers for and against, cynical and principled.  It is a case study in realpolitik, and the extent to which we should moderate it by … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and current affairs, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A gift for India

We are living in the last few years of a Golden Age. Change is coming, and it will be massively greater and more far-reaching than anything we have experienced since the World Wars. How we deal with it will probably … Continue reading

Posted in Politics and current affairs, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three courses of action

Can anyone help me trace a quotation? One of my favourite ones is the dictum of Field Marshall Count Helmuth von Moltke: “In war you will generally find that the enemy has at any time three courses of action open … Continue reading

Posted in War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Camus’ people

As the European empires dissolved after 1945 and their colonies reclaimed their independence, one group of people got caught in the middle.  These were the white settlers, (called the pieds-noir) in French Algeria and the Italians in Eritrea.  Some had … Continue reading

Posted in Journeys and destinations, War, defence and peace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment