Articles and analysis

Lieven passport photoThis year saw the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, in which some 16 million Europeans died, two great European countries were destroyed, and others crippled. This year may also be seen by future historians as the last year of the period between the cold wars, when after 29 years of relative quiet, the world's major powers once again moved into positions of deep and structural mutual hostility, writes Anatol Lieven.

The First World War also engendered the dreadful scourges of Communism and Nazism, and thereby led to the Second World War, which very nearly finished off European civilisation. As a result of these catastrophes, almost all of the political and cultural elites that led their countries into war in 1914 were swept away, and in the Russian and Austrian cases, destroyed. Historians differ concerning the precise balance of causes and of blame for the disaster of 1914, but on one thing all are agreed: nothing that the great powers could conceivably have gained from going to war remotely compared to what they risked losing.

nickwattsIMG 20170907 0924504Looking around the world was the CDS Christmas lecture at RUSI

The new Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Sir Nicholas Carter, was fortunate that his inaugural address to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) was not overshadowed by other events. As it was, the parliamentary pantomime performance, scheduled for Tuesday, was postponed until Wednesday. Perhaps the performance at Westminster was symptomatic of the "uncertain strategic and political context" of which he spoke.

His remarks were a timely reminder to policy makers, who seemed to have other things on their minds, that the wider world is changing as we watch. His comments followed similar remarks made by MI6 Chief Alex Younger, speaking on 3rd December. In his speech, CDS spoke of a return to a multipolar world order, with "ambitious states" asserting themselves regionally and globally. This is in addition to the threat of terrorist violence, evidenced by the events in Strasbourg earlier this week, writes Nick Watts.

USA00000IMG 00000 BURST20190107130637518 COVEROn the 320th anniversary of the founding of Scotland'si ill-fated colony in Panama, remember the Gunas says Joseph E. Fallon

November 2, 1698, five ships, the Caledonia, Dolphin, Endeavour, Saint Andrew, and Unicorn, anchored off the Caribbean Coast of the eastern end of the Isthmus of Panama in a region named Darien, now called Guna Yala. It was and remains the land of the Guna Indians. The ships' "cargo" was 1,200 Scottish settlers. These Scots, who had endured an arduous passage of sixteen weeks, during which forty perished, went ashore and proudly proclaimed the establishment of Scotland's colony of Caledonia.

"We do here settle and in the name of God establish ourselves; and in honour and for the memory of that most ancient and renowned name of our Mother Country, we do, and will from henceforward call this country by the name of Caledonia; and ourselves, successors, and associates, by the name of Caledonians".

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