Echoing Roosevelt: Matthew Barzun greets President Obama at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales, 3 September. Photo: Getty
Matthew Barzun: Despite ebola and Isis, could it be that we are living in the best of times?
By Matthew Barzun - 23 October 10:00

Why are we intent on fixing our lens on the chaotic? And why do we insist on trying to weave a grand narrative out of mostly unrelated things? asks the US Ambassador to Britain. 

People watch from the Turkish-Syria border as Kurdish fighters in the city of Kobani fight Islamic State militants. Photo: Getty
Why arming the Kurds is the only option – even for anti-war progressives in the west
By Mehdi Hasan - 23 October 9:55

These Kurdish units, which include all-women militias, have to all intents and purposes become the last line of defence against the genocidal fanatics of Islamic State.

Oscar Pistorius in court. Photo: Getty
Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years in jail
By New Statesman - 21 October 9:53

He also receives a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms offence.

Watching and waiting: tanks outside Kobane, where Islamic State forces are ballting Syrian Kurds. Photo: Ibrahim Erikan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Islamic State can be beaten
By John Simpson - 19 October 8:51

The jihadis are fighting on several fronts in two countries – and reports say that demoralised western recruits are increasingly repulsed by the atrocities they have witnessed.

Rainbow nation: Gnarr at the Reykjavik Gay Pride march in 2011. Photo: Helgi Haldorsson
Gnarr! How to fake it as a politician
By Kate Mossman - 16 October 15:51

In 2010, Jón Gnarr became mayor of Reykjavik by accident. Four years later, he’s relieved it’s over.

A woman kneels in a cloud of gas as she protests the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo: Getty
In America, fear is growing that the police are getting out of control
By David Millward - 15 October 15:35

Barely a week goes past without a terrible incident, and too often the police officer is white and the other people involved are black.

Fukuyama has taken a series of consistent, uncompromisingly liberal-conservative stances on US foreign policy. Photo: David Levene/Guardian/Observer
Francis Fukuyama: “America shouldn’t have permanent enemies”
By Sophie McBain - 09 October 10:00

The American political scientist and author once predicted that liberal democracy had won the battle of ideas. Now he says political Islam is not a serious threat to the west and we should not intervene in Iraq.

There is usually a price when bloodlust goes unchecked in distant lands.
The long shadow of Isis
By John Bew - 04 October 15:45

There is usually a price when bloodlust goes unchecked in distant lands.

An aerial view of the Zaatari camp in Jordan, home to 80,000 refugees. Photo: Getty
Life as an orphan in a plastic tent city, bombing Iraq (again) and keeping my “Juslim” name
By Jemima Khan - 03 October 13:10

Jemima Khan writes from Jordan on the Syrian refugee crisis.

A refugee looks at the sea from Lampedusa Island in the Mediterranean. Photo: Getty
A year of Mare Nostrum: political impotence has stranded hundreds of refugee children in Sicily
By Jamie Mackay - 03 October 10:34

Since April this year 5,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the small Sicilian town of Augusta, fleeing war and poverty in north Africa.

An RAF Tornado fighter jet, part of a force participating in airstrikes against Isis. Photo: Getty
Leader: On intervention in Iraq
By New Statesman - 02 October 14:11

Our involvement is a small admission of culpability for the condition of Iraq.

A member of the Freedom Party of Kurdistan (PAK) keeps a position in Dibis, 50km northwest of Kirkuk. Photo: Getty
Despite western promises, these jihadists won’t be “squeezed out of existence” so easily
By Jonathan Rugman - 02 October 13:22

Jonathan Rugman on the west’s distinctions between “good Kurds” and “bad Kurds”.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors gather near a ceremony marking China's 65th National Day. Photo: Getty
Hong Kong protests: Beijing is now face to face with universal suffrage promise
By Surya Deva - 01 October 10:54

The people of Hong Kong are making their voices heard as never before.

Iraqi Kurds protesting against Isis. Photo: Getty
Is “democracy” nothing more than a slogan now?
By Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder - 24 September 15:37

The time has come to define and demonstrate differently what it means to be a democrat by giving the word to the citizens instead of keeping them hostage to debates between politicians.

The centre-right was defeated after failed privatisations, but a weak centre-left fell short of a majority.
Sweden's election has uncomfortable lessons for Cameron and Miliband
By George Eaton - 18 September 14:31

The centre-right was defeated after failed privatisations, but a weak centre-left fell short of a majority. 

New recruits: Ukrainian soldiers take a break during training near Yavorov, 16 September. Photo: Getty
Lindsey Hilsum: It is sobering to see how war has taken hold in Ukraine
By Lindsey Hilsum - 18 September 10:00

There is no question in my mind that Russia stirred up this war to destabilise Ukraine, but how will these people ever trust the government in Kyiv again?

Statesman and street fighter: Nixon showed foresight and skill in foreign policy but repeatedly resorted to sharp practices on the domestic front. Photo: Don Carl Steffen/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Rethinking Nixon: forty years after Watergate, can the 37th president be rehabilitated?
By John Bew - 18 September 9:09

It is now four decades since Richard Milhous Nixon resigned in disgrace as US president – he remains reappraised but not rehabilitated.

Cameron will need Miliband's support to win a vote on military action. But all the signs are that he will get it.
The decision on whether to intervene in Iraq now rests in Labour’s hands
By George Eaton - 18 September 0:03

Cameron will need Miliband's support to win a vote on military action. But all the signs are that he will get it. 

Romantic versions: an 1880 engraving depicting a US party in search of the missing Arctic explorer John Franklin and his team
What Canada – and John Franklin – can teach the UK about the independence game
By Noah Richler - 16 September 15:31

In the fortnight in which one of Franklin’s lost ships was found in the Canadian arctic, and Scotland – like Quebec before it – is voting on independence, the parallels between the UK and Canada have never been stronger. 

The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats finish third as Cameron's ally Fredrik Reinfeldt is defeated.
Social Democrat victory in Swedish election marred by far-right surge
By George Eaton - 14 September 23:37

The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats finish third as Cameron's ally Fredrik Reinfeldt is defeated. 

The outskirts of Sukkur in Pakistan in 2010. Photo: Getty
Inside jobs and Israeli stooges: why is the Muslim world in thrall to conspiracy theories?
By Mehdi Hasan - 05 September 12:29

The “We’ve been lied to” argument goes only so far. Scepticism may be evidence of a healthy and independent mindset; but conspiracism is a virus that feeds off insecurity and bitterness.

A woman pushes her bicycle past a non-exploded rocket in Ilovaisk, 50km southeast of Donetsk, 4 September. Photo: Getty
When one mistake can lead to catastrophe: what next for Ukraine?
By David Patrikarakos - 04 September 16:56

A ceasefire has been agreed but it remains in doubt whether Russia plans to conquer eastern Ukraine or establish a quasi-autonomous state there. 

A military official announces Barack Obama's arrival at the Nato Summit in Newport, Wales. Photo: Getty
With his foreign policy, Barack Obama is trying to win by playing a loser’s game
By Ian Leslie - 04 September 15:54

If you’re playing a loser’s game, strategy is unnecessary. You avoid errors, but in dangerous times risk being buffeted by events.

Photo: Moises Saman/Magnum Photos
Leader: The summer of blood
By New Statesman - 04 September 15:19

Western powers have been chastened by their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as by the financial crisis and the recession that followed it.

Keep the black flag flying: a show of strength in northern Raqqa province, Iraq, to celebrate the declaration of the caliphate, June 2014. Photo: Reuters
From Bin Laden to Isis: Why the roots of jihadi ideology run deep in Britain
By Shiraz Maher - 04 September 9:38

From Riyadh via London to Damascus, Baghdad and Isis – the jihadist surge.

Displaced Iraqi children play at the Bahrka camp near Arbil. Photo: Getty
In the face of the threat from Isis, Britain can no longer just follow America’s lead in the Middle East
By John Bew - 04 September 9:15

There are severe limits to what the UK can do as a middle-ranking power. But it can do better than firefighting every crisis with an emergency meeting of Cobra.

French President François Hollande. Photo: Getty
Where has the French Left gone?
By Myriam Francois-Cerrah - 03 September 12:09

The recent dissolution of the government reflects the increasing pressure on Hollande to turn around a dire economic outlook.

Israeli soldiers in front of the barrier at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Photo: Getty
How we grew up: an Israeli veteran on the dehumanising power of military control
By Yehuda Shaul - 29 August 11:41

Yehuda Shaul writes of how he and his friends learned to glorify power, and lost their ability to see Palestinians as people whose lives are no less valuable. Now, he and hundreds of others are working to end the occupation.

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