Monthly political analysis on nations in
economic or political transition

JUNE 2015


The UK Election and How it Happened

The UK General Election of May 7th was a pivotal event in which many expectations were confounded. Unlike any of its recent predecessors, virtually no one publicly predicted it correctly. This applied as much to the media as to the pollsters, some nine publicly available polls got it wrong, mostly by 2 or more % points. We ourselves were wrong, being convinced that no single party would manage an overall majority so that a coalition was the most likely outcome. The Labour Party were badly beaten; the Liberal Democrats –previously in coalition with the Conservatives, were close to being smashed. Scotland opted for a single party the SNP. The emergent anti-EU Nationalists, UKIP scored nearly 3 million votes, but so scattered were they, that only a single candidate became an MP.

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We are pleased to be able to publish here a shrewd analysis of this extraordinary event from former Labour MP and Shadow Cabinet member, Bryan Gould, whose take is both penetrating and original – it suggests amongst other things, that an element of ‘gerrymandering’ affecting the outcome, may have taken place. [continues...]

The Greater Russia Project

May 9 saw Russia celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two with the biggest military parade it has perhaps ever held. The sort of nationalist pomp and ceremony which has long been characteristic of Russian governments has become typical of Putin’s rule, 15,000 troops paraded and the new model of tanks rolled out in Red Square. The event incidentally symbolized the extent to which Moscow’s recent manoeuvres in its near abroad, have pushed it into international isolation. Whilst in previous years the anniversary of this mighty victory, has been characterized by a relinquishing of traditional or historic enmities, this year, in what Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov deemed the ‘anti-Russian campaign’, many leaders declined to attend because of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.

With regards to Ukraine, many have questioned whether February’s 'ceasefire' merits its title. Undeterred by international sanctions and censure, Putin continues to oversee regional military enlargement and engage in hawkish rhetoric, with regular reports of Russian bombers on the edge of NATO airspace, redolent of the bad old, Cold War days. NATO has recently acknowledged that the ‘hybrid’ war, which, instead of employing open militarism, involves intelligence and propaganda, is being successfully prosecuted by Moscow. Putin’s dream of a Eurasian Union, an economic and political alternative in the east to the EU, but more, the consolidation of a Moscow-based Greater Russia, remains fierce, if in reality it fails to inspire adherence among Russia’s smaller, poorer, close neighbours, whose fears for their sovereignty have re-doubled, since the conflict in Ukraine began. [

Assessing Nuclear North Korea

The western world has been deluged in recent times with stories of alleged nuclear weapons development in Iran, largely put about by Israel, who itself has a significant nuclear armoury, not acknowledged by them and seldom discussed.

Most recently, NewNations amongst others, has carried stories about the ‘Sunni bomb’- that of Pakistan, originally directed against India, and supposedly financed by Saudi Arabia. The quid pro quo being for this to be available to Saudi against the threat of a Sunni-Shia war, specifically involving Iran (who are not currently believed to have the n-weapon and deny they are seeking this).

Even more recently, the stories are of Saudi, in the light of recent events in Yemen, feeling now unable to rely upon the Pakistan government’s future support in this way. As a result, Saudi is perhaps intending to develop their own bomb. Certainly they are acquiring two nuclear reactors from South Korea, in what might be a related move.

It seems appropriate to us in the face of this preoccupation with middle-eastern powers, and their present and future capabilities, the wider world should be reminded of the real and present problem of an existing nuclear weapons power, outside the control of any power or alliance other than itself, the state of North Korea (than which rogue nations do not get any more roguish). NK’s technology has moved on and is also reported to have recently made great strides with delivery vehicles, to the extent that it is said that their range might now extend to include the West coast of the USA.  [


WILLIAM PFAFF 1928 - 2015

We are sad to record the death in Paris of William Pfaff at the age of 86.

The doyen of contemporary geopolitical commentators, we are proud to have been amongst those who had published him. For 25 years, he gave his views through his column in the International Herald Tribune, but also he featured in many other publications and included a dozen books in his works.

His final book: “The Irony of Manifest Destiny,” remains perhaps the most important commentary of these times, on current US Foreign Policy.


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