Eric S. Margolis

  • TDemocracy can be so inconvenient. Take Switzerland, the closest thing the world has to a perfect democracy.Switzerland’s eight million citizens vote by referendum on all major issues. The Swiss cantons have made key decisions this way for over eight hundred years. Last week, Swiss voters ...

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  • TWhere are the world’s most dangerous places in 2014? Mostly forgotten, but the highly dangerous, Indian-controlled portion of disputed Kashmir. Rebellion against Indian rule by Kashmir’s majority Muslims is again boiling. Over 1.6 million Indian and Pakistani troops, backed by nuclear ...

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  • TWhat’s going on in murky North Korea? I’ll bet even the US National Security Agency doesn’t know.The world was shocked last week to learn that North Korea’s boyish dynastic leader, Kim Jong-un, has ordered the public arrest, then swift execution of his uncle by marriage, ...

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  • TIndonesians are usually an easy-going, amiable people. But this week, they are boiling with anger and a sense of betrayal after revelations that Australia’s Signals Directorate had been tapping the phones of senior Indonesian government officials, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ...

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  • TThis week, the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, actually scolded Germany for producing too efficiently and exporting too much. Were the amiable Barroso not EU Commission president, he would likely be sitting under an olive tree in his native bankrupt Portugal, strumming ...

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  • TIn 2004, shortly after the mysterious death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat, I wrote a column stating my strong belief that he had been murdered by poison. I recalled Stalin’s favorite line, “no man, no problem.”Poison had been a favorite tool of the Soviet secret police since the ...

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  • TIn 1975, I was invited to join the US Senate’s Church Committee that was formed after the Watergate scandals. Its goal was to investigate massive illegalities committed by the CIA, National Security Agency and FBI.As a then staunch Republican, and having worked on President Nixon’s ...

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  • TGentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail” sniffed US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 when told that American cryptographers had broken Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes. Stimson, who later headed the War Department, ordered code-breaking shut down.Alas, there are not ...

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  • TMost armed; most free.” So the renowned Italian thinker and strategist Niccolo Machiavelli described the Swiss five centuries ago.That was a time when the 30 ft pikes and deadly halbards (pole axes) of Switzerland’s fierce mercenary armies were the terror of Europe. The “furia ...

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  • TIran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has lost no time in trying to end the 34-year old political and economic siege imposed on his nation by the United States and its allies.President Barack Obama, having just been wrong-footed over Syria, now faces a surprise Iranian diplomatic ...

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  • TLet’s face some hard facts about the vicious conflict in Syria. If the US directly attacks Syria, the real cause will not be the recent chemical attacks. What are 300 or so dead in a 2-year old war fuelled by the western powers that has so far killed over 100,000? Chemical weapons are ...

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  • TRecalling the massacres and destruction during the 1820’s Greek war of independence from the Ottoman Empire, then Victor Hugo wrote, “the Turks have passed by here – All is in ruins and mourning.”Today, the nations in ruins and mourning are Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, and, to ...

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  • TPakistan’s former military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, was indicted last week on charges of murdering former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and for treason. Never before has a former Pakistani military ruler been tried for serious charges.Benazir was killed during a bomb attack on her ...

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  • TEgypt’s US-financed armed forces have gone to war against its own people. Arab spring has become Arab winter.So far, the army and security police have scored brilliant battlefield victories against unarmed men, women, and children, killing and wounding thousands who were demanding a return to ...

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  • TBehind the chill is America’s ‘superior’ mentality. The single most important national security imperative for the United States is to maintain correct relations with Russia. It’s not Al Qaeda, NSA, China, North Korea, or any other issue.That’s why President Barack ...

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  • TIn the late 1980s, an old friend of mine based in Moscow was calling her husband in the USA late one night. She said it was a “typical dumb husband/wife call”, mostly about a broken garage door. Around midnight, a gruff voice broke into the call: “This is your KGB listener. This ...

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  • TWorld War II has never really ended for Japan. Sixty-eight years after the battleship US “Missouri” sailed into Tokyo Bay to receive the surrender of the Japanese Empire, Japan still behaves like a meek, defeated nation rather than one of the world’s great powers - and great ...

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  • TA process in which Washington, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) hold intense talks over holding talks, a ritual as stylised as the traditional Japanese dance. In the end, it is the same empty, cynical ritual, year after year. This past week, US Secretary of State John Kerry ...

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  • TWe know that electronic spying has completely run amok when tiny Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, just resigned over a nasty scandal involving his nation’s tiny intelligence service. According to some reports, Luxembourg’s ruler, Grand Duke Henri, was bugged ...

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  • TThe real story behind the military coup in Cairo led by General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi is much more complex than the Western media is reporting. Far from a spontaneous uprising by Egyptians, - aka “a people’s revolution” - what really happened was a putsch orchestrated by ...

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  • TThe wild Maritime Alps are the most remote and least known part of this country, a chain of vertiginous, snow-capped peaks and narrow defiles running due south along the Franco-Italian border from Switzerland down to the Mediterranean on the Riviera.As a military historian, I have come here to ...

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  • TIn June 1942, the US Navy achieved one of history’s greatest naval triumphs over the Imperial Japanese Navy, thanks to a combination of brilliant leadership, plain good luck and code-breaking.US carrier-based dive bombers led by the intrepid Commander Wade McClusky Jr swiftly sank three ...

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  • TWestern politicians and media have been scolding Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over this past week’s anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara.What began as a local protest over the foolish plan to raze trees in Gezi Park near Istanbul’s bustling Taksim ...

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  • TThat old colonial impulse keeps coming back. This past week, Britain and France pushed the rest of the European Union to lift the arms embargo in Syria - which in plain English means outright military intervention in that nation’s civil war.Let’s recall that Britain once ruled a quarter ...

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  • TAmerica owes Russia a big apology for the embarrassing case of bumbling CIA spy Ryan Fogel caught red-handed in Moscow trying to recruit a Russian agent. Shame on the US. Whatever happened to professional respect? Russia has always been the grand master of espionage. In Russia, spying is a high art ...

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  • TThe vicious Syrian civil war has put the world’s two biggest nuclear powers on a collision course over a small Levantine nation of no strategic interest to Washington. This cannot be allowed to go on.News that the US and Russia will hold a Syrian peace conference this month is most welcome ...

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  • TWhile the US beats the war drums over North Korea and Iran’s long-ranged nuclear armed missiles - which they don’t even possess - Washington remains curiously silent about the arrival of the world’s newest member of the big nuke club - India.In January, Delhi revealed a new, 800 ...

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  • TKorea, wrote the famed German expert on geopolitics, Baron Haushofer, a century ago, was one of the world’s five most strategic areas. So it remains today, as China, Russia, Japan and the US vie for influence on the peninsula and the waters around it.The latest crisis over Korea began in ...

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  • TThe intensifying war of words between North Korea, the US and ally South Korea could ignite a major conflict. The likely trigger would be a small clash at sea, in the air, or along the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas. What would a war in Korea look like?First, nuclear conflict is ...

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  • TThe United States and the two feuding Koreas could blunder into a real war unless both Pyongyang and Washington cease provoking one another.Last week, two nuclear-capable US B-2 stealth bombers flew non-stop from America to South Korea, and then home. These ‘invisible’ aircraft can ...

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