Blog / Europe

Dearest Spying Allies of Ours: European irritation over NSA probe in ‘our backyard’

Stock photo Licensed purchased by writer from 123RF/adrianhancu.

In early July 2013, it became public knowledge that the American National Security Agency (NSA) is wiretapping and licentiously hacking computer networks of the European institutions including diplomatic documents and correspondence of its Member States. This information mining provides Washington pundits (and leading American captains …

Marshalling a Royal Air Force BAe 125 Aircraft in the Middle East
Blog / Europe

A Resurgence of the Informal Empire

Photo source: Sergeant Ross Tilly RAF/MOD, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Middle East remains enormously important to British foreign policymakers as has been the case since Britain’s imperial heyday. The key difference now for the continuation of the region’s importance is not to prevent Soviet expansion, or the protection of India;  it is instead commercial, for …

Blog / Europe

Still not the end: Berlusconi’s trials and Italian Politics

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The flamboyant Silvio Berlusconi has always been something of a European political anomaly: By the respected British magazine, the Economist, he has been seen alternatively as a clown or as crook. Notwithstanding all his flamboyance, his charisma and indeed his popularity in Italy, Berlusconi’s political career seems to be …

Americas / Blog

Planning for the next National Security Strategy requires a new attitude to foreign policy


View from Trafalgar Square down the Parliament Street, photo by Andrey Belenko via Wikimedia Commons.

In 2010 the British Coalition Government formed a new type of foreign policy institution that mirrored the design and purpose of its American counterpart.  The National Security Council was to provide a space for the “collective discussion of the government’s …

Blog / Europe

Alexei Navalny’s Trial: Business as usual?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

On 18 July in Kirov, a city in the Western Urals, Russian activist Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years of forced labour in one of the country’s numerous corrective labour colonies, found guilty of embezzlement and theft.  Thus the man who has been described as ‘the man Vladimir Putin fears …

Blog / Europe

The debate on UK Foreign Aid

Not for much longer? Photo credit: Her Britannic Majesty’s Government via Wikimedia Commons.

George Osborne, on rare occasion, can do the right thing. Whether or not he does it for the wrong reasons is another matter. In the last comprehensive spending review, he ring-fenced development spending. This means the Department for International Development (DfID) is …

Blog / Europe

Monitoring The Monitors: Election Observation Missions in Post-Soviet Central Asia

OSCE Kazakhstan. Photo Source: U.S. Department of State via Flickr Creative Commons.

In the last fifteen years, the importance of electoral observation has propagated enormously – paralleling the spread of democratisation and democracy promotion. Though Western governments, international and non-governmental organisations have used a myriad of strategies to elicit democratic change around the globe; election …

Blog / Europe

Croatia and the EU: Another Step in the Right Direction for Europe

Photo Source: Bogdan Giuşcă via Wikimedia Commons.

As of the first of July 2013, Croatia has become the European Union’s 28th member. But, there are various reasons why the country’s membership might be questioned. First and foremost, it must be said that the EU is hardly in tip-top condition. With widespread resentment over austerity …

Blog / Environment & Energy

Ghosts of Chernobyl

Photo from Adam Lenton ©

It’s not often a chance to visit a place like Chernobyl crops up, and naturally I jumped at the chance. My main motivation for visiting was to see the abandoned city of Pripyat, untouched since the time of the Ukrainian SSR when its 50,000 inhabitants were forced to evacuate.

The trip …

Blog / Europe

The Greek Austerity: Fears for the Future

Photo Source: dreamstime.com

On 11 June the state-run Greek public broadcaster ERT was shut down, in line with the austerity measures that the Hellenic government has enacted since the beginning of the economic and financial crisis of 2008-2009. This decision caused 2,500 workers to be laid off. The closing down of the channel was yet …