An Afghan soldier mans the machine gun on a helicopter ferrying troops from Camp Bastion in Helmand province to Kandahar military base. October 12, 2009. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Farewell to Afghanistan (for now)

26 October 2014 22:01

Britain has ended combat operations in Afghanistan. The war did topple the Taleban, but it hasn’t got rid of them. It has improved some things in Afghanistan – better roads,… Continue reading

Ed Miliband on a train having his mind broadened. Image: Getty

Ed Miliband needs to get out more

27 September 2013 15:50

They say travel broadens the mind, and Ed Miliband needs to travel more. To China, India and Brazil, but also to South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia. If he did… Continue reading

Sir David Attenborough Attends The Press View Of The Ashmolean Museum's new Edward Lear Exhibition

Being a ‘National Treasure’ appears to be a license to talk rot

26 September 2013 11:36

Take, for instance, the curious case of Sir David Attenborough. The poor booby is another neo-Malthusian. Which is another reminder that expertise in one area is no guarantee of good… Continue reading


Kim Jong-un is the least of Asia’s problems

23 April 2013 19:01

This may look like just a photo of rather boring-looking suits being led by a placid Eastern monk through some Asian temple, but it’s created a furore in South Korea… Continue reading

Is Iain Duncan Smith working to reform our benefits system for the better?

The View from 22 — North Korea and Asia’s arms race, and Owen Jones vs. Toby Young

4 April 2013 8:25

Are Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms necessary to bring fairness to our benefits system? This week’s Spectator leading article argues the work and pensions secretary returned to front-line politics for… Continue reading

Jose Manuel Barroso, Herman Van Rompuy, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Image: Getty

Would you prefer to do business with the eurozone or China?

25 March 2013 17:51

Does it really matter now whether the eurozone breaks up or not? The damage may already have been done, in terms of business confidence. A £10 billion bailout for Cyprus… Continue reading

The Duk Ling  junk sails by the Hong Kon

Across the literary pages: Pankaj Mishra

30 July 2012 16:12

An easy, sure-fire way of generating a bit of publicity is picking a fight with a provocative public intellectual. Rather than criticising Bernard-Henri Lévy’s blow-dry, or kicking David Starkey in either… Continue reading


The Syrian tragedy continues

27 May 2012 14:30

Last Friday, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, produced a gloomy 13-page report about the situation in Syria. ‘The overall level of violence in the country remains… Continue reading


The trade mission delusion

15 April 2012 16:28

David Cameron has returned from what was a bit of a war-and-peace tour of East Asia. Taking arms dealers to Indonesia one day, posing with Aung San Suu Kyi the… Continue reading


What the Taliban want

2 March 2012 9:04

How go those talks with the Taliban in Doha? Quietly, that’s how — although there’s a report in yesterday’s The Hindu that could reveal some of what’s being said, and… Continue reading


Whither North Korea after Kim Jong-il’s death?

19 December 2011 12:21

The photographs and video footage show North Koreans weeping in their hundreds at the news of Kim Jong-il’s death. But the departed leader, immortalised by Team America as a song-prone… Continue reading


American isolationism and its consequences

30 October 2011 9:59

I’ve spent the last couple of days in the United States, far away from the brouhaha in Europe. What has struck me most during meetings with US officials is how… Continue reading


Fasten your seatbelts…

5 August 2011 9:04

It has, to paraphrase Margo Channing, already been a bumpy night — and it’s only going to get bumpier today. The latest news is how the Asian markets have trembled… Continue reading


How the IMF might save Afghanistan from its leaders

19 June 2011 19:10

The International Monetary Fund used to be hated, blamed for the privatisation programmes it imposed across the world in exchange for loans. Then it spent a decade in relative obscurity.… Continue reading


Will Pakistan’s politics help al-Qaeda’s new leader?

16 June 2011 15:32

Just as any major employer would, al-Qaeda released a statement earlier to confirm the identity of its new boss. "Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him," it read, "assumed… Continue reading


Pakistan responds

3 May 2011 9:05

The covers of our newspapers are emblazoned with Bin Laden this morning — but it is an article in a US newspaper that really catches the eye. Pakistan’s President, Asif… Continue reading


A map that raises questions

2 May 2011 9:15

Here’s a map that I’ve put together of the area where Bin Laden was discovered and killed. The red point is his suspected residence, the blue and green points are… Continue reading


The Royal Wedding (extended expat version)

28 April 2011 20:37

Last month, dressed as a town crier, the head of the British Club in Singapore, Sean Boyle, visited the offices of every major newspaper in the country. Accompanied by an… Continue reading


From the archives – the Khmers Rouge’s debt to 1950s France

15 April 2011 18:01

It is 13 years to the day since Pol Pot died in mysterious circumstances while in exile on Cambodia’s remote western border with Thailand. Where did Pot and his maniacal… Continue reading


China steps into the breach

12 March 2011 14:57

Singapore China has lost little time pledging rescue help and aid to Japan, even though it is burying its own dead from the earthquake that shook Yunnan on Thursday. Beijing… Continue reading


From the archives: the tsunami of 2004

11 March 2011 18:30

Devastation today, and devastation when a tsunami swept across Sri Lanka, and other countries around the Indian Ocean, in 2004. Here is Andrew Gilligan’s report from Columbo at the time,… Continue reading

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Aussie rules

19 January 2011 13:49

William Hague has been visiting Australia in the last couple of days, alongside half of the National Security Council. But you would not know it. Except for a few comments… Continue reading