Murrinations

Brexit Part XXVII: May calling a general election

Prime Minister May’s call for an election should not have taken anyone by surprise. The surprise was that she had not announced it sooner. The Conservatives were not elected with May as their leader and she did not want to make the same mistake as Gordon Brown who was never endorsed by the people and served out an ignominious short term as PM. Following such a divisive referendum, May and the Conservatives need a resounding mandate to push through the Brexit negotiations using the risk of a no-deal outcome as the ultimate bargaining chip.

Trump's pilot war with North Korea

Trump has now put down the American gauntlet to North Korea and drawn his own red line across the Korean peninsula. By doing so, he is attempting to force China’s hand to help him solve the Korean nuclear issue. However, President Xi may not feel that he can acquiesce to such obvious pressure without making China look weak. Xi may further calculate that previous American wars in Asia, against Japan and in Korea and Vietnam, have turned into quagmires that placed America under enormous strain.

Frexit: Marine Le Pen

With France about to go to the polls, the support for leaving the EU seems to be stronger than ever, as advocated by with two of four key candidates: Marine Le Pen, on the far right, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, on the hard left.

Brexit Part XXVI: The Gibraltar threat

In the Murrination, Brexit XIX: The EU referendum and the divorce process, Part III, we made the analogy between the divorce process of a married couple and Britain leaving the EU. In the section named ‘The aftermath’,  there is a point of reflection during this process that is critical to the outcome, and that is how well or badly the separation process unfolded. If it went smoothly, whereby both parties acted reasonably, then inevitably, the leaver might question the decision.

Trump sends a signal to North Korea, China and Syria

Assad's use of Sarin again in Syria this week was unforgivable. Not only due to the cruelty of the attack, but because repeated use of gas as a weapon makes it more acceptable on future battlefields. Trump was correct in launching 59 cruise missiles on the Syrian airfield that launched the attack for that reason alone. However, this strike is only the first step in a long journey. Trump now faces the task of reasserting American global power.

Brexit Part XXV: The state of the nation? Part II

Budget/economic policy

Brexit Part XXIV: The state of the nation? Part I

On Wednesday, March 29th, Britain will once more officially begin to chart its own course as a sovereign nation. 288 Days after the famous Brexit referendum vote, Sir Tim Barrow, the British Representative to the EU, will hand a letter from the Prime Minister, Mrs May to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. The contents will notify the 27 members of the EU that Britain is commencing its exit process outlined in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Arms Races - Money is not enough: Part III

Having discussed why money is not enough to win an arms race, we should now revert to how much money would be enough for the USA to be able to stand a chance countering China’s challenge. To make this assessment, we should first point out that different currencies are not always equal and that the value of the challenger's currency may give it an advantage over that of the hegemonic power. This is but a reflection of the differences between the underlying economies of the two protagonists.

Arms Races - Money is not enough: Part II

Since WW2, the American carriers have given the USN dominance over the world’s oceans. Indeed, the power of these ships is etched on the Chinese thought process after two such carrier groups combined and sailed through the Taiwan Strait in the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis and forced the Chinese to back down. Consequently, negating American carrier power has been a principal goal of the PLAN since that 1996.

Arms Races - Money is not enough: Part I

Naval challenges have been a major focus of two arms races that led to the global conflicts of WW1 and WW2. So, they should be taken very seriously. In the first arms race, the Royal Navy defeated the challenge from the Imperial German Navy in WW1 by a combination of enormous expenditure and a wave of naval invocations. Those groundbreaking innovations started with the launch of HMS Dreadnought and included steam turbines, all big guns centralised gunnery, submarines and aircraft carriers in their nascent form.

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