Murrinations

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.

The 5th industrialised arms race has now officially started

For those who do not believe that history has a nasty habit of repeating itself, welcome to the 5th Industrialised arms race that has now officially started. The pedigree of this well-trodden, competitive process in the industrial age started with the 2nd Reich in the decade that leads to WW1 in 1914 and was followed by the rise of the 3rd Reich in the 1930s which led to WW2 in Europe. Coincidently, Japan flowed through to war in the Pacific from 1937 onwards.

President Xi, the undisputed master of China

Whilst the world has been focused on Trump's election and presidency, the last (following the Brexit vote and the election of Trump) of my three predictions for 2016 has come true; that President Xi would consolidate power to become as powerful as Mao.

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