Monthly Archives: March 2011

Gideon Rachman

I am in the Netherlands, where it has just been announced that the trial of Geert Wilders, a populist, anti-Muslim politician, will go ahead in a couple  of weeks time. Wilders is charged with inciting racial hatred by comparing Islam with Nazism. In theory, he could be sent to prison, if found guilty. Read more

Gideon Rachman

I was not one of the reported billion people to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match on television. But it sounds like an exciting game, and I think it is probably in the interests of world peace that India won on home soil. Read more

Gideon Rachman

The British military are in action in the skies above Libya. But today has also brought a couple of unwelcome examples of post-imperial overstretch.

First, came the story that the Ministry of Defence are trying to sell the Ark Royal, Britain’s aircraft carrier, using an online auction. Selling an unwanted parrot on E-Bay is one thing – but flogging off old warships on the internet seems a trifle undignified. Also, possibly, unwise – given that the coalition government seems to have developed a taste for conflict. The building of new aircraft carriers has been commissioned. But the next one will not come into service until 2020, which seems rather a long time, given the pace of current events. Read more

The war in Libya is about a lot more than Muammer Gaddafi. Its outcome will reverberate around the Middle East and will affect international politics for decades. A vital principle is at stake.

Gideon Rachman

As the Libyan rebels race along the coast towards Tripoli, foreign ministers from 35 nations are gathering in London to discuss what to do next. At least, I think that’s what they are doing. Talking to participants in the London conference, it isn’t entirely clear what the agenda is. Formally, they are establishing a “contact group” of 35 nations that can monitor and discuss the Libyan conflict. Informally, it seems to me there are several other goals. Read more

In this week’s podcast: Seven days into the allied military action, Colonel Gaddafi holds on; we ask, is Portugal about to succumb to Eurozone fever?; terrorism returns to Jerusalem – is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict about to turn violent again?  Read more

Gideon Rachman

There has been a certain amount of sniggering about the fact that it was Obama’s female advisers who were most prominent in pressing for military intervention in Libya, while the men hung back. Amongst the interventionists were the evocatively-named pair of Power and Slaughter – that is Samantha Power on the National Security Council and Anne-Marie Slaughter, who recently stepped down as head of the Policy Planning staff at the State Department and tweeted effectively from her new perch at Princeton. And then there was Susan Rice, the US ambassador at the UN and, finally (and decisively), Hillary Clinton. Read more

As events unfold in Libya and across the wider region, the FT is running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update automatically. Read more

The argument over whether to fight in Libya had many aspects to it – ideology, national interest, diplomacy, military calculation. But the most important divide in the western world was temperamental. The Libyan debate pitted the hotheads against the ditherers. The leaders of the hotheads are Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France, and David Cameron, the prime minister of Britain. The ditherer-in-chief is Barack Obama, the US president, backed up by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.

As events unfold in Libya, the FT will be running live coverage on Gideon Rachman’s blog. This post will update every few minutes, although it may take longer on mobile devices. Read more