By Gwynne Dyer - Politicians never lie. Well, hardly ever. They're not into full disclosure, as a rule, but they know that if you lie, sooner or later you will be caught out, and then you are in deep trouble. So just change the subject, or answer a different question than the one you were asked, or just keep talking but saying nothing until everybody gets bored and moves on.
By Gwynne Dyer - China Mieville, a novelist I much admire, has published a history of the October Revolution to mark its hundredth anniversary (which is actually on 7 November, since the Russians were still using the Julian calendar in 1917). It had an unusual effect on me. It made me question whether I was right about the utter futility of that revolution.
By Gwynne Dyer - It's been going on for a while. Recently in Catalonia we have been living through a kind of 'soft' totalitarianism...the illusion of unanimity created by the fear of expressing dissent, wrote best-selling Catalan author Javier Cercas in the Spanish newspaper El País in 2014. Those who didn't want independence kept their heads down and their mouths shut, in other words.
By Gwynne Dyer - Angela Merkel’s slogan in her campaign for a fourth term as Chancellor was terminally bland and smug – “For a Germany in which we live well and love living” – but it did the job, sort of. Her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is back as the largest party, so Merkel gets to form the next coalition government. But the neo-fascists are now in the Bundestag (parliament) too, for the first time since the collapse of Nazi Germany.
By Gwynne Dyer - How’s this for apocalyptic? “As a historian I fear Brexit [a British vote to leave the European Union in the referendum on June 23] could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also Western political civilization in its entirety,” said Donald Tusk, the president of the European Union, in an interview published on Monday in the German newspaper Bild.
By Gwynne Dyer - After months in which opinion polls showed a six to ten percentage points lead for the 'Remain' side in the referendum campaign on continued British membership of the European Union (EU), the numbers have suddenly shifted in favor of 'Leave'.
By Gwynne Dyer - As always after a major terrorist attack on the West, the right question to ask after the slaughter in Paris is: what were the strategic aims behind the attack? This requires getting your head around the concept that terrorists have rational strategies, but once you have done that the motives behind the attacks are easy to figure out. It also becomes clear that the motives have changed.
By Gwynne Dyer - Jeremy “Jez” Corbyn and Bernie Sanders are very much alike - and so are their ambitions. Corbyn wants to lead Britain's Labour Party into the next election and become prime minister; Sanders wants to win the Democratic Party nomination and become the next President of the United States. And then each man plans to turn his country sharply to the left.
By Gwynne Dyer - Good things come in threes, but so do bad things. Especially in economies. The financial crisis everybody has been waiting for is a hard landing of the Chinese economy, the world's second-biggest. It now seems to have arrived, though the Chinese government is still denying it.