Notes From the Margins…
Posts for US politics Category

Barack Obama gives the world a hug

  • September 26, 2012
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You have to hand it to Barack Obama – the guy can talk.     When George W. Bush appeared on the world stage,   the spoilt frat-boy was always embarrassingly visible beneath the presidential veneer, and his attempts to sound statesmanlike were often undermined by the disturbing smirk that tended to accompany even his more serious moments.

Obama by contrast, is serene, confident and convincing, emanating gravitas, sincerity and moral purpose in equal measure, with an ability to make even the most vacuous bullshit sound like the sermon on the mount.     All...

Damages

  • August 26, 2012
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It’s an unwritten law of international relations that some lives matter while others don’t matter at all.     In practice this means that some people – or peoples – can be killed with complete impunity by more powerful states, while civilians or even servicemen from countries higher up the pecking order cannot be killed...

The Awesome Years

  • July 20, 2012
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It would be something of an understatement to suggest that the historians of the future are unlikely to look back on the first decade of the twenty-first century with much favor.

It was a decade in which the world’s most powerful democracy unleashed   a swathe of violence across the world in the name of the...

Alastair Campbell does satire

  • June 16, 2012
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When flying low without a moral compass, it’s always vaguely comforting and reassuring to tell yourself that everybody else is doing it too.   So it’s not surprising at all to hear Alastair Campbell  having a go at Armando Iannucci for accepting an OBE.

I have no intention of defending that decision myself.  In...

Bin Laden Day

  • May 02, 2012
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It’s exactly one year since the president of the world’s most powerful democracy sent a team of Navy Seals to kill the world’s most wanted man in his pyjamas in a rundown house compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.   Who can forget that historic  moment which a photographer captured for posterity,...

The lost men of Guantanamo

  • April 23, 2012
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Last week’s announcement  that El Salvador has resettled  two Uighur detainees from  Guantanamo Bay is another development in the grindingly slow attempt to bring one of  the most shameful episodes in US history to a close.

The Uighurs are the first prisoner releases from Guantanamo since January 2011.   They constitute a category...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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