Issue: December 2019/January 2020

The art of doubletalk

What does it mean to be an active bilingual?

The myth of “military efficiency”

‘The way we taught people in occupied Europe to sabotage the Nazi regime has now become the way our militaries do business’

Citizens’ Assemblies let the elite skew public debate

‘A Citizens’ Assembly is a useful way for politicians to unload a toxic issue onto 110 random citizens who will never face an electorate’

A multitude of dignities

Are human rights dependent on “human dignity”—and what does “human dignity” even mean?

Counter-intelligence needs a rethink. Catching spies is not enough

‘Western counter-intelligence has been largely defensive. Given the existential threats we increasingly face, we now need to go on the offensive’

Carbon carnage: the real cost of grouse-shooting

‘Grouse moors are burnt and drained. Regenerating native trees are rooted out. Bogs and mires, wet miracles of carbon capture, are trashed by fire, ditches, vehicles, access roads, and trampling deer and sheep’

In the eyes of a wartime God

It really does not matter what structures are in place to coordinate, direct, and execute strategic military aims; what matters is clarity of responsibility

My warnings to our spy watchdogs

Britain is under attack from Russia. And the government is blocking a Parliamentary report that details it

Why Poles like me are cheering for Brexit

‘Poles like me look on Brexit with admiration and hope. The British may create a new opening for Europe and its peoples, in the same way as Solidarity in Poland was an opening of a new era’

Rethinking Metternich

More than most statesmen of his time, Metternich thought about history and his place in it. He was right to worry: most biographies have depicted him as an essentially reactionary politician—a “coachman” of Europe who was fond of the whip hand

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"