Simon Jenkins

Entries by Simon Jenkins

Why Is Britain Ramping Up Sanctions Against Iran?

(835) Comments | Posted January 6, 2012 | 11:35 AM

'The dog returns to its vomit, and the sow returns to her mire/ And the burnt fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the fire." Kipling was right. Britain is out of Iraq and desperate to get out of Afghanistan. So why gird ourselves for a fight...

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Half a Century After Mencken's Death, Opinion Is What is Riding High

(7) Comments | Posted February 18, 2011 | 6:54 AM

Are you Beatles or Beethoven? Chelsea or Arsenal? Mencken or Montaigne? You can supposedly tell people by their taste in fads and gurus. In the case of columnists there is a clear choice. Sensitive, cerebral, me-me writers go for Montaigne, the 16th-century sage of Bordeaux. Rat fink reporter types go...

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Leave Egypt Alone

(142) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 12:48 PM

We are hypocrites. We cheer on the brave Tunisians and Egyptians as they assert the revolutionary power of the street. Hands off, we cry. Let them do it their way. It has taken a long time, but let the people get the credit and be strengthened thereby.

We gave no such...

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The Ugly American Is Back

(291) Comments | Posted January 14, 2011 | 1:47 PM

The ugly American is back. Can the handsome one do anything about it? When Barack Obama addressed a shocked nation in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday, he deployed the only weapon left to a crippled presidency, the power of rhetorical cliche. He deployed it brilliantly.

"Together we thrive," he...

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The WikiLeaks Release: Blame the State Department, Not the World's Media

(245) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 6:58 AM

What is extraordinary to anyone reading the WikiLeaks material is not so much its content as the manner of its preparation and dissemination in the first place. The leaked documents did not carry a full top-secret classification and were apparently intended to promote debate across the widest possible range of...

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What on Earth Are America's Friends to Say?

(681) Comments | Posted October 25, 2010 | 10:36 AM

A small band of Brits still try to defend America's current foreign policy to a sceptical world. When US forces abroad do something cruel or counter-productive, like bombing another wedding party or fighting the wrong country, we point to their nobler values and to past defences of freedom. Surely they...

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A Trillion-Dollar Catastrophe. Yes, Iraq Was a Headline War

(92) Comments | Posted September 1, 2010 | 5:51 PM

Mission accomplished? The Iraq war did more than anything to alienate the Atlantic powers from the rest of the world today the Iraq war was declared over by Barack Obama. As his troops return home, Iraqis are marginally freer than in 2003, and considerably less secure. Two million...

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A View of the Spill -- and a Weak President -- From Across the Pond

(396) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 1:07 PM

The reputation of the American president has taken a terrible tumble in Britain. Barack Obama's stock may be falling in America, but his response to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has seen it collapse on this side of the Atlantic, where until recently it was stratospheric.


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Cry for Help From UK to USA

(101) Comments | Posted May 8, 2010 | 1:16 PM

Britain is this weekend the victim of a constitutional asteroid attack. We need help. The election delivered exactly the mysterious, secretive backroom bargaining that a first-past-the-post constituency system -- as in the US house of representatives -- was supposed to avoid. It rarely fails to do so, but when as...

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Will the Liberal Democrats' Recent Ecstasy Quickly Turn to Agony?

(107) Comments | Posted May 7, 2010 | 9:44 AM

Update: British politics is entering an extraordinary phase. The minority Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, failed to make a breakthrough, but the fact of a hung parliament means he is now the subject of heavy political petting. The defeated but not yet resigned prime minister, Gordon Brown, tempted him at...

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Face Down the Militarists and Get Out of Afghanistan

(26) Comments | Posted November 18, 2009 | 11:29 AM

Go to Washington any time in the past eight years and ask what influence Britain has over America's Afghan policy. The answer is a thumb and forefinger joined in a simple zero. The same was true in Iraq. Ever since Tony Blair kowtowed to George Bush at Crawford in April...

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Western Export of the Ballot Box Elixir is Pure Hubris

(31) Comments | Posted October 23, 2009 | 12:17 PM

Why can't Afghanistan be more like Sweden? It is insufferable that this miserable statelet can reject liberal democracy despite the efforts of 70,000 NATO and NGO staff kicking their heels in Kabul's dust for eight years. We have blown $230 billion of US and UK taxpayers' money and left

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Britain Must Tell Obama: The Alliance of Denial Has to End

(53) Comments | Posted July 15, 2009 | 6:30 PM

Diplomacy, your hour has come. There is no way soldiers will find an exit from Afghanistan. They can deliver defeat or they can deliver bloody stalemate. They cannot deliver victory and every observer knows it. This conflict will end only when the courage being daily demanded of soldiers is also...

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Well Done, America

(31) Comments | Posted January 22, 2009 | 12:52 PM

Well done, America. Very well done, America. Friends of the United States have spent ten years tearing their hair in despair. We have been through a thousand cries of anguish, apologies, murmured curses and pleas that the White House of Bill Clinton and George Bush "is not all of America,...

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America, Cowering to an Imaginary Enemy, Is Not the Country I Once Knew

(87) Comments | Posted December 5, 2008 | 11:26 AM

America seems much in need of Roosevelt's maxim to stop fearing fear itself. Virtually all comment on the Mumbai massacre has mentioned 9/11 and al-Qaeda, and thus invited citizens to continue feeling afraid. No matter that Mumbai appears to have been primarily about Kashmir and the status of India's Muslims....

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All the Clichés About Colour Obscure the Real Challenges Awaiting Obama

(7) Comments | Posted November 7, 2008 | 10:51 AM

The world wept with joy on Tuesday night. Probably more such tears were shed than in all history. The reason was not that a Democrat had beaten a Republican or that the new man is young and has a gift for turning banality into rhetoric. But the emotion was due...

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Obama Stock Is Overpriced; Sell, Sell

(223) Comments | Posted November 3, 2008 | 10:48 AM

Sell Obamas now. They are overpriced and the forward market has gone crazy. If he becomes president in two days, the bubble will burst, I guess in the spring of next year.

From the moment four years ago when I first heard of Barack Obama and read his...

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The Costs of War

(2) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 10:09 AM

Will the war on credit out-spend the war on terror? Or will one crash bring an end to another? Washington, London, Baghdad and Kabul last week saw concerted moves by the western powers to disengage from their seven-year war on militant islam. When it comes to truly stupefying public spending,...
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We Tilt at Windmills as World War Looms

(17) Comments | Posted August 24, 2008 | 4:24 PM

Is the world drifting towards a new global war? From this week the dominant super-power, America, will for three months pass through the valley of the shadow of democracy, a presidential election. This is always a moment of self-absorption and paranoia. Barack Obama and John McCain will not act as...
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Where Are the Economists?

(77) Comments | Posted July 9, 2008 | 11:02 AM

So the markets tumble again. Forgive me for asking, but where are the economists? As the world approaches recession, an entire profession seems to have vanished into the mist, like conmen stuffed with cash and thousands left destitute behind. They said recessions were over. They told politicians to leave things...

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