World Affairs

Obama's Victory would Transcend Politics

Will President Barack Obama have any kind words for George W. Bush in his inauguration speech? He certainly should.

No individual has been more responsible for Obama's triumphant march to victory in the United States on November 4.

Looking out for Number One

"There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favours from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure ..." - George Washington

Who shows no pity deserves none. Not even the saints shed tears at Saddam Hussein's hanging. He began as an assassin, gained power through blood, and ruled without mercy. Perhaps 100,000 died in his 1987-1989 Anfal anti-Kurdish campaign. In 1988 he used chemical weapons to kill at least 5,000 civilians in Halabja.

Romantic but Wrong, Repulsive and Right

Augusto Pinochet and Fidel Castro both ruled with iron fists. They suppressed all opposition and did not allow freedom of speech or multi-party elections. Pinochet is now dead and the likely terminally-ill Castro's political career is probably over. The obvious question is whether they did more harm than good to their countries.

Wishing upon a War

George W. Bush's party ran, but couldn't hide from Iraq and Katrina. Karl Rove couldn't fool all the people all the time. And the supposedly terminal ills besetting American democracy - such as seat gerrymandering, unmatchable incumbency spending and an imperial president - have apparently been cured by, well, more democracy.

Life without Free Speech

What is it like to live in a country where the government decides what you can hear or say? It's a state of mind those who consider free speech a birthright really can't comprehend. And it's something Jamaicans could and would never tolerate.

World Cup Prejudices

For all that, and all that,
It is coming yet for all that,
That man to man the world over
Shall brothers be for all that.

Isaac Newton versus Genghis Khan

ISAAC NEWTON was the greatest scientist in history and, perhaps more than anyone before or since, changed the world with his ideas.

'Nearer the Gods' said Edmond Halley 'no mortal may approach'.

Newton never had any children and is believed, like Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant, to have died a virgin. So arguably, the three most influential intellectuals of modern times never had sexual relations with a woman. Maybe there's a lesson there.

Living with Regrets: The Iraq Case

IF THE four most expensive words in the English language are 'This time it's different', the five most dangerous must be 'Anything is better than this'.

I mean, whoever thought that one day people in Iraq would look back on the cruel, murderous regime of Saddam Hussein with anything but horror and disdain?

Tookie and Raskolnikov

'TWO OLD ladies hacked to death!' is the kind of headline that makes even bleeding heart liberals instinctively cry out 'Bring back hanging!' But in Dostoevsky's classic novel Crime and Punishment, the hero Raskolnikov gets sentenced to less than 10 years in prison for bashing in the heads of two defenceless women, even after admitting he had planned the murder of one victim in advance and killed the other solely because she was a witness.

Sending Messages

GEORGE W. Bush has always sounded like a bumbling moron. But surely a man who was elected Governor of Texas and then President of the United States could not be the utter fool that 'Dubya' comes across as, or so I've always told myself.

After all 50 million Americans can't be completely wrong, and there must be more to him than meets the eye.