By | Middle East, Opinion pieces for the press | No Comments

  If we are to make balanced judgements about the Israeli incursion into Gaza, we must be able to put it in sober perspective. Three things make that very difficult: pictures of the death and injury of women and children; evidence of the overwhelmingly superiority of Israeli arms compared with those available to Hamas; and the belief that the Arab population of Gaza (and for that matter on the West Bank of the Jordan) are refugees, deprived of their homes, oppressed and bullied by Israel. If you start simply from one or more of these premises, without putting the situation…

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By | Biography, Book reviews for the press, Defence, Geopolitics, History | No Comments

Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M Gates Knopf, January 2014, 640 pp. , $35.00. When the memoirs of Robert Gates were released in Australia, in mid-January, much was made of his alleged criticisms of Barack Obama. Gates was a holdover from the Bush administration and a lifelong Republican, as well as the former head of the CIA; so those already inclined to be critical of Obama – or for that matter those more inclined to leap to his defence – might be expected to jump on any criticism of the President by his former Secretary of…

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