NIALL FERGUSON’S CRITICS JUMP THE GUN

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

Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist (Penguin Press, New York, 2015) 986 pp. Harry Gelber’s review (December 2015) of the first volume of Niall Ferguson’s biography of Henry Kissinger – Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist – strikes the right note in describing it as ‘the first half of what may yet turn out to be his masterpiece.’ There is no question that Ferguson is poised to deliver something special in the second volume, which, he informs me, will take at least another three years. Even this first volume is a most impressive piece of work. Yet Ferguson’s critics on the Left refuse to…

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CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION

By | Biography, China, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, History, Taiwan | No Comments

On the death of Zhao Ziyang and the future of China  “We Chinese people have an old weakness: we cling to some things so hard that we can’t let go…This weakness has blocked up people’s thinking, has stifled democracy and science, has aided ignorance and backwardness, and is a major obstacle to the advance of Chinese society.” Li Ruihuan (1992)[i] “Rapid economic growth is a stressful process…it churns and reorders economic and political elites. It can destabilize the political order that is responsible for the policies that sustain it, unless the political order itself evolves with the economic structure.” Ross…

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THE CIVIL SERVANT AND THE INSURGENTS

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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