Newsletter – September 2017

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month Jacques Bughin and Eric Hazan – Senior Partners at McKinsey – explain that Artificial Intelligence has been around since the 1950s, and has gone through many cycles of hype and ‘winters’. Based on a survey of senior executives from over 3,000 companies in ten countries, they describe how […]

“Nothingwood” by Sonia Kronlund

By Allston Mitchell in Arts and Culture

Expansive, charismatic, narcissistic…. Salim Shaheeen defies categorisation.  One French film critic even went so far as to describe him as the Afghan Alain Delon, another the Afghan Spielberg. He is the larger-than-life subject of Sonia Kronlund’s masterly and hilarious documentary, presented at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Festival de Cannes in 2017 to much […]

Erdoğan: prophetic leader or political suicide?

By Daniel Petcu in Politics

It has become commonplace to label Turkey as an autocracy following the despotic policies of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. A wave of ideological purges succeeded the failed coup d’etat of June 2016 that was instigated by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces, the Peace at Home Council. Among the motivating factors behind the […]

Arms bazaar: needs wars, eats lives

By Paul Rogers in Politics

It seems to be business as usual in the worldwide “war on terror”. The United States military is currently embroiled in many hotspots where violence, fear, and the ever present reality or threat of high explosive are the order of the day. Those conditions mean, for people at the sharp end, multiple distress. But for […]

Victory at last

By Tom Engelhardt in Politics

It was bloody and brutal, a true generational struggle, but give them credit. In the end, they won when so many lost. James Comey was axed. Sean Spicer went down in a heap of ashes. Anthony Scaramucci crashed and burned instantaneously. Reince Priebus hung on for dear life but was finally canned. Seven months in, […]

Yemen: a tragic tale of humanitarian hypocrisy

By Anastasia Kyriacou in Politics

“Dozens killed in Yemen floods” read the headlines last week, just when you thought things could not get any worse for a country that is enduring what has been recognised as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The Arab world’s poorest state has been enduring a bloody civil war since 2015, heavily compounded by the world’s […]

The new spring of A.I.

By Jacques Bughin, Eric Hazan in Features

Leading artificial intelligence (AI) expert Andrew Ng once characterised AI as “the new electricity” that will transform every sector of the economy (Ng 2017). However, we have had many cycles of hype and ‘winters’ before with AI, which has been around since the 1950s. In recent research, we decided to assess how the new wave […]

Trump and the Geopolitics of Crazy

By John Feffer in Politics

The United States has beaten its head against the wall of North Korea for more than 70 years, and that wall has changed little indeed as a result. The United States, meanwhile, has suffered one headache after another. Over the last several weeks, the head banging has intensified. North Korea has tested a couple of possible intercontinental […]

Monthly Newsletter

By Allston Mitchell in Letters

Welcome to The Global Dispatches, This month David Elstein, director of three episodes of the seminal “The World At War” series, finds “Dunkirk” to be a powerful film but one shorn of historical context. Here he fills in the vital gaps – and finds some curious anomalies; Andries du Toit, the Director of the Institute […]

The meaning of Dunkirk

By David Elstein in Arts and Culture

Few movies made in Britain have been as successful as Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk”. Like many “British” films – and thanks to a generous tax credit scheme, coupled with a favourable exchange rate – “Dunkirk” was funded by a Hollywood studio (in this case, Warner Bros). But whereas so many of our most lucrative movies have […]

Hyper-political anti-politics

By Andries du Toit in Politics

In many parts of the world, there is a growing crisis in the hegemony of what has commonly been called the ‘neoliberal’ project and its domination of the global order. Whether we are talking about the unexpected lurches that have characterized British politics since Brexit, the crisis that seems to have descended on US governance […]

Brazil in the labyrinth

By Juliano Fiori in Politics

In today’s Brazil, everything is as it seems. The belly of politics has been turned inside out, its ghastly lining exposed, weeping fetid and corrosive juices into society’s sickly bloodstream. Conspiracy is a palpable practice, not a theory. Social and news media are primary battlegrounds. Stealth loses its currency, and political advantage is determined by […]

Dubai and Gwadar: economic war in the Gulf of Oman

By Tariq al-Shammari in Features

Many economic analysts believe that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map. The controversial issue here is that an economically powerful Gwadar threatens the strategic influence of Dubai in the region. This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries. Pakistan, China […]

Transition to clean technology

By D. Acemoglu, U. Akcigit, D. Hanley, W. Kerr in Environment

It wasn’t long ago – just last year, in fact – that a German car executive described Tesla Motors as “a joke that can’t be taken seriously compared to the great car companies of Germany” (Kirschbaum 2016). These days, Telsa has a higher market cap than Ford Motor company, and we see rapid progress in […]

Beat Box

By MC Ledbetter in Arts and Culture

May’s selection includes: Incredible Bongo Band, Jesus Guerrero, Budos Band, Dead Combo, Ebo Taylor, Clifton Chenier, Carmen Amaya, Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos, Galactic, Blind Willie McTell, Antonio Serrano and Albert Sanz, Frank Zappa, Ali Khattab, Rudresh Mahanthappa, the Exciters from Panama and Hossein Alizadeh.  See you next month. Try these for size: Incredible […]

Historical roots of China’s industrial revolution

By Peter Lavelle in Features

Headlines about smoggy skies in Beijing regularly draw attention to China’s current environmental crisis. Observers rightly associate some of these problems with the rapid economic development of recent decades. Yet they ought to look back to the late nineteenth century for clues about the origins of China’s industrialisation and its modern environmental predicament. Chinese people […]