Simon Leitch

Australian Submarines Face China

In a move firmly in the category of better (ten years) late than never, Australia’s government has cancelled its French-led diesel submarine program in favour of a British-American nuclear design. Given the program’s high risks and rising costs, the Australian government did the right thing, although the French are determined to disagree. Rather than admitting …

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Do Elites Learn?  The Evidence is Worrying

“They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing!” was Talleyrand’s alleged description of French elites as they returned home in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars and the Revolution. Unable to conceive that their own actions might have cast France into chaos, these elites oscillated between pretending the Revolution never happened and taking revenge on participants. …

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Pegasus Spyware and the Globalisation of the Security State

In July 2021, in what is likely to be the spy scandal of the year, Amnesty International released a list of 50,000 phone numbers they claimed had been hacked by an advanced spyware program known as “Pegasus.”  Many of the numbers belonged to journalists, activists, government officials, and even heads of state. Independent verification of …

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A Monument to Terrorism —The Irish “Sea Border”

When is the use of violence legitimate, and how much violence can be used?  Unless you’re an absolutist pacifist, it is likely that you believe violence can be legitimate. For instance, in cases of self-defence, criminal arrests or the protection of loved ones, you might think a measure of physical force is acceptable, even necessary. …

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Euphemisms, deception, and East Asian Security

In general, to be a master politician is to be a master of the euphemism, of roundabout speech, of deception and spin.  Speech is designed to conceal thought, at least according to Talleyrand’s dictum, and the successful politician’s intentions are generally hidden behind veils of wordy explanations, jargon, and truths told with bad intent.  Hence, …

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