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The "Soft Brexit" myth: If "Hard Brexit" is off the table, the UK should withdraw Article 50

It is now clear that on Brexit there is no "deal" to be made. If British voters truly value immigration control more than economics they need to be prepared to walk. And if they value economics, "Soft Brexit" is a fraud

June 29, 2017
June 29, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Thoughts on the 2017 UK General Election

The implications of the Conservative government of Theresa May losing its majority in the House of Commons on June 9th, 2017 have dominated media discourse. Momentous enough, exageration has taken the place of analysis

June 14, 2017
June 14, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Iran's Other Elections

For all the focus on Rouhani's reelection as President, the real shift in Iran happened downballot a delayed effect of how important the transfer of the Presidency in 2013 actually was despite the limitations.

May 22, 2017
May 22, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Closing the Gap? The UK Elections 14 Days Out

Even before last nights YouGov and Survation polls the gap was already closing between Labour and the Tories. The dynamics of the campaign made this inevitable, just as they ensure the tough part lies ahead for Corbyn

May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

28 Days out: The UK 2017 Elections

The first of several looks at the polling, campaigns, and dynamics of the UK 2017 election..

May 12, 2017
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

General Jackson is Dead Sir

Recent comments about the Civil War have reopened a debate that wrongly focuses on "what the Civil War was about?" rather than the more interesting question of why it had to be fought.

May 2, 2017
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Worst of Timing: Why Scotland's Second Bid for Independence Will Earn a Cold Shoulder From the EU

The decision of the Scottish Government to seek a second referendum is a gamble that the panic surrounding Brexit will disguise the fact that the prospects for an independent Scotland are worse than in 2014

March 16, 2017
March 27, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

A Feature, Not a Bug: Why May is using the status of EU Nationals to tempt her enemies into destruction

Theresa May's stubborness on the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK will force hard choices on many MPs. That is precisely why the Prime Minister is so insistent on doing it.

March 8, 2017
March 8, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Why not break up Bosnia?

Twenty years after it successfully ended a war, the Dayton structure has failed miserably at building a stable and united Bosnia in peace. Why not allow the state to split up?

February 27, 2017
February 27, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Germany's Boring Election: Is Merkel's Reserve of Political Lives Growing Short?

As Germans prepare to go to the polls, the greatest threat to Angela Merkel is neither anger over her asylum policy, nor populism of the right or left. Nor even is it new SPD leader Martin Schulz. It is boredom itself

February 13, 2017
February 13, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Symbiotic Polarization: How Intersectionality Birthed the Alt-Right

For all the venom directed at "Facists" by leftwing activists throughout history, the truly revolutionary forces on the right have always taken their inspirationn from the example set by their leftwing counterparts

February 9, 2017
February 9, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Politics of TPP and Mexico City

By connecting killing TPP and the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on abortion, the Trump Adminstration handed orginized labor their greatest politican win in decades while ensuring foes would only talk abortion

January 24, 2017
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

When did Obama abandon the Syrian opposition? And why did he never let his UN Ambassador know it?

For all the talk of an Obama-doctrine giving way to a Pro-Russian Trump policy, the shift back to realism already occured during the Syrian conflict.

January 22, 2017
January 22, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Old Statesman Merely Fade Away: Ali Akbar Rafsanjani 1934-2017

The dominant figure in Iran following Khomeini's death in 1989, Rafsanjani tried to build a political order on personality rather than ideology or policy and found himself adrift and distrusted by all sides.

January 10, 2017
January 19, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

In defense of the choice of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel and Trump's new policy

It needs to be accepted that the Peace Process in Israel is currently comotose and will remain so until it is recognized that any settlement will have to be on Israel's terms or the result of military force.

December 20, 2016
December 20, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Syrian Endgame

The events in Aleppo are tragic, but they are also the inevitible result of a policy based on moral outrage rather than strategic calculation, or even an effort to limit human suffering.

December 14, 2016
December 14, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Taiwan Misfire

There are plenty of reasons why it might not have made sense to take a phone call from Taiwan's new president. It is unclear what made Trump's critics think it was a good issue on which to attack him domestically.

December 4, 2016
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Return of Geostrategy: Trump jettisons liberal internationalism

Media coverage has sought to paint the Trump transition effort as both haphazard and incoherent. The reality is his Foriegn Policy picks have been calculated and strategic, echoing points he has made for over a year

December 1, 2016
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

2016: The Year History Ended

A decade ago it was common for neoconservative thinkers to claim that 9/11 marked the end of the "End of History" that began with the end of the Cold War. With hindsight, it merely marked the midpoint.

November 21, 2016
March 27, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Where Predictions went wrong

It is easy to blame this election on the polls, but looking back, everyone took for granted that voters who supported John Kerry and then Obama twice would never vote for Donald Trump. And no evidence could shake that.

November 11, 2016
November 11, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman
November 9, 2016
March 27, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Initial Thoughts on the Brexit Rulling

The High Court ruling is a defeat for the May government, but it is a defeat that if they did not actually court, nevertheless serves their interests very well.

November 3, 2016
November 3, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Problem With Debates About Russian Expansionism: A Historical Consideration of Empire and Russian Foriegn Policy

What the West sees as Russian expansionism into Europe in fact represents a dillema no Russian leader mas managed to solve in three centuries. How ensure that its neghbors are not anti-Russian absent occupation.

September 2, 2016
September 3, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

More July 20th 1944 than Reichstag Fire: Thoughts on the seriousness of the Turkish coup

The complexity of Friday's has led to a focus on whether or not the coup was somehow "staged".That is to miss the importance of how politics in Turkey has become about one man, and effective opposition about killing him.

July 16, 2016
July 19, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Fiasco: How the Brexit Coup Failed

If Brexit was a coup, then it must stand alongside the August 1991 effort in Moscow as one of worst fiascos in history. In the end, it entrenched those already in power, and left their enemies prostrate before them.

July 12, 2016
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

What if there was an election, and it was about nothing at all? The issue free Labour leadership contest.

Not since the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primaries has there been an election as devoid of issues as the Labour Leadership contest. The result has been to present an image of a party wracked by personal feuds.

July 11, 2016
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

One of Them: Why the "Remainer" Theresa May is winning the Conservative leadership

Seeing Conservative leadership race in terms of Leavers v. Remainers misses the point. Theresa May might have backed Remain, but on a tribal level Leavers know she is one of them in a way Gove or Johnson never could be.

July 4, 2016
July 4, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Politics is not a drama: Michael Gove's failed bid

Michael Gove may have acted out a real life episode of House of Cards, but the net effect of his manuevers is likely to the eclipse of his own career.

July 3, 2016
July 5, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Labour's Leadership Election

In the circumstances that currently prevail, it strikes me aas a deeply unwise move for Jeremy Corbyn's foes to force a battle to the death over an issue, the EU referendum, regarding which they themselves lack a policy

June 27, 2016
July 4, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

American Brexit - Putting the Referendum in American Context

To understand how the British electorate could disregard the advice of the entire politicana and economic elite to vote to leave the EU, imagine if Donald Trump's immigration proposals were put up for a vote in America.

June 24, 2016
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Sovereignty, Spite and Timing: Why someone who agrees with many of the arguments for Leave, would still vote to Remain

Brexit would be a disaster. Which is why it is sad that the Remain has done everything in its power to make me root for British voters to cast their ballots for Leave.

June 21, 2016
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Venezuela Update

Venezuela's problems are as much political as they are economic, and the opposition has unwisely accepted the government's narrative that politics is a struggle to the death.

June 18, 2016
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

On Demonization, "Elites", and Jo Cox

Jo Cox's murder takes place within the environment of a bitter referendum campaign, but also needs to be placed within a wider context of demonization of entire classes of individuals.

June 18, 2016
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The rotten three legs of the stool: Donald Trump didn't destroy American Conservatism, it was already rotten to the core

Donald Trump's victory did not represent a defeat for American conservatism. By the time he arrived, it had already ideologically defeated itself. He found himself pushing on an open door.

May 9, 2016
March 27, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The United States and the EU Referendum

Regardless of what the proper American policy should be, Barack Obama's intervention in the EU referendum campaign was almost certainly a mistake. For him, for David Cameron, and for both countries.

April 25, 2016
May 12, 2017
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Why Attacks on Trump's Foriegn Policy Views Backfire

Donald Trump's foes have repeatedly tried to make light of his ideological heresies. Nowhere has this been more blatent than with regard to his foriegn policy views, and nowhere have such efforts been less successful.

March 28, 2016
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

David Cameron's Dangerous Few Months

The first weeks of the EU referendum campaign have not gone according to plan from the perspective of Prime Minister David Cameron. What was intended to undermine his rivals has instead strengthened them, dangerously so.

March 21, 2016
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Thoughts on the February 25th Republican Debate

Last night Marco Rubio continued his strategy of endeavoring to place himself to Donald Trump's right, a strategy whose purpose is open to question even if it could credibly be carried out.

February 26, 2016
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Post-Debate Thoughts: Forget Trump, Rubio Needs a Message and a 21st Century Campaign Team

Anyone wondering why Trump is winning the GOP primary could have turned into the last debate to be enlightened on why his opponents are losing. And why Rubio, despite accolades is not ready for primetime.

January 29, 2016
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Slow, extended death throws of America's Syria policy

The death of another Syrian rebel "leader" highlights the extent to which Western policy towards Syria increasingly running on sheer inertia with not clear objectives or end goals.

December 26, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Transitions are Hard: Zimbabwe and Venezuala

The recent victory of the opposition alliance in elections for Venezuala's National Assembly provides both the possibility of change, and the danger that politics will now move into a struggle to the death.

December 8, 2015
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Russian intervention just highlights how the West still lacks a Syria Policy

The confused reaction to the clash between Moscow and Ankara is a testement to how the West's goals in Syria have become so confused that contradictory policies are being pursued simultanously.

October 8, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

You should not fear Corbyn because he opposes Trident Now, but because he did so in the 1980s

Viewing the renewel of the Trident system as a waste of money should not be disqualifying for Corbyn. What should be is his opposition to Britain's independent deterent in the 1980s when there was good reason for it

September 13, 2015
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Left-Wing Economic Views are not Jeremy Corbyn's Real Problem

It his seeming associations with enemies of the United Kingdom and eccentric views on migration, rather than his fetish for nationalization, which are likely to pose the most problems for Labour under Corbyn's leadership

July 26, 2015
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Eurogroup and SYRIZA's Cowardly Referendum

When looking back at the handling of Greece since 2008, it is unlikely anyone will emerge covered in glory. But when measured by such standards, the behavior of everyone involved in Greece's referendum is abominable

June 29, 2015
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

American History, Southern Identity, and the Politics of Race

If there has been one consistent aspect of racial controversies in American politics, it is that much like joining ISIS, the effort is almost certain to end in a suicide bombing, or the political equivalent.

June 26, 2015
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Bernie Sanders' Demographic Challenge

Whatever his success in winning over online activists, Bernie Sanders faces the same obstacle as any left-wing insurgent in the Democratic party; winning over non-white voters who care more about winning in November.

June 16, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Labour's Strategic Problem

Labour supporters may be right to blame fears of a possible coalition with the SNP for costing them power in May. But with the SNP dominant in Scotland, it is not a problem likely to go away anytime soon.

June 12, 2015
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

On Echo Chambers and Politics: Labour picks the wrong fight over the EU referendum

The decision to champion the cause of EU citizens resident in the UK to vote in any referendum on EU membership illustrates the challenges Labour has in culturally connecting with voters within its own heartlands.

May 28, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Labour's Cultural Obliviousness: Responding to Public Concerns on Immigration and the EU

Rather than figuring out why the voters did not want to hire them, the Labour party seems determined to complain about the fantasy of hiriing a different set of voters.

May 12, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Slavery and the Origins of the American Civil War: A Rebuttle to Libertarian Revisionism

There have been repeated efforts to recast the Civil War as a conflict over the constitutional relationship between states and the federal government. Ultimately, however, those issues all related to slavery.

April 13, 2015
November 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Amazing Shrinking Palestinian National Issue

The recent Israeli elections are a testement to the degree to which the Palestinian issue has become an afterthought even for Israelis. And that is worrysome for Israel's relations with Europe.

March 22, 2015
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Third Stage of Grief: The Dukakis-esque Premise of the Walker Campaign

Republicans rushing to embrace Scott Walker's campaign are betting that 2008 and 2012 were outliers, and that the winning strategy in 2016 requires nothing further than to not run against Barack Obama.

March 5, 2015
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Despite Cease-Fire Failures, American Weapons are not a Solution

Whatever policy is the right one to adopt regarding the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, the assumption that arming the Ukrainian military is either a simple task, or an alternative to direct interevention is absurd.

February 22, 2015
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Let's Talk Oil Prices: Rebutting Myths about the Price Collaspe

There is no grand Saudi "conspiracy" against shale production behind the fall in oil prices. Ultimately, the commodity collaspe is a byproduct of the Chinese slowdown along with short-sighted decisions by producers.

December 22, 2014
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Comrade Bob's Final Victory: Mugabe's Succession and Zimbabwe

The recent struggle for succession in Zimbabwe is a remainder that informal networks of power will almost always prevail over formal constitutional procedure in non-democratic states.

December 15, 2014
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Hagel and the Return of the End of Realism

The resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel marks the final eclipse within the Obama Adminstration of those realist Republicans who defected during the last decade through disatisfaction with the Iraq war.

November 28, 2014
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Combined 2014 Senate Rankings and Guide

A complete, state by state guide to the 2014 US Midterm elections.

October 30, 2014
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Thoughts on the Scottish Referendum Part 1: Polling

There are serious reasons to doubt the validity of the recent Yougov poll showing the Yes side ahead in Scotland's upcoming referendum on independence, not least as the lead appears to be a proudct of weighting.

September 7, 2014
July 5, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Repeating the Mistakes of 1936, Europe Risks Marginalizing Itself on the World Stage

International policy is about making choices about different priorities. In 1936, European powers failed to weigh the relative importance of Italy's alliance against Hitler with Ethiopia's independence and lost both.

August 25, 2014
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Free Gaza? What on Earth Does That Even Mean?

Poltical activism against Israeli actions in Gaza has begun to mirror those actions, falling into a pattern of almost pro forma, generic demands that bear little resemblence to the reality of the conflict.

July 30, 2014
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

War, Democracy, and Gaza: Lashing Out is not a Strategy

The Israeli campaign in Gaza serves no strategic or political purpose and is being carried out, much like Hamas' own rocket attacks, in service to sheer inertia.

July 27, 2014
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Futility of the Israeli-Palestinian "Peace Process"

It is apparent that as often as politicians speak of the Middle East "Peace Process" no such process exists, or can exist until every party recognizes the truism that settlements must reflect the facts on the ground

July 21, 2014
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Iran and America are not on the same side in Iraq

Despite both sharing an enmity with ISIS, the US and Iran have very different goals in Iraq, and the methods being used are often in direct conflict.

June 17, 2014
July 16, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Enough about Sykes-Picot Already!

It has become a cliche to blame the international borders imposed by European powers for the problems of the Middle East. The Syrian/Iraqi border actually represents divisions thousands of years old.

June 15, 2014
July 4, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Some More Thoughts on Young Voters, Inequality, and the Republican Party

Millenial frustration with the job market is not merely a product of entitlement. With employers completing the hiring process ever earlier, many young Americans have already "missed the boat" by age 23

May 7, 2014
July 4, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Brazil, History and "Imperial" States

The political crisis in Brazil points to larger structural weaknesses in the Brazilian state that have always made it unlikely that the ascent to global power would go smoothly for the Latin American giant.

April 19, 2014
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Obama-ization of British Politics: Why Labour Should be Wary of David Axelrod

In the rush to take advantage of the tactics that allowed Barack Obama to win the 2012 election, the Labour party may be forgetting how very different the two countries are, and setting itself up for a major defeat.

April 18, 2014
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Turkey after the Local Elections

The focus by the international media on the integrity of the results in Turkey's recent local elections detracts from the important lesson that while the AKP is politically mortal, the opposition remains fragmented.

April 1, 2014
July 16, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

A Look Back: Thoughts About Yugoslavia, Sovereignty, and Western Inaction

The prerequisite for any sort of effective action within the Ukraine is to decide whether Kiev is facing a domestic rebellion for an outside invasion. Failing to do so means confusing the lines about the use of force

March 29, 2014
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

How Turkey's Elections This Weekend are Tomorrow's Geopolitical Crisis

Turkey's local elections this weekend are the first occasion on which the ruling AKP party faces the prospect of a substantial loss of support. How they respond will determine the future of democracy in Turkey.

March 26, 2014
November 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Will Politicking in Tehran Make for a Difficult 2014 in American-Iranian Relations?

With politicking already begining for Iran's 2016 elections, will Iranian-American talks fall victim to the need of politicians in both nations to grandstand.

March 23, 2014
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Putin's Verdun: While the Crimea Burns, Russia Prepares a Trap for the West in Estonia

Putin's strategic objectives likely have less to do with territorial ambitions in regions that are economically worthless, and more to do with endeavoring to discredit NATO as a viable protector of neghboring states.

March 19, 2014
July 5, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The Ghosts of Munich: Barack Obama and the Wrong Lessons of History

It is common for historians to invoke the spectre of the Munich crisis of 1938 to suggest we should not "forget it's lessons." But what precisely were they, and are the right ones being invoked?

March 18, 2014
June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Ukraine, the European Union, Economic Cycles and Political Weakness

The dynamics of the European response to Russian actions in the Ukraine are being driven by economic factors which leave EU leaders vulnerable domestically in the event of any policies which impose ecnomic costs

March 7, 2014
July 13, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Ukraine Thoughts Part 1: On the Side of the Angels, Vladimir Putin's view of America and the World

In the eyes of Vladimir Putin, Russia has spent two decades on a policy of appeasement towards the United States, only to be met with duplicity and betrayal. Combined with a personal aversion to Obama it explains much.

March 2, 2014
July 2, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Syria, Congress, and Obama: The changing partisan contours of American foreign policy

The debate over intervention in Syria marks a watershed in US politics. For the first time since the Iraq War, Barack Obama has clearly positioned the Democrats as the interventionist, pro-war party in American politics

September 13, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

A strike called denial: The costs of intervention in Syria

Intervention in Syria is something that the entire Western elite insist is neccisary, but at the same time are determined to do everything in their power to avoid.

August 31, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Cameron, UKIP, and the Lessons of Stanley Baldwin

In its appeal to populism, and relience on the support of press barons, the challenge UKIP poses to the Conservative party resembles earlier insurgency in which tight knit ideological groups sought to take over the party

August 30, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The diplomatic revolution of July 2013 and the future of the Middle East

The overthorw of Mohamad Morsi in Egypt marks a revolutionary change in the balance of power in the Middle East, and shifts the environment decidly against Syria's rebels and their outside backers.

July 24, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Majority rule: Turkey’s Taksim Gezi Park protestors must join the electoral process or perish

Turkey's opposition has to abandon fantasies of military coups and delusions that the AKP will implode while they do nothing in order to recognize that only broadening their appeal can they challenge Erdogan for power.

July 2, 2013
July 16, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

The education of Ali Khamenei: a political biography of Iran’s Supreme Leader

Ali Khamenei may be widely considered the most powerful man in Iran, but when he was selected as Faqih(Supreme Leader) in 1989 he was cipher, widely considered a figurehead. How did he become what he is today?

June 6, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Khamenei’s game: understanding the supreme leader’s role in Iran’s politics

The office of Faqih, or Surpreme Leader to the Western media, is simultanousnly the most important and least understood in the Iranian system. It is Supreme not in the Stalin sense, but rather in that of Japan's Emperor.

May 23, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

A preview of Iran’s 2013 presidential election: candidates, mullahs and unknowns

An overview of the contenders to suceed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

May 20, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Ukraine Thoughts Part 2: When You Play the Game of Princes You Win or You Die

Authoritarian states struggle to manage successions. Absent the ability to submit them to the electorate, they are fought informally at all levels of the state, and even the most loyal heir given time will become a theat

March 6, 2013
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Five Thoughts About the Recent US Elections

Five reflections on the results of the 2012 elections.

November 8, 2012
July 1, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

How Hillary Clinton lost the debate over American Foriegn Policy

As late as the final weeks of the campaign, the media and Clinton high command remained convinced that Clinton's foriegn policy experience was an asset, and Trump's views a liability. The reverse may well have been true.

November 25, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman

Minorities, the Politics of Proximity and Seccession

The "American" experience has often been cited as a successful counterpoint to unsuccessful efforts at assimilation elsewhere. But America's success may owe less to culture, and more to distance than is commonly assumed.

June 30, 2016
Written by 
Daniel Berman