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China As A Diplomatic Actor

Advice to America on managing China’s rise. “The notion that Americans can indefinitely sustain military supremacy along the frontiers of a steadily strengthening China is a bad bet no sober analyst would accept. We would be wiser to study how Britain finessed the challenge of America’s emergence as a counter to its global hegemony. It viewed us with apprehension but accepted, accommodated, and co-opted us” (2,400 words)

Syriza’s Victory

The message from the Greek election. “Tsipras is issuing a much deeper challenge to the existing European dispensation. He is demanding that the rich parts of the Eurozone take the same direct responsibility for the less successful, or unluckier, areas as the richer parts of Germany or France do for the poorer regions within their own countries. He is seeking the mutualisation of giving a damn from the Arctic to the Aegean” (880 words)

How The Tudors Invented Breakfast

Most medieval Brits ate two meals a day: dinner around 11am, supper around 5pm. But in the 16th century everybody started eating breakfast, and the three-meal day fell into place. Why the change? Probably because standardised jobs became more commonplace in the 16C, and with them “working hours”. Pushing back dinner and supper allowed for a longer working day, but it also made breakfast an essential starter (2,600 words)

Can Art Still Shock?

When Edouard Manet unveiled his reclining nude, Olympia, in Paris in 1865, “the crowd fairly lost all control of itself”. The subject and the style were considered deeply shocking. Yet modern visitors look at Olympia in perfect serenity. Can any work of art still shock us aesthetically? If our capacity for shock has diminished, is that a sign that our sensibilities have grown more inclusive — or that they have dulled? (3,260 words)

Interview: New York Times Editor Dean Baquet

Spiegel asks hard questions and Baquet answers them. On not republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons: “As much as I love showing solidarity, that’s my second or third most important job. My first most important job is to serve the readers of the New York Times, and a big chunk of the readers of the New York Times are people who would be offended by showing satire of the Prophet Muhammad” (3,390 words)

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