Saudi Arabia, Poland, Brexit, Ezra Pound, Trump Voters, Ukraine

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Prepare For Saudi Arabia’s Collapse

Alex De Waal & Sarah Chayes | Atlantic | 18th February 2016

Saudi Arabia is "no state at all". At best it is a "political enterprise with an unsustainable business model". The royal family uses oil revenues to buy loyalty. But when oil revenues fall, the price of loyalty rises. As now. "It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom. In conversations with military and other government personnel, we were startled at how startled they seemed at this prospect" (1,090 words)

Conspiracy Theorists Have Taken Over Poland

Christian Davis | Guardian | 16th February 2016

Poland's cranky ruling party, Law And Justice, blends "religious and patriotic rituals" with "hostility to free-market capitalism" and "a heavy dose of conspiracy regarding the machinations of Poland’s enemies". Perceived threats include vegetarians, cyclists, Russia and Germany. The party's leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, mourns the death of his twin brother Lech, probably at the hands of the global conspiracy against Poland (5,900 words)

Why I Am Backing Brexit

Michael Gove | Spectator | 20th February 2016

Conservative MP and former Cabinet Minister Michael Gove explains why he is breaking with the Prime Minister and calling for Britain to leave the European Union. "Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. This chance may never come again in our lifetimes" (1,500 words)

Confucian Confusions

Eric Ormsby | New Criterion | 15th February 2016

"It was a sad day for poetry when Ezra Pound discovered Confucius. Like some latter-day Don Quixote addled by tales of chivalry, Pound became enthralled by Confucian precepts, and those precepts, or his version of them, scrambled his brains for the next sixty years. Not one of the virtues delineated in the Analects applied to Pound". Review of the third volume of David Moody's "magisterial" biography, Ezra Pound: Poet (2,900 words)

Donald Trump, Class Warrior

Clive Crook | Bloomberg View | 19th February 2016

"The Trump supporters I'm talking about aren't fools. They aren't racists either. They don't think much would change one way or the other if Trump were elected. The political system has failed them so badly that they think it can't be repaired and little's at stake. The election therefore reduces to an opportunity to express disgust. And that's where Trump's defects come in: They're what make him such an effective messenger" (840 words)


Peter Pomerantsev | Granta | 17th February 2016

Tales from the Ukrainian Civil War. "The borders between Russia and Ukraine, between past and present, between soldier and civilian, rumour and evidence, actor and audience had buckled, and with that the whole rational, ordered sense of perspective suddenly gave way to a thinking which was magical and mystical, where reality was unknowable and seemed to be decided somewhere up on high by divine conspiracies" (8,000 words)

Video of the day: How To Win An Election

What to expect: NYT/Redglass video. Political advisor Mark McKinnon tells how to win an election (8'03")

Thought for the day

A sign is anything that can be used to tell a lie
Umberto Eco

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