Kosovo: The balance sheet

Ten months after the end of the Kosovan war sufficient time has elapsed and information accumulated to draw up a tentative historical balance sheet. I say ‘historical’, because what has been done cannot be undone. We must live with the consequences, and do our best in the new situation.

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Debate: Is Military Intervention over Kosovo Justified? Skidelsky vs. Ignatieff

Is military intervention over Kosovo justified?

Dear Michael

3rd May 1999

I have been instinctively against Nato’s bombing of Serbia from the day it started on 24th March. I was-I dare say like you and many others-incredulous that Nato seemed to have no military strategy except to bomb Serbia to smithereens. I could not believe that bombing a defenceless country was the right way to wage “holy war.” But above all I was alarmed by the thought that a new doctrine of international relations was being forged which would make the world a much more dangerous place.

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Morgan: American Financier
by Jean Strouse
Random House, 796 pp., $34.95

When John Pierpont Morgan died in 1913, he was the most powerful banker in the world. As the main conduit for British foreign investment into North America he helped transform the United States from a society of yeoman farmers into an industrial colossus. More controversially, Morgan helped change competitive business into what Lenin called “monopoly capitalism.” His bank financed the consolidation of large sectors of the American transportation, steel, and electricity industries. Most of this made economic sense, eliminating destructive competition, stabilizing the market, and lowering costs to the consumer through economies of scale and marketing. But the resulting concentration of power and wealth produced a popular backlash, leading Congress to pass the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.

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Diary: Gulag Baden-Baden

Friday 27th March

Edward (my son) and I board the flight to Moscow at Terminal 4, Heathrow. I am to take part in a conference at Perm, organised by the Moscow School of Political Studies. Perm is on the edge of Siberia; a city of more than 1m people with a cultural past (Diaghilev was born there) and a depressed industrial present. “Experts” are being assembled to advise regional officials and politicians on how to make the most of self-government-an important topic in view of the paralysis of the centre. My most prized possession is a bath plug. I remember from past excursions that outside the western circuit bath plugs are unobtainable.

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Book Review: Marquand’s Missing Link

Review of The New Reckoning: Capitalism, States and Citizens by David Marquand
Polity Press, 1997

David Marquand is an engaging and stylish political thinker, who moves adventurously across academic frontiers and straddles the worlds of scholarship and politics. His main interest is in what may be called the “government of Britain” question; the failure, as he sees it, of Britain to develop into a properly democratic state. His method is one of persuasive argument, conveyed most felicitously in essay form, where thought is not unduly trammelled by the demands of rigour or specificity. His style is that of the seminar rather than the pulpit. He does not try to bludgeon the reader into submission and is too sceptical to admit to “final” beliefs himself.

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