Essays

In search of civilisation

The search for ‘early civilisation’ in ancient societies has obscured the diverse ways in which ancient societies survived and thrived.

Artists of the floating world

Japanese art aspires to the principles of balance and natural rebirth which underpin the ancient Japanese philosophy of life.

Humanism matters in the age of AI

Modern atheists cast humanism as an anti-religious movement. But its roots in theology must be recovered if we are to confront the ethical challenges of today.

The strange birth of the European

Critics of European integration point to the weakness of common cultural and political ties on the continent. But European identity can emerge even in difficult conditions.

China’s takeover of Western capitalism

From obscure stakes in biotech companies to intellectual property theft, the Chinese state is engaged in corporate subterfuge. But what can the West do about it?

The twilight of the Arab state

The traditional Arab State is under increasing pressure from internal and external forces. Will those in power recognise the need for reform before it is too late?

To avoid a dictatorship of scholars

Questions of accountability were at the heart of the European integration project, even before the devastating impetus of the Second World War.

Future proof

Deference to history will not be enough to answer the geopolitical questions of the future. New systemic forces are in play.

The crusader of good will

While no longer a state power, the Catholic Church remains a powerful political force in modern diplomacy.

A garden of schizophrenics

How did our ancestors think? The written word provides crucial evidence of how language has shaped human consciousness.

The endless frontier

American state investment in science is returning. But the threats of today – pandemics, climate change, China – will require bold political leadership as well as money.

Fighting in the shadows

The nature of war has changed forever. The West must adapt if it is to ward off threats to global stability.

The triumph of the Motherland

In the cultural vacuum left by the collapse of communism, nostalgia for the Soviet Union defines and sustains the modern Russian nation.

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