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Can Joe Biden go on?

20 min listen

The dust has settled from the TV debate that was catastrophic for Joe Biden. What are the possible options going forward? Are things changing behind the scenes? Freddy Gray assesses the situation with Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of The National Interest. 

What is Trump’s new foreign policy?

26 min listen

Freddy Gray speaks to author Jacob Heilbrunn about what another term in office for Donald Trump might mean for America’s foreign policy, its relationship with Israel, and the war in Ukraine. How have his views changed since last time? And what will his relationship with Putin be like?

Am I allowed to make fun of women’s football? 

I’m loath to write about the current Fifa World Cup because criticising women’s football is textbook ‘misogyny’ – at least, that’s what Sadiq Khan thinks. The centrepiece of his recent ‘Have a word’ campaign is a video of young men discussing the women’s Euros, with viewers encouraged to press a button saying ‘Maaate’ when a line is crossed. The idea is to nip such behaviour in the bud before it escalates into violence. One particularly noxious youth describes the Euros as a ‘joke’, clearly marking him out as a potential rapist. She made a complete horlicks of her spot-kick, firing the ball over the crossbar But is that really evidence

Violent extremists won’t spoil Joe Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland

What can violent extremists do to wreck Joe Biden’s first visit to Northern Ireland? The answer is precious little. The President’s visit has been denied the electoral fairy dust of a functioning Executive as he blows in to hail 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement. While that might disappoint some local politicians keen to bathe in some harmless warm platitudes, it will be less of a security headache for those charged with keeping him safe. So what of the known arrangements and the risks? Biden will land at Belfast International Airport this evening and be taken, one assumes by air, to a venue in the city for some glad-handing.

Ukraine needs more than tanks

What weapons will Ukraine get next? It’s a crucial question that matters perhaps more than anything else for understanding how the Russo-Ukraine war will end. For the last few months two different systems have received the most attention, systems that Ukraine has asked for almost daily. These are tanks, or MBTs (Main Battle Tanks), the key armoured vehicle of 20th and 21st century land warfare, and ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems), the longest-range ammunition now available for the US-made HIMARS rocket launchers already in Ukraine.  Both are needed for the quickest possible Ukrainian victory in the war, though for now it seems that the first, tanks, are on their way and the

What Washington was like during the Cuban Missile Crisis (2002)

On 27 October 1962, US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara stepped out of crisis meetings and looked up at the sky. ‘I thought it was the last Saturday I would ever see,’ he recalled.  This month marks 60 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 2002, Peregrine Worsthorne wrote about what it was like to be in Washington during humanity’s closest shave. Forty years ago the Americans won what I hope will be the nearest thing to nuclear war between superpowers — of which only one is left — ever fought; and the fact that they won it without firing a shot should not diminish but rather increase the extent of the victory.

Did Russia sabotage its own pipelines?

It almost seems worthy of the opening scene in a Bond film. Vital Russian gas pipelines running beneath the Baltic Sea close to Denmark and Sweden are the victims of sabotage. The two countries have warned of leaks from both Nord Stream 1 and 2 after seismologists suggested there had been underwater explosions. No one wants to claim credit for the deed – yet. Who is the Blofeld behind this dastardly scheme? Former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski, no fan of Russia, sardonically declared on Twitter, ‘Thank you, USA’. That set the conspiracy theorists off. As has a video resurfacing of Joe Biden in February promising America would put an end to

Why is The New York Times so obsessed with loathing Britain?

They’ve done it again in the grey building on 826 Eighth Avenue, New York City, NY, USA. They – the editors of the New York Times – have launched a tumultuous broadside against the most degraded, pathetic, hopeless, rancid, ugly, stupid, ridiculous, doomed and offensively anti-democratic country in the entire world. That is to say, the United Kingdom. This particular fusillade is quite something. Under the shouting headline The Fantasy of Brexit Britain Is Over, the author – Richard Seymour (and we shall come back to him) – serves up a grand, all-you-can-eat buffet of UK hatred. Britain, according to Mr Seymour, is ‘economically stagnant, socially fragmented, politically adrift’. The

Remembering Gore Vidal

Fourteen years ago, my then boss, Matt d’Ancona sent me off to interview Gore Vidal. I’ll always be grateful to him for the opportunity. D’Ancona could have gone to meet the great man himself, but he knew I was a fan so he let me go. Is there anything hopeful in American politics then? I asked Vidal towards the end of our enjoyable but pretty dispiriting evening in Claridge’s. I recorded his response as follows: ‘No,’ says Vidal.Anything good about the American people? ‘Not really.’How do you see the future of America panning out? ‘It panned out already, it’s sinking.’ Can anything be done to save it? ‘I don’t give

The strange feminism of Ivana Trump

For a woman whose life was all about ascent, there is a cruel irony to the fact that Ivana Trump was found dead at the age of 73 at the bottom of the stairs of her Upper East Side apartment last Thursday. Born in 1949 in Communist Czechoslovakia, the girl whose father was an electrical engineer made her name on the basis of dizzying verticals: first as a professional skier and then as billionaire’s wife and manager of her second husband Donald Trump’s eye-bending skyscrapers in New York and Atlantic City. After her acrimonious tabloid divorce from Donald in 1991 following his affair with chorus-girl Marla Maples, Ivana made her

Biden is the emperor with no clothes

The emperor is naked. The public knows it, and they’re finally beginning to speak the obvious truth. The emperor, in this case, is President Biden. He took office with high hopes from voters and a promise to bring the country together. Those aspirations are dead. The public has lost confidence in Joe Biden – lost confidence that he can do the job, and lost confidence that he is even minimally competent. They certainly don’t think he has brought the country together (though they think Republicans share the blame for that). This sour mood hurts more than the President. It hurts his entire party, and will be extremely hard to reverse.

End of quote. Repeat the line. Joe Biden can’t go on

How much longer can the global disaster that is Joe Biden’s presidency go on? Surely there comes a point when the Democrats do what the Tory party did to Boris Johnson last week – declare enough is enough and force him out? The odds of Biden running for a second term are shrinking dramatically – no matter how many times he insists he will go on. The more pressing question is whether he can even hold on for the remaining two years of his first four. A miserable poll just published in the New York Times shows that only 13 per cent of Americans think their nation is on the

The Texas school shooting won’t change a thing

Joe Biden gave one of his more eloquent speeches yesterday in response to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. He didn’t sound doddery, possibly because it’s pretty much the same speech that he and/or Barack Obama have given after almost every school shooting for over a decade. He’s passionate about this issue. He’s also well-rehearsed. ‘To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,’ he said, speaking as someone who has lost two of his own children: There’s a hollowness in your chest you feel like you’re being sucked into it. And never going to be able to get out. Suffocating.

Why progressives can’t tolerate Christians

For decades, Christians have talked about feeling persecuted in advanced secular and liberal democracies. They’ve often sounded a bit hysterical. It’s true that governments and societies have moved towards a kind of post-Christianity. The world in which we live has adopted some of the gentler stuff about love and ignored the challenging stuff about sex. Devout Catholics, Anglicans and Evangelicals can therefore be made to feel a bit weird and out of place. But persecuted? Not really. Christians are on the whole free to live according to their faith without harassment, which is very unlike the situation in some Muslim counties — or China. Look at the vicious reaction to

The Biden Bust is here

A wave of government spending would reboot the economy. Fairer taxes would pay for restored infrastructure. Skills would be improved, productivity raised, and new digital champions would emerge. When Joe Biden was elected, he promised the most radical programme of economic reform since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s, and, to his army of cheerleaders at least, the American economy was about to be completely transformed. But hold on. Only a year into his term, the reality is very different from the promises. In reality, the Biden Bust has arrived. Donald Trump may have been personally obnoxious, but he bequeathed an economy in perfectly good shape The US GDP figures

Will Hunter Biden finally bring down his father?

It was meant to be a kumbaya moment for the Democrats. Barack Obama, the still revered 44th President, would make his first formal visit to Joe Biden’s White House – and sprinkle some of his leadership magic over a struggling administration. Barack and Joe, the old duo, were to mark the 12th anniversary of what is thought to be their greatest legislative achievement: the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, last week’s event ended up reminding most Americans that the current President may be better off in an Expensive Care Home. The videos from the day were painful to watch: Biden bumbled around helplessly as his former boss worked the

Is Biden trying to crash the economy?

A war is raging in Ukraine. Inflation has risen to a 30-year high and may have started to spiral out of control. The country is on the brink of recession, and a gaffe-prone leadership is under increasing fire. You could be forgiven for thinking that President Biden has more than enough problems right now. But he is about to make his already miserable term in the White House a whole lot worse. How? By adding a stock market crash, and the destruction of America’s best companies, to the already worryingly long list of self-inflicted disasters. It is hard to think of a single tax that could be worse for growth

How the Ukraine crisis ends

Vladimir Putin does not think in the way the West does. Of course sanctions will hurt. But so what? He may be wrong in his strategic calculations, but he is not, as Boris Johnson claimed over the weekend, irrational. Putin is an old-school strategist. This is one of the reasons that sanctions will not have the desired impact. An import ban on Russian gas would definitely hurt the Russian economy, but that seems highly unlikely. Italian President Mario Draghi said on Friday that we should not touch gas. It is now the guy who sits in Moscow, rather than Draghi, who is willing to do ‘whatever it takes’. An import

No one should celebrate the decline of America

Where is America? Like an old friend who hasn’t been in touch for years, you wonder if its silence is lost interest or if it just got too busy. America used to be everywhere, the dominant voice in world affairs, a desirable friend and a much-feared enemy. It intervened (and, yes, interfered) whenever it felt its interests or values were threatened. Often its involvement was unwanted and sometimes it didn’t improve matters, but there was a reliable solidity to it, a sturdiness born of military might, prosperity and national self-belief. It could be admired or reviled, but it had to be reckoned with. America shies away from it all now.

Vital, damning docudrama about the Sacklers: Disney+’s Dopesick reviewed

One of my first jobs in journalism was as the arts correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. I’d hop on my motorbike in my greasy leathers (which I used to wear around the office, much to my then editor Max Hastings’s consternation) and zoom off to all manner of exhibition and gallery openings, many of them somehow related to the name Sackler. The Sackler family at the time were the world’s greatest arts philanthropists, with galleries and museums and rooms named after them from New York, London and Paris to the Far East. Like almost everyone, I had no idea of the source of their apparently limitless wealth. But I knew