Con Coughlin

Veep show: who will Trump pick for his running mate?

47 min listen

This week: Veep show: who will Trump pick for his running mate? Freddy Gray goes through the contenders – and what they say about America (and its most likely next president). ‘Another thought might be buzzing around Trump’s head: he can pick pretty much whoever he wants because really it’s all about him. He might even

Why Putin still needs Wagner

It will be a matter of deep regret for Vladimir Putin that, in the wake of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s ill-fated attempt to overthrow Russia’s military establishment, he has finally been forced to come clean about the Kremlin’s association with the Wagner Group. Deniability is a vital facet for a veteran spook like Putin. Even when Wagner’s

Britain’s armed forces no longer have the resources for a major war

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Con Coughlin and Tom Tugendhat debate the state of Britain’s armed forces” startat=1561] Listen [/audioplayer]This Sunday, David Cameron will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice during two ruinous world wars. People will say ‘Never Again’ and Cameron will agree. But then, thanks to the drastic

Could the Taliban become a useful ally against Islamic State?

For the better part of a decade, Nato forces fought a bitter war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of thousands of troops – including 453 members of Britain’s Armed Forces – and left thousands more seriously maimed by roadside bombs and other devilish devices. So it is perfectly understandable that anyone

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood should have learnt from Nasser

Egypt used to be good at revolutions. When Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Free Officers overthrew the monarchy in July 1952, hardly a shot was fired in anger, and jubilant crowds took to the streets of Cairo chanting ‘Long live the revolution’. Even the deposed King Farouq seemed to agree that Nasser had done the right thing.

Bribe, Cut and Run: Britain’s retreat from Afghanistan

Retreating from Afghanistan has never been a task at which the British military has excelled. Our first incursion in 1839 resulted in the wholesale massacre of an entire division, save for an army doctor by the name of Dr William Brydon, who was spared only so he could tell the tale. Troops fighting the Second

Black flags in Timbuktu

The drawback to waging a global counter-terrorism campaign is that, just when you think you have one bunch of Islamist militants on the run, another one pops up to take its place. For all the breakthroughs chalked up by those prosecuting the war against al-Qa’eda, the movement has re-emerged in new guises in Somalia and

The defeatists

Nato’s leadership is now united in readiness to surrender Afghanistan The leaders of the 50 or so countries attending Nato’s spectacular jamboree in Chicago this weekend will arrive knowing that they can at least agree on one issue: ending Nato’s ill-fated mission to Afghanistan at the earliest possible opportunity. Normally Nato summits have a habit

The cruellest spring

Al-Qa’eda has begun to harness the Arab revolts Since the movement was launched by the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, I have been a sceptic about this Arab Spring and its promise of delivering economic prosperity for all. When it comes to democratic institutions and the rule of law, the Middle East has been

Obama’s war

One of the first things David Cameron will tell Barack Obama when they meet during the American President’s state visit to Britain next week is that hundreds of British soldiers are going to be withdrawn from Afghanistan this summer. Of the 10,000 British troops currently based in southern Afghanistan, around 450 are to be brought

Blame the generals

When Dr Liam Fox talks about the ‘ghastly’ inheritance he has been bequeathed by New Labour on the defence budget — which is expected to be butchered further in next week’s spending review, he is not giving us the full roll call of shame. Certainly, there were a succession of clueless Labour defence ministers, who

Cameron has given up on Afghanistan

A fundamental shift has quietly taken place in Britain’s approach to Afghanistan: the focus is now on leaving, not winning. Con Coughlin asks if we are seeing the return of the politics of appeasement It is difficult to pinpoint the precise moment that David Cameron gave up on the war in Afghanistan. But the Prime

Notes from a war zone

When Winston Churchill, as a young cavalry officer, found himself fighting the fierce tribesmen who inhabited the imposing mountainous terrain that defined the Indian empire’s northern border, he provided a graphic account of the brutality of the enemy the British force encountered. When Winston Churchill, as a young cavalry officer, found himself fighting the fierce

A special form of disrespect

Barack Obama’s increasing disregard for Britain’s views is no way to treat an ally whose troops have fought side by side with America since September 11, says Con Coughlin Washington It says much about Britain’s rapidly disappearing ‘special relationship’ with America that when I happened to mention to some of our senior military officers that

Whatever happened to Hillary?

What’s become of Hillary Clinton? At times of international crisis — and boy, do we have a few — it is customary for the American Secretary of State to take centre stage and work the phones until the early hours sorting out the latest threat to global security. Remember the legwork that James Baker put

Iran will not unclench its fist, Mr President

On the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Shah of Iran, Con Coughlin says that Iran’s rulers today are devoted to the same militant objectives that drove Ayatollah Khomeini The heirs to Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution have much to celebrate as they prepare to mark next week’s 30th anniversary of the fall of the

Don’t misunderestimate Bush’s record

Oh, the fun we’ve had. Not since the Reverend William Spooner dumbfounded Oxford undergraduates have we been so entertained by the garbled syntax and grammatical infelicities that have been one of the more diverting features of the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush. ‘Tell me, was it you or your brother that was killed in

Musharraf may now be the last best hope of Pakistan

Forget Iran, forget North Korea, forget the emerging Chinese superpower and forget the resurgent nationalism of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Even before Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Pakistan was the country that arguably posed the greatest challenge to the West’s security. Now it is an even greater challenge. Pakistan is the first Muslim country to have acquired nuclear

The big Russian bear just wants to be loved

Moscow There’s no reason to be afraid. The growl of the Russian bear is worse than its bite. Forget the new generation of ballistic missiles that can punch a gaping hole in Washington’s defensive shield before it’s even been built. Ignore all those creaking Tupolev-95 Bear nuclear bombers testing the response times of the RAF’s