JDB paper on Arab Spring published by the Global Policy Institute

I am pleased to report that the respected Global Policy Institute has published my piece on the ongoing developments in the Middle East and North Africa entitled, “The United States and the Arab Spring: In a Policy Void, Events Become Philosophical Hostages.”

As the title suggests, the piece examines the role of the  United States in the evolving situation and questions the philosophical impact that Obama has had on the chain of events in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. It suggests that the president has a little over a year to put his stamp on foreign affairs before someone else gets the chance to do so.

Take a read at http://www.gpilondon.com/index.php?id=315


JDB on London’s LBC 97.3 fm Tonight at 21:20 GMT

I will be returning to the airwaves for the second time today to be in discussion with Kevin Maguire, sitting in for Iain Dale on LBC 97.3 fm.

Not surprisingly perhaps I will be addressing the international reaction to the events that have transpired in Libya, and the expected American reaction in particular. With allegations of having ‘led from behind’ how will the White House react now that the ‘Mad Dog’ has been overthrown?

Given the historic role that the United States has played with regard to Libya what will the direction of policy be under the new regime? Will President Obama seek to exploit this event in the presidential election of 2012, coupled with his administration’s success in killing Osama bin Laden?

What will the reaction be of the European powers who were at the forefront of efforts to remove Gaddafi from power? Where will this leave the relationships between Cameron and Hague, between Downing Street and the FCO? And spare a thought for Liam Fox, forced to resign before a potential hour of glory.

These issues and more will be addressed in what will no doubt be a fascinating interview. Tune in online at: http://www.lbc.co.uk/listen-live-3578

Of Ambassadors and the enforcement of Free Speech

So I’m here in southern California and I can’t lie, it’s fabulous. The weather is perfect. This morning was almost too perfect. I drove down from a meeting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, former residence of the witch-finder general, Judge Kenneth Starr, taking in the fantastic views from the Pacific Coast Highway, through LA, Santa Monica, Long Beach and other such places that I had long heard off from one classic rock track or another, but never gave much thought to ever driving through…

So I arrived in Irvine about an hour south of LA. I’m here for the International Studies Association regional conference addressing security issues. I’m delving a paper in the morning on the development of the UK national security council and the parallel rise of the transatlantic body set up by Obama and Cameron in the summer.

This evening I was invited to a reception with former US Ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, something I anticipated very much. I was expected an evening of fascinating personal insight drawn from his career in the service of his country overseas in some of the most vital postings available.

Disappointed doesn’t cover it…

Instead of what could have been an erudite performance, we were treated to a bland, colourless and limp discourse on the state of the world today. No attempt was made to address his own insight, based on his experiences or engagements with the great and the good, or with the truly rotten.

The real low point however, came when he stated that the situation in Iraq was essentially the fault of, guess who, the British, since we had created the ethnic conditions that allowed for Saddam to be in power! How easy it is to have the Brits to kick whenever necessary. How easy it is to forget America’s own woeful tale in Iraq, or their sending of Donald Rumsfeld as President Reagan’s emissary in the early 1980s, or the curious case of arming both sides when circumstances suited in the eight year Iran/Iraq War. Shocking doesn’t come close to covering it!

To compound matters the ambassador was late arriving, not realising apparently that traffic in LA tends to get somewhat congested in rush hour. One wonders how long he has been in his diplomatic bubble?

Late,bland, boring. Other than that it was a great experience!

Needless to say the sycophants were running around congratulating him on a magnificent job. The tell-tale sign was the mass exodus of students from the well guarded auditorium. That’s right, the auditorium was being patrolled by a uniformed member of university security, looking for all the world like a police officer. I cannot confirm whether he was armed with a firearm not. The students left, deciding that they had less important things to do, leaving us under the watchful glare of the failed police officer, there apparently to ensure freedom of speech! Past experiences had apparently led to protests that had prevented speakers from talking, thereby denying them their first amendment rights.

Can you see the contradiction here? We have apparently reached a point whereby security is being employed on university campuses to ensure the enforcement of first amendment rights for invited guests, whilst denying them to attendees. Does this strike anyone as odd?

Land of the free and the home of the brave.


JDB and LBC 97.3 FM TODAY at 13.00 GMT

For the fifth time in August I will be returning to the London airwaves TODAY at 1.00 to address the continuing fallout from the release of Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. With the disintegration of the Libyan regime of Colonel Gaddafi, calls are being heard for al-Megrahi to be returned to incarceration. Last Saturday the Scottish government defended its decision to release the convicted terrorist on compassionate grounds. Is this likely, feasible or even desirable?

I will be discussing this with host Petrie Hoskin in what will no doubt be an interesting conversation that touches upon concepts of international law and justice, and which will probably involve discussion of the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher. With the curtain finally descending on the Gaddafi regime, is justice finally possible for following this notorious crime?

You can listen live at http://ukrp.musicradio.com/lbc973/live

JDB and The Global Freedom Report TONIGHT

Following my ongoing work with Sky News, the BBC, LBC and Aljazeera English, I will be making a return to the American airwaves tonight.

At the kind invitation of the producers, I will be  appearing on a radio discussion panel to address the international role of the United States. I will be joined by Prof. John Mathiason of Syracuse University and by Jason Ditz of antiwar.com. The panel will be chaired by Brent Johnson, host of the Global Freedom Report on Friday, August 26 at 22.oo London time.

I anticipate a spirited and fascinating discussion of the issues at hand and the manner in which they are perceived domestically and internationally.

Focus will no doubt be on the implementation of foreign policy by President Obama compared to George W. Bush, the Special Relationship with the UK, actions in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, the degree to which the United States should be engaged in the world and how all of this will impact the forthcoming presidential election.

Click here to access the show live on the internet.

JDB on LBC Radio with Ken Livingstone this Weekend

Following my busy week of appearances on Sky News, LBC and the BBC, I will be returning to the airwaves once more this weekend.

I will be discussing the status of the United States of America with former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, on LBC 97.3 FM  at 11.00 on Saturday
August 6.

foreign and domestic policy is likely to be addressed, with issues of debt , tea parties and the special relationship with David Cameron also on the cards.

The conversation will no doubt turn to the forthcoming presidential election and the future of President Obama, whose birthday is today!

You can listen live at http://ukrp.musicradio.com/lbc973/live

JDB at the TSA

I am delighted to announce that I will be addressing the Transatlantic Studies Association’s annual conference in Dundee next week.

I will be joining a panel to discuss  Transatlantic Relations, Diplomacy, Statecraft and Culture in the Second World War.

My discussion will focus on the problematic relationship between Winston S. Churchill and Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the future American president. It will consider concepts of personality, geopolitics and the foreign policy implications of the ‘not so’ special relationship between the two men. It will also consider the vital role of isolationism in US foreign policy at this time.

This will be the first in a series of papers to be produced that will form the basis for my new research project on the development of the relationship between the Kennedy family and the Churchills from 1938-1968.  The project will address the Ambassador’s posting to London, his dealings with Chamberlain, his mis-reading of Churchill and his fall from grace. It will also consider the influence that his time in London had on the young John F. Kennedy and the degree to which his career was influenced by Churchill, leading to his decision as president, to appoint the former PM with honorary American citizenship.

The conference itinerary can be found at: