‘Other wannabe Putins await to sow death and destruction’
Your digest of analysis from the British and international press
Allister Heath in The Telegraph
World War Three is far more likely than anyone is prepared to admit
on global tensions
“We have been remarkably lucky so far,” writes Allister Heath in The Telegraph. “Human beings invented nuclear weapons 77 years ago, but haven’t used them to slaughter each other since Nagasaki” in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War. “With good fortune comes hubris and complacency: the chances of another major global conflict – and, at worst, another world war – are much higher than we realise, and are continuing to increase”, said Heath. “The fact that Russia has performed so poorly on the Ukrainian battlefield is good news, but should not lull us into a false sense of security.” With the post-1945 consensus now “withered”, our world “is becoming more, rather than less, dangerous: there are plenty of other wannabe Putins, and they are better equipped to sow death and destruction”.
James Marriott in The Times
Why success in life is the art of the possible
on the power of imagination
“While still in college, Joe Biden started producing a detailed plan for his future presidential campaign,” writes James Marriott in The Times. Similarly, a nine-year-old Barack Obama, while at school in Indonesia, “wrote in an essay that he intended to become president”, he continues. When we discuss success, “we rightly invoke drive, work ethic and wealth. But too rarely mentioned is imagination”, Marriott writes. “Perhaps it sounds wishy-washy. But a crucial determinant of success is your sense of the possible.” There are “many brilliant adult men and women” who might have reasonable grounds to aspire to the heights as a young Obama, “but who will never try because the idea seems preposterous”. Of course, success often requires “money, contacts, intelligence or the nepotistic intervention of powerful relatives”, he continues. “But without those advantages, imagination is not useless.”
Cathy Newman in The Independent
Eight years ago, I investigated sexism in Westminster – what has changed?
on MPs and sleaze
“How little has changed”, writes Cathy Newman for the Independent, since she investigated a culture of harassment in Westminster in 2014. After a male Conservative MP was reportedly seen watching porn in the House of Commons by two of his colleagues, it seems that “sexual misconduct is so much part of the political fabric it’s still sitting very comfortably on the famous green benches”, she continues. “Westminster is awash with alcohol, egos and driven, ambitious people. These are not conditions conducive to a respectful environment. All the more reason, then, that complaints are processed expeditiously and perpetrators dealt with firmly,” said Newman.
Matt Gross in the New York Times
Your kids can handle dangerous ideas
on parental guidance
When it comes to raising children these days, it seems that “parents – or at least the parents who seem to win media attention – are freaking out over everything their kids see, read and do,” writes Matt Gross for The New York Times. The Disney Pixar movie Turning Red was criticised by some parents for promoting “bad values” and a portrayal of puberty and metaphorical menstruation that some found “too mature for an impressionable audience”. For other parents, “any discussion of L.G.B.T.Q. issues is the boogeyman”. When it comes to these hawkish parents, “I understand the desire to coax your children to think and live as you do. I mean, who wants his or her progeny to reject wholesale the values, tastes and beliefs they’ve been brought up in?” writes Gross. However, “to me, the more hands-off approach is also the more realistic one”, he continues. “It acknowledges that our children are, in some basic sense, beyond our control: not precious innocents to be culturally cocooned, but thinking, feeling, increasingly independent human beings who are busy making up their own minds.”
John Thornhill in the Financial Times
Robots in rockets outperform ‘spam in a can’ astronauts
on redundancies in space
“Technology transforms jobs, rarely does it eliminate them,” writes John Thornhill in the Financial Times. “But there are exceptions: lamplighters, elevator attendants and telegraph operators have all but disappeared. Astronauts might soon be added to that list, according to two space experts,” he continues. That’s because “robots are capable of exploring the universe more speedily, cheaply and safely than ‘spam in a can’ (as early astronauts called themselves).” While writing astronauts “out of the space exploration script would be painful”, it is true that the costs of sending humans into space are “astronomical” and “beyond boosting the world’s feelgood factor, astronauts do not do much that robots could not now do better”. And while some argue “that turning Homo sapiens into a multi-planetary species is a sensible insurance against a mass extinction event on planet Earth”, there is an “even stronger argument for ensuring we preserve our miraculous home rather than trying to terraform a planet B”.