Nicholas Wapshott

U.S. power: Waging cold wars without end

By Nicholas Wapshott
June 26, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses troops at Bagram Air Base in Kabul

Suddenly, it seems, the world is at war.

In Iraq, armed and angry militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are at the gates of Baghdad. In Pakistan, government forces are mounting a ferocious campaign against the Taliban in North Waziristan. In Syria, the civil war drags on. These are “hot wars” involving the clashing of troops and weapons. Having escaped such “hot” conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are the sort of war Americans have made it plain they are not prepared to fight.

VA scandal is no mark against big government

By Nicholas Wapshott
June 3, 2014

U.S. military veterans listen in the audience during a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on the Phoenix VA Health Care System wait list, on Capitol Hill in Washington

For some, the veterans hospitals scandal is a human tragedy pure and simple. Those who loyally served their nation in uniform, putting their lives on the line, were shunned when they sought medical help.

Crimea: Too small to matter

By Nicholas Wapshott
April 1, 2014

Crimea is permanently lost to Russia.

That is implicit in President Barack Obama’s remarks about where the Ukraine crisis heads next; the terms of the Paris talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the West’s rejection of military action to hurl back the occupying Russian forces.

On jobs: Be bold, Obama

By Nicholas Wapshott
February 3, 2014

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union was all about jobs. He said the word 23 times, often congratulating himself on having helped create 4 million. He urged a “year of action” to make more jobs, raise wages and create opportunities for social mobility. Then he set out on a jobs tour to persuade large companies to start hiring and pay more.

Message for Clinton: Look before you leap

By Nicholas Wapshott
January 28, 2014

There seems to be a rush to get former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare her run for the presidency.

Hooray for inflation

By Nicholas Wapshott
November 13, 2013

There have been some extraordinary headlines in recent days. Here’s the Economist: “The perils of falling inflation.” Here’s the Financial Times: “The eurozone needs to get inflation up again.”

No, austerity did not work

By Nicholas Wapshott
November 7, 2013

There have been a lot of sighs of relief in Europe lately, where countries like Britain and Spain, long in recession, have finally started to grow. Not by much, nor for long. But such is the political imperative to suggest that all the misery of fiscally tight economic policies was worth the pain that there are tentative claims the worst is now over and, ipso facto, austerity worked.

Obama versus Congress on Guantanamo

By Nicholas Wapshott
May 3, 2013

A young girl holds a picture of Bobby Sands in a republican march to mark the 20th anniversary of the IRA hunger strike at the Maze prison in Northern Ireland May 27. REUTERS/Archive

The real reason Obama wants Hagel

By Nicholas Wapshott
January 8, 2013

You might imagine the president has quite enough trouble on his hands with the looming battle with House Republicans over extending the debt ceiling without opening a second front over the appointment of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. Although a distinguished former Republican senator, Hagel has already attracted venomous opposition from his old colleagues who think, among many other complaints, he is not sound on Israel and has been too critical of American policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama and the lessons of Lincoln

By Nicholas Wapshott
November 20, 2012

You have got to admire Steven Spielberg. He has taken the well-worn story of Abraham Lincoln’s final days and turned it into a pointed piece of contemporary political commentary. When he first met Doris Kearns Goodwin back in 1999, well before she had completed her masterly account of the Lincoln White House, Team of Rivals, it seems Spielberg decided to film an episode in Lincoln’s life that would ring true at the time of release many years later. He chose to concentrate his “Lincoln” movie on a pivotal time in the presidency: the final five months when Lincoln had just been re-elected, when the Civil War was all-but won, and when the fractious House was undecided about whether to fall in with Lincoln’s stated aim of abolishing slavery.