Robert Skidelsky
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Articles from Prospect Magazine

Essay: The Just War Tradition
Robert Skidelsky
Prospect | Wednesday, December 01, 2004

 
In recent years there has been a revival of war as a policy of choice. Since the collapse of communism, the US and its allies have attacked Iraq (twice), Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. With "hot war" released from its cold war constraints, it is important to consider the conditions under which resort to war is justifiable, and what methods of fighting wars are right. This is the domain of "just war" theory. There is also the related issue of how just war doctrine may be fruitfully applied by the UN, the main custodian of international law.
 
The return of war as a policy of choice overturns the post-second world war assumption, enshrined in the UN charter, which allowed only wars of self-defence and proscribed intervention in the domestic

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Essay: A Patient Politician, on Gordon Brown
Robert Skidelsky
Prospect | Friday, October 01, 2004

 
What did Gordon Brown think of the Iraq war? "We stand full-square with the American government and people in fighting terrorism and will continue to do so," he declared in 2001. But his support for the prime minister's Iraq policy was scanty. According to Anthony Seldon, Brown had "serious misgivings." Had he made his disagreement public, Blair would have fallen. But Brown would not necessarily have inherited the throne, which may explain why he kept quiet.
 
Brown's stance on Iraq - both the disquiet he felt and his unwillingness to strike - is important for judging the kind of prime minister he would make. It is in foreign policy that strong modern prime ministers make their mark. After a while, they usually find world issues more

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Essay: The American Contract
Robert Skidelsky
Prospect | Tuesday, July 01, 2003

 
The system of international relations we have known since the second world war has broken down. The reasons given for the Anglo-American attack on Iraq were largely fraudulent. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction turned out to be weapons of mass distraction. It is straining at a gnat to argue that UN security council resolution 678, passed in 1990, made legal an invasion undertaken in 2003. However, it is also true that the Iraqis will be far better off without Saddam Hussein; and there is a chance that the middle east will be reshaped for the better. The main problem in international relations is to define the scope of lawful and acceptable military interventions in today's world.
 
The traditional theory of international relations, based

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Debate: Is Regime Change in Iraq Necessary? Bobbitt vs. Skidelsky
Philip Bobbitt and Robert Skidelsky
Prospect | Saturday, February 01, 2003

 
Dear Robert
 
8th January 2003
 
In 1991, in order to enforce UN security council resolution 678, which called for the expulsion of Iraq from Kuwait, coalition forces invaded Iraq. After an initial bombardment and battle, no effective opposition lay between them and Baghdad. But for reasons that seemed persuasive at the time, the advance was halted and a ceasefire agreed. This armistice was incorporated in UNSCR 687, requiring Iraq to "unconditionally accept" the removal, destruction and rendering harmless of all weapons of mass destruction and any launchers with a range greater than 150 km, and not to seek to develop or acquire such weapons in the future. Other UN resolutions ordered Iraq to return all prisoners of war and Kuwaiti

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Essay: Five Years Labour
Robert Skidelsky
Prospect | Wednesday, May 01, 2002

 
Everyone expected Labour to win in 1997, though not by such a large margin. An identically big victory in 2001, pointing to three or even four consecutive terms of office, suggests that a watershed has occurred in British politics, with Labour poised to take command of the 21st century as the Conservatives did of the 20th. But after five years in power, New Labour remains an elusive political force.
 
It is true but trite to say that Labour has benefited from a feeble opposition; true, because under Hague the Conservatives were deeply unpopular and under Iain Duncan Smith have remained marginal; trite, because Labour has presented the opposition with few large targets or made the mistakes which normally bring governments to grief. The

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