Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years ago

The "Iron Lady" proved her metal

Thatcher didn’t blink in defence of the Falklands 40 years agoOn April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands – the archipelago of islands that constitute a British Overseas Territory in the remote South Atlantic. Although initially shaken by the event, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quickly regained her footing and dispatched a naval task force to rectify the situation. During the weeks it took for…

Attlee and Churchill: bound together in war and peace

Churchill said history would be good to him, as he'd write it himself. But ostentation wasn’t Attlee's style

Attlee and Churchill: bound together in war and peaceFor the longest time, Clement Attlee lived in Winston Churchill’s shadow. Where Churchill was flamboyant, charismatic and eloquent, Attlee was reticent, dull and rhetorically challenged. Churchill was larger than life and Attlee was the little man who seemed to blend into the woodwork. After becoming leader of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party in 1935, Attlee…

Maureen O’Hara, Ireland’s Queen of Technicolor

O’Hara made more than 50 films including the perennial Christmas favourite Miracle on 34th Street

Maureen O’Hara, Ireland’s Queen of TechnicolorWith St. Patrick’s Day upon us, an Irish theme seems appropriate. And a little frivolity wouldn’t go amiss in these troubled times. It’s fair to say that Ireland has generally punched above its weight on the silver screen. Back in the 1930s, Maureen O’Sullivan (from County Roscommon) played Jane in the popular Tarzan film series,…

Saint Patrick and the art of public relations

Separating fact from fiction can be difficult, but St. Patrick definitely won the war for popular historical memory

Saint Patrick and the art of public relationsGrowing up in Dublin in the 1950s, Saint Patrick’s Day wasn’t the big deal that it is now. Oh, the fact that it was a statutory holiday meant that you got a day off school or work, which was never something to be sneezed at. And in addition, if you’d promised to forsake some pleasure…

Understanding Putin’s long view of an expanded Russia

He expresses a vision that reaches back over 1,000 years, to a Russia that was an empire and proud of it

Understanding Putin’s long view of an expanded RussiaLet’s make a stipulation up front: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is unjustified. There’s no ambiguity on that score. Russia is the bad actor in this situation. Still, it’s always useful to understand the other guy. Understanding doesn’t imply approval and insight is never a bad thing to have. Putin is typically described…

Ukraine tragedy exposes some harsh global realities

The unintended consequences of our policy decisions

Ukraine tragedy exposes some harsh global realitiesThe tragedy unfolding in Ukraine brings several immediate thoughts to mind. In a dangerous world, being able to look after yourself is highly advantageous We talk a lot about how war has become obsolete, how a rules-based international order can substitute for a robust defence capability, and how attachment to the nation-state is increasingly passé.…

Fall of Singapore shattered assumptions of British superiority

The shock waves of the defeat extended beyond the physical events

Fall of Singapore shattered assumptions of British superiorityOn Feb. 15, 1942, Singapore – the so-called Gibraltar of the East – fell to a numerically smaller Japanese force. Four days later, the port of Darwin in northern Australia was bombed by over 260 Japanese aircraft. To put it mildly, Allied prospects in the Second World War’s Asia-Pacific Theatre weren’t looking too auspicious. The…

Did John F. Kennedy really win the U.S. presidency?

There was significant anecdotal evidence of election fraud

Did John F. Kennedy really win the U.S. presidency?Theodore White’s The Making of the President 1960 set the tone for subsequent conventional wisdom. John F. Kennedy was the handsome, charming, forward-looking hero. And his opponent, Richard Nixon, was the dour, resentful, unscrupulous villain. White’s many readers would’ve been in little doubt. The prince of light had vanquished the prince of darkness. Now, supported…

Erin O’Toole was a big mistake for the Conservatives

Now the party has a chance to do it over again

Erin O’Toole was a big mistake for the ConservativesThe iffy position of the Conservatives was one of my takeaways from last year’s federal election. Not only had they lost ground electorally, but there was also “an ominous speck on the horizon.” Specifically, the first signs of base alienation were evident. With a five per cent vote share – twice that of the Greens…