, “Meet your new father”

February 12, 2007

Turkmenistan’s presidential election changes little

“ONE problem with dictators is that whatever earthly powers they wield they cannot live forever. And though they spare few thoughts for preparing a successor, another autocrat is often waiting in the wings. Turkmenistan’s former president, Saparmurat Niyazov, who died at the end of last year, ran his country in a manner rivalled only by Kim Jong Il in North Korea for dotty megalomania. Few will mourn the passing of the “father of the Turkmen”, but it is far from clear that brighter times lie ahead, “Puzzling over Iran”

February 5, 2007

Fears that the West may stumble towards another messy military confrontation in the Middle East

“There is no sign that Iran’s regime is tottering. Nor is Mr Bush’s administration wavering in its preference for confronting Iran. Any conflict could, at the least, further inflame troubles inside Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, while driving up oil prices. It would also worsen relations between Muslims and the rest of the world. And though it may not be imminent, it is becoming easier to imagine, “Remember Pat Buchanan”

February 4, 2007

Why so many are running for president in 2008

“The burning question is why the no-hopers even try. It is customary to note that a southern governor—Mr Clinton—emerged from obscurity to do all right for himself in 1992. But even in the past 15 years politics has shifted further towards those with the money to spend. Campaigns are increasingly expensive. Al Gore spent $48m to become the 2000 Democratic nominee. John Kerry spent $235m four years later. Such records are likely to fall next year. And campaign dollars flow heavily towards those who establish themselves as front-runners