As the great research ship Chikyu left Shimizu in January to mine the explosive ice beneath the Philippine Sea, chances are good that not one of the scientists aboard realized they might be closing the door on Winston Churchill’s world. Their lack of knowledge is unsurprising; beyond the ranks of petroleum-industry historians, Churchill’s outsize role in the history of energy is insufficiently appreciated.
In a few weeks’ time, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Saudi Arabia with an avowed objective of fostering the cordial relationship between the two countries. That is exactly where the relationship has always been — cordial and businesslike without cultivating strategic opportunities. The relationship between the two countries has been dominated by trade except for Japanese oil involvement in the neutral zone, which the Japanese mercantilist tendencies prevented from using as a springboard for a broader economic relationship with the Kingdom.
Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady“, was a towering figure in British 20th century politics, a grocer‘s daughter with a steely resolve who was loved and loathed in equal measure as she crushed the unions and privatized large swathes of industry.
She died on Monday, aged 87, after suffering a stroke. During her life in politics some worshipped her as a modernizer who transformed the country, others bitterly accused her of entrenching the divide between the rich and the poor.
Suddenly India is being wooed again. In the space of a few days, both François Hollande and David Cameron have turned up on its doorstep with palms outstretched in the search for business contracts. It will have come as a soothing balm to an Indian government facing increasing disillusion at home and growing cynicism on the part of investors abroad.
THE prime minister, Najib Razak, fancies himself as the Tony Blair of Malaysian politics. Like the former British prime minister, Mr Najib purports to be a progressive reformer, on a mission to “modernise” his country. The British-educated Mr Najib also likes to pay as much attention to the spin on his policies as to their substance. He even hires former Blair advisers to make sure he gets it right.