Red Rockets Over the Horizon

By James A. Chisem

In 1938, Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov had been identified as an enemy of the Soviet state. According to the powers that be, he was a Trotskyite plotter who had conspired with other missile designers and technicians to overthrow socialism and derail the Russian path to progress. Of course, Sergey Pavolvich was not a spy, nor a traitor—he was the victim of a world in which truth and fiction were as…

Mr Livingstone, I Presume?

By James A. Chisem

This week should have been plain sailing for the British Labour Party. Granted, nobody’s expecting Kezia Dugdale and company to halt the seemingly inexorable march of the SNP in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, nor does it look like there’ll be any sweeping gains in Local Council elections, but the Welsh cohort is on course to maintain its majority in the Senedd, and expectations are so low in general that anything bar a complete catastrophe at next week’s polls will likely be spun as a qualified success—a competent steadying of the ship, if you will. There’s even…

Nationalism and Unionism in Scotland (1945-1985)

By Peter Wilson

In 1913 a Liberal MP stood before the House of Commons and advocated a change in the political relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. He was knowingly echoing another Liberal MP from nearly 20 years before, who had wished for Scottish Home Rule “while retaining intact the power and supremacy of the Imperial Parliament.”[1] In 1976 Malcolm Rifkind called for “a better deal for Scottish people within the United Kingdom.”[2] Nearly a century had passed, and the wish was for the same thing: a recognition of Scottish political autonomy within the existing framework of the United Kingdom. Yet between 1955 and 1985…

Can the Security Dilemma Explain Actual Conflicts?

By James A. Chisem

The concept of the security dilemma describes how it is possible, given the “existential uncertainty” which the condition of international anarchy produces amongst states, for violent conflict to arise between two or more actors even when neither has malign intentions towards the other.[1] Although the idea appears in text as far back as the fifth century BCE in the writings of the Greek intellectual Thucydides, the term only entered the academic lexicon after John Herz concretised it in his 1950 treatise ‘Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma’.[2] In the decades since then…