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Comment and opinion

Argument, expertise and debate from around LSE. Authors are expressing their own views, not those of the School. 


Might it be legally possible for the state to punish the dead for crimes committed during their lifetime? Emmanuel Melissaris examines the implications for changing existing laws to give a voice to victims.


Fawaz Gerges  

'The alleged beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig by ISIS is an act of cruelty, but it's also an act of desperation by a terrorist organisation on the run,' writes Fawaz Gerges.



"The opening of the Berlin Wall became the most memorable symbol of the end of the Cold War and the start of a new era."  Waltraud Schelkle recalls the events leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago.

Paul Dolan  

"Think of all the times you have posed for the camera in ways that do not reflect your current feelings." Paul Dolan looks at the challenges of assessing how happy we are.


'Women can do what men can do' has become a popular slogan of gender equality on the Zambian Copperbelt. Alice Evans discusses the growing egalitarianism in the region.


Fawaz Gerges  

Since the sudden appearance of the extremist Sunni Islamic State (IS), the group has seized headlines with a shocking level of blood-letting and cruelty. Fawaz Gerges looks at the Islamic State and asks can its savagery be explained?


"With the right kind of support from the local government, the London tech/info sector is poised to become a major driver of economic growth for the city." Jonathan Liebenau on how to sustain London's high tech and information boom.

Fawaz Gerges  

"What has changed in the last year and a half is that Gaza is now besieged by both Israel and Egypt. The Egyptian siege has been particularly painful... it has left Hamas bleeding to death." Fawaz Gergeson the conflict in Gaza and Egypt's recent hostility to Hamas.

Fawaz Gerges  

"Even if the Iraqi state recaptures the cities seized by ISIS, it would be unable to pacify the population without decentralisation of the decision making and devolution of power to the local level." Fawaz Gerges on the  collapse of security forces in Iraq.

Toby Dodge  

 “…[the] failure to build a sustainable and inclusive political system after regime change in 2003 and the authoritarianism of Maliki explains the rise of Isis."  Toby Dodge argues Iraqis themselves must chart a new course if the state is to survive .

Paul Cheshire  

"...nothing short of radical reform will improve housing affordability. But radical reform, like intelligently loosening restrictions on Greenbelt building, is frightening." Paul Cheshire on  why Britain's housing crisis risks turning into catastrophe.

Fawaz Gerges  

"I have not met a single Iraqi who believes that the elections would signal either a new beginning, a different direction, or inject fresh blood in the veins of the cloaked body politic."  Fawaz Gerges reflects on the ongoing political crisis in Iraq.

Fawaz Gerges  

"Assad could have rescued Syria from further destruction had he postponed the vote and even declined to put himself forward for a third presidential term." Fawaz Gerges analyses the decision to hold elections in Syria during a time of intense conflict.

Sumantra Bose  

"One key driver of escalation in the Balkans in the early 1990s - the contribution of ostensibly 'democratic' processes such as elections to inflaming tensions - also poses a continuing risk as the Ukraine crisis unfolds." Sumantra Bose examines  the lessons from the Balkans nightmare.

Omar McDoom  

"The hundreds of thousands of lives so brutally taken in Rwanda left a mark on the world’s conscience and moved us closer toward making ‘never again’ a credible promise."  Omar McDoom reflects on the legacy of the Rwandan genocide.

Zoltan Acs  

"If you want to understand philanthropy, you need to consume it as a part of American-style capitalism," says Zoltan Acs.

Thomas Grisaffi  

"In contrast to the pre-Morales era,today the coca growers identify strongly with the government’s anti-drug goals and are motivated to actively collaborate in the fight against drug trafficking."   Thomas Grisaffi  argues that media portrayals of modern Bolivia as a narco-state are incorrect.

Lord Stern  

"The record rainfall and storm surges that have brought flooding across the UK are a clear sign that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change", argues Nicholas Stern


A recent study has shown that social mobility between generations in America has remained quite stable over recent decades. For some, these findings refute the connection between inequality and mobility that President Obama and liberal economists have been invoking. But what we know about income mobility depends on how we define it argues Jonathan Hopkin.


The rise of China, India and Brazil has contributed to a rapid transformation of the world's political and economic landscape. Chris Alden explains how global governance is being reshaped.

Fawaz Gerges  

The early hopes and dreams of millions of Syrians of an open, inclusive and pluralistic post-Assad government are now buried in the country’s killing fields. Fawaz Gerges argues that Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war in Syria.

Jean-Paul Faguet  

Over the past 40 years, decentralization – that is, central governments devolving authority and resources to democratically elected sub-national governments – has been taking hold, to varying degrees, all over the world. Jean-Paul Faguet comments on Decentralising the Bolivian way.

Filippo Diogini  

"The intervention marks a publicly-declared stance that widens the gap between Hezbollah and all those Arabs who believed in a freer world in the wake of the 2011 uprisings." Filippo Dionigi comments on the current pressures on Hezbollah, particularly following its intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Sumantra Bose  

Indian Politics: a landscape as colourful and varied as its festivals Sumantra Bose examines how India's politics have been transformed over the past two decades.

Helen Reece  

"Does rape demand special treatment in the eyes of the law?  Helen Reece debunks the myths surrounding rape convictions, arguing that the facts and figures don't show any glaring justice gaps for rape cases. 

Katerina Dalacoura  

"Iran is slowly but perceptibly losing the struggle for power in the Middle East." Katerina Dalacoura argues that Iran's diplomacy is a recognition of its declining influence.



"The excessive amount of money spent on a mega event inevitably sucks up public money to address social needs - and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in Brazil." Hyun Bang Shin explains why the world's attention on Rio in the lead up to the 2014 World Cup may reveal more than its government desires.


"Not having a constitution is problematic as well as peculiar.  The country reels from crisis to crisis." Conor Gearty calls on the public to join the debate and write a new UK constitution.



"The cycle of violence in the lives of children is a major threat not only for children but also to the future of healthy societies." Sandra Jovchelovitch argues why third sector organisations such as Kids Company are vital.


"In addition to bringing down the welfare state, the bedroom tax fosters widespread feelings of resentment." Insa Koch discusses the hidden dangers of means-tested policies such as the bedroom tax.


Thomas Grisaffi  

"All possibilities must be on the table, including the creation of legal, regulated markets for narcotic substances."  Thomas Grisaffi analyses the new approach to drug control being adopted by Latin American leaders. 

Fawaz Gerges  

"The recent bloodletting is the most violent episode in Egyptian modern history and shows an unraveling of its social fabric, a rupture with the past. Professor Fawaz Gerges analyses the clash of identities and unprecedented violence in Egypt.

Fawaz Gerges  

While millions of Mohamed Morsi's opponents continue to celebrate his ousting, they ignore the long term fallout of the army's intervention on Egyptian state and society.  Professor Fawaz Gerges assesses the military intervention in Egypt.


"Do we really need more psychiatrists or psychologists?" argues Catherine Campbell.

Arne Westad  

"China's vice president Xi Jinping won't be able to take on the world" argues Arne Westad. "For all its newfound wealth, China is -- to put it simply -- very badly governed."

Professor Michael Cox  

'The THE World University Rankings do not signal a power shift, but rather show just how far Asia still has to go', argues Michael Cox.

David Kershaw  

'The incentives of senior bank managers are the primary drivers of bank behaviour and strategy. Senior managers in any bank determine the bank’s relationship to risk.' David Kershaw (pictured), Tom Kirchmaier and Edmund Schuster set out how incentives for bank managers should be changed.

Nabila Ramdani  

'In Egypt, women were at the forefront of the Arab spring, but in the new regime their rights are being eroded', argues Nabila Ramdani.

Fawaz Gerges  

'Syria has not yet passed the point of no return but there is a great danger, if the bloodshed continues, that the country will descend into all-out civil strife.' Fawaz Gerges discusses the massacre in Syria.

Anne Power  

'If we'd listened to the lessons of Victorian social reformer Octavia Hill, last year's riots might never have happened', says Anne Power.

Nabila Ramdani  

'At the least, the election provided evidence that Algerians do not see taking to the streets as the solution to their problems, but would rather work through an imperfect political system.' Nabila Ramdani on political reform in Algeria.

Fawaz Gerges  

'Islamist parties are proving to be the main beneficiaries of the Arab world's political transformation. But their very success in the political arena highlights the huge challenges they face in developing and implementing a coherent economic programme', says Fawaz Gerges.

Nabila Ramdani   

'The diminutive 57-year-old looked tired and drawn as, gesticulating wildly in central Paris, he pleaded with voters to give him a second chance. "Frenchwomen, Frenchmen," he shouted. "Help me!"' Nabila Ramdani discusses Nicolas Sarkozy's presidential campaign.

Iain Begg  

'Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis has forced some countries to pare back welfare programs harshly to meet austerity targets, raising a provocative question: Is the Continent’s famed social model doomed?' asks Iain Begg.


' Lebanon is one example of how concern about the mounting civilian death toll in Syria is necessarily tempered by competing exigencies, by local politics and, in some cases, by instincts for survival .' Alia Brahimi on the mixed feelings in Lebanon towards events in Syria.

Nabila Ramdani  

'France's right wing will exploit the young Muslim's apparent confession to create division, but Merah represents no one.' Nabila Ramdani discusses the politics surrounding the gun attacks in Toulouse.

Joe Hoover  

'Many troubling elements of the “Kony 2012″ campaign reflect wider problems with the pursuit of international criminal justice.'  Joe Hoover on why the interests of the victims of the Lords' Resistence Army should be prioritised over those of the international community.

Jason Hickel  

'It's the Walmart strategy applied to sugar — a full-scale "race to the bottom" for cheap labour.' Jason Hickel argues that cheap South African sugar comes at a high human price.

Nabila Ramdani  

'If this kind of scandal happened in other democracies there would have been a loud public outcry. But strict privacy laws and a toothless French press have seen the matter relegated to an increasingly protracted magistrates' enquiry.' Nabila Ramdani discusses the state of French politics following Jacques Chirac's conviction of corruption.

Professor Danny Quah  

'BRICs have robbed the US of its 21st-century unipolar moment, rewritten the rules of East-West global engagement, and reshaped the world’s trade, economic activity, and landscape of poverty.' Danny Quah introduces an essay seeking to grasp the world's new shape.

Professor Michael Cox  

'We live in other words not just in ‘"interesting times", but in quite extraordinary times where few in the West now appear to have much confidence any longer in the notion of the West'. Is there, asks Michael Cox, a new world economic order?

Fawaz Gerges  

'The secular-religious divide is the most fundamental fault line in Egyptian politics, and it is one that threatens the transition from authoritarianism to pluralism.' Fawaz Gerges on the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's elections

Nabila Ramdani  

'The Algerian paradox is that its recent revolutionary history is precisely what has prevented its people profiting from the Arab Spring.' Nabila Ramdani discusses The Algerian Paradox.

Charles Goodhart  

'As protestors occupy Wall Street and financial centres around the world, among the grievances are "socially useless" investment banks. But investment banking is critical to any effective economy, and the idea that policymakers can safeguard retail banking alone is not only tragically mistaken but also horribly dangerous' argues Charles Goodhart.

David Held  

'Events suggest that we may be witnessing a transition of elites rather than a democratic revolution.' David Held and Kristian Coates Ulrichsen revisit the 'Arab 1989'

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen  

'Libya has provided the Gulf Cooperation Council states with a welcome breathing space from the pressures of the Arab Spring,'   Kristian Coates Ulrichsen on how events in Libya have allowed the GCC states to make a high-profile stand again tyranny.

Ranj Alaaldin  

'Against all odds, the Libyan opposition are liberating a nation and overthrowing a  brutal dictatorial regime.' Ranj Alaaldin examines the victorious movement in Libya.

Nicolas Martin  

“The ongoing popular revolts in the Arab world should warn western governments that the hope of creating regional political stability by providing aid to authoritarian regimes is misplaced” . Dr. Nicolas Martin rethinking aid in the context of Pakistan.


"This phone-hacking inquiry must not lose sight of its goal"  says Damian Tambini. "Broadening the parameters of the Leveson inquiry should not detract from a proper investigation into newspaper practices".

Nabila Ramdani  

"Phone hacking may be dominating the headlines, but we should not forget we are still involved in conflict in the Middle East." Nabila Ramdani discusses why Gaddafi's fate is as newsworthy as Murdoch's

Thomas Grisaffi small  

"The 1961 convention should be bought up to date and demonstrate respect for indigenous cultures by abolishing article 49. In short, coca is not cocaine" says Thomas Grisaffi.

Charlie Beckett  

“Brown's Commons assault on News International showed moral fervour, but let's not forget his own cynical use of the media.”Charlie Beckett comments on the issue of the phone hacking: Gordon Brown's speech was impressive – but he is still part of the problem


"the wrong kinds of spending not only undermine fiscal sustainability, but also tend to widen income disparities and set the stage for zero-sum struggles over the resources of the state. Unfortunately, this is what is happening across the Arab world." Dr Steffen Hertog comments on the perils of economic populism in the Mideast.


"...Ayman al-Zawahiri's ascent to al-Qaeda's leader could divert attention from a more sinister strategy." Dr Alia Brahimi discusses the changing face of Al-Qaeda 

Professor Kevin Featherstone  

“… an uncertain, divided and weak country must implement the new austerity measures, undertake parallel institutional reforms and restore its international reputation. No euro zone or E.U. state has faced this kind of challenge in recent memory.” Professor Kevin Featherstone discusses Greece on the edge.

JKL small  

James Ker-Lindsay discusses why the Mladic arrest fails to draw line under Balkans conflict.  

Nabila Ramdani  

'Algeria has let its rioting youth down. Entire generations have grown up surrounded by violence and not equipped with the economic know-how to escape it' says Nabila Ramdani.

Professor Fawaz Gerges  

'Ordinary Arabs feel empowered, on the verge of a new democratic dawn'
Fawaz Gerges discusses the democratic wave sweeping the Arab world.

Dr Gerben Bakker  

'A big wildcard is 3D. It could further boost the burgeoning £900 million British post-production sector, and will undoubtedly further increase admissions. However, the industry is still holding its breath to see whether 3D remains a fad or is here to stay.' The film indusry is endlessly resilient and 3D technology may lead to a new boom says Gerben Bakker.

Professor Fawaz Gerges  

'Rumours of an impending armed clash between Hezbollah and the pro-western governing coalition have spread like wildfire among the Lebanese people, who are hoarding food and arms in anticipation of the worst.'  Fawaz Gerges on the tensions around the UN tribunal investigating the assasination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri

Dr Maung Zarni  

'War is highly profitable, serves the military's interests, and reinforces its self-justificatory perception that its primacy and monopoly control over all aspects of life in Burma are necessary.'  Maung Zarni on why little will change in Burma despite Aung San Suu Kyi's release.

Max Steuer  

'For many of us it seems slightly odd to be told that greater spending is the cure for some of the ills caused by excessive spending in the recent past.' Max Steuer discusses the Deputy Bank of England's comments on encouraging consumer spending  

Asher Ghertner  

'The Commonwealth Games crisis does not signal an absence of planning...instead, it is a symptom of an ad-hoc mode of planning'
Dr Asher Ghertner looks at the failure of 'just in time' planning at the Delhi Commonwealth Games

Fawaz Gerges  

'Pakistan serves its own vital national interests and only cooperates with the West to advance those interests'
Professor Fawaz Gerges discusses whether Pakistan is 'friend' or 'foe'


Andres Drew  

'Emissions trading, for all its failures, has an internal logic that converts foes into friends and can be improved over time'
Andrés Jonathan Drew on what the United States and Australia could learn from Europe's emission trading scheme.

Ulf Axelson  

'the proposed regulation is at best ineffective and at worst will impose significant costs on the European economy'
Dr Ulf Axelson and colleagues on proposed European legislation targeted at private equity and hedge funds

Professor Fawaz Gerges  

'Far from a triumph for democracy, the results threaten to plunge Iraq into a constitutional and leadership vacuum.'
Professor Fawaz Gerges on Iraq's national elections


Mary Kador small  

'The world needs something like the European Union'
Professor Mary Kaldor on the need for remobilisation of popular support for the EU


Dr Kristen Rundle  

'No one considered children like my grandfather to be the bearers of any kind of choice'
Dr Kristen Rundle on Gordon Brown's apology to child migrants

Professor Francesca Klug  

'Human rights are hard to win and easy to lose. They belong to no political parties'
Professor Franesca Klug warns against bartering precious goods for political gain.


'We have 16 separate intelligence agencies. No wonder people aren't connecting the dots.'
Professor Luis Garicano on how the reform of the US car industry could provides some tips for restructuring the US intelligence system.

Robert Wade  

'...regulation failed because of structural changes which made it likely that any system of regulation would fail.'
Professor Robert Wade on why financial regulation failed

Professor Fawaz Gerges  

'What is alarming about the resurgence of this al Qaeda branch is its linkage to Yemen's deepening social and political crises and failing state institutions.'
Professor Fawaz Gerges on Al Qaeda in Yemen

Professor Pamuk  

'A European identity firmly rooted not in one religion but in shared political values will make the EU a much more effective and credible player not only towards the Muslim world but around the globe as well.'
Professor Şevket Pamuk on how the EU would benefit from Turkey's membership

Professor Fawaz Gerges  

'If Obama thinks he will be able to transfer security to an Afghan central authority in two years, he will be in for a rude awakening.'   
Professor Fawaz Gerges comments on US foreign policy in Afghanistan


Professor Nutt should be applauded for stressing that drug policy should be based on a transparent, evidence-based classification of drugs according to their harm. But as debate intensifies, his camp is beginning to exaggerate the role of the science advisor vis-à-vis the policy maker comments Dr Katie Steele on the science-policy divide.

Professor Damian Chalmers  

'We need not accept an EU law if it undermines something that is longstanding and gives meaning and stability to people's lives. Call it "culture", "tradition" or "local way of life". We all know it when we see it. It is what brings us together.'
Professor Damian Chalmers on when not to apply EU law


'You can't revoke your fingerprints'
The Government's identity card scheme will make us more, not less, vulnerable to identity fraud says Dr Edgar Whitley in a short film from the Research channel.