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Magic Mead and Hamburgers- A Comparison Between Feasting in Anglo-Saxon England and in Donald Trump’s White House

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It has happened to us all. Whilst getting ready for a dinner party, you go to the cupboard to grab the drinks/nibbles/party hats. However, “shock-horror”, you don’t have them in. This crisis recently faced Donald “god has it really only been two years” Trump. 

Yesterday Trump hosted the Clemson Tigers, the winners of the national college football championship, for dinner. However, due to the US government shutdown the White House is currently lacking catering staff. Not wanting to let the American Football players go hungry, the Donald came up with an idea. Rather than going into the kitchen himself, he ordered them 300 burgers, alongside pizzas and chips. That’s right. The US president has taken ideas on governance from the ‘Steamed Hams’ scene in the Simpsons (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4lnZr022M8).





Though Trump seemed very proud of his creativity, which ultimately amounted to getting in a takeaway, the use of unorthodox methods to ensure that the attendees at a feast don’t go h…

Donald Trump, Edward the Confessor and 'Telephone Diplomacy'

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History is littered with great rivals: Ali V Frazier, Rommel V Montgomery, the ‘Compare the Market Meerkat’ and the ‘Go Compare Singer’. This week we saw the re-emergence of another one on the international stage. Now correct me if I am wrong, but Donald Trump strikes me as a man with several enemies. However, on Tuesday his greatest foe once again appeared in the oval office: the telephone.



If you haven’t seen the painfully awkward phone call Trump had with the Mexican President on Tuesday, I thoroughly recommend watching it now (Link here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2018/aug/28/enrique-hello-trumps-awkward-phone-call-with-mexican-president-video). To summarise, Trump attempted to call President Enrique Pena Nieto in order to discuss their new trade deal. However, things quickly went south. In a scene reminiscent of The Thick of It, Trump began speaking on the phone only to discover Nieto wasn’t on the line at all. After a few awkward minutes waiting, one of Trump’s aid…

Rwanda 2018: changing a reputation with summitry diplomacy

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Last month, 44 state leaders met in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign a free trade agreement that might revolutionise world trade. 






Don’t worry Nige, Britain was not involved. Rather, the 44 leaders were all African. Africa has a serious problem with trade, as only 10% of the continent’s commerce is ‘Intra-African’. However, by creating the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) the African Union will bring together 1.2 billion consumers in a tariff free market.

Whilst things didn’t go perfectly, as Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, refused to sign, there seems to be a mood of optimism surrounding the deal. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union’s chair person, said it represents ‘a glorious challenge … which calls for the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to achieve’. There’s hope the CFTA will pave the way for a customs union, a single currency and freedom of movement. 




However, what intrigues me about the CFTA is where it was signed: Rwanda. The small central African cou…

Victimhood, Polish Identity and #GermanDeathCamps

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(Disclaimer- This post is not about the history of the Holocaust, but the relationship between modern Polish identity and victimhood. If you would like to read about the Holocaust then plenty of smarter people than me have provided you with a wealth of literature)
Recently I was binge watching cat videos on YouTube when a particularly advert caught my attention. Usually I do my best to ignore YouTube ads, but this one stood out. Probably because, in contrast to the usual array of adverts for music and bullshit I get targeted with, this one was about the Holocaust.

Today, we are still on the side of truth video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrkQ20SjHoU


If you haven’t seen the Today, we are still on the side of truth video I’ll quickly summarise. Created by The Institute of National Remembrance, a Polish government institution, the video provides a montage of the Holocaust. However, it invites us to see the Holocaust as not a genocide against just the Jews, but rather ‘Jews and Poles …

Pandas and Magic Cups: Comparing modern Chinese and twelfth century English diplomacy

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Pandas, famous for their lacklustre love-making and poor wrestling careers, have more often been the subject of hilarious internet videos than discussions of international relations. However, over the last 50 years these bears having been living a double life: sometimes looking cute for the cameras, and at other times influencing the geo-political landscape.


Since 1965, when the Chinese leader Mao Zedong sent Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev a panda as a present (I suppose because iTunes vouchers hadn’t been invented yet?), pandas have held an important position in China’s foreign policy.



In recent years, China has sent pandas to countries it has established new trade relations with. For example, in 2011 China was looking for a new trade partner to import salmon from after Norway, their previous supplier, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. They turned their eyes to Scotland and negotiated a contract worth £2.6 billion which saw them receive salmon and land r…