Dear Jeff

I have been watching President Trump’s speeches on TV from here in Lake Placid. It is fair to say crisis communication is not an area of strength for the President who seems bored by the whole process. More locally New York state has directed restaurants to operate at only 50% capacity, which seems like a sensible innovation and easy to impliment as they are almost empty!

In UK, Boris and his team of scientists are doing well on TV. He appears with scientists who take the difficult questions, recite numbers with conviction and wear those heavy rimmed spectacles…


On 22 January 1879 at Isandlwana some 20,000 Zulus armed with stabbing spears and some old rifles killed 1300 British soldiers armed with the most modern weapons of the time. The military campaign to invade Zululand went temporarily into reverse and Victorian Britain’s confidence was shaken. Power is partly about perception and the fear in London was that defeats like Isandlwana would encourage others and lead to costly efforts to secure the empire.

Colonel Anthony Durnford RE, quickly emerged as a promising scapegoat for the defeat. He had an indifferent reputation as a fighting soldier, had acted unwisely on the…


The United States’ relative global power is reducing just as the United Kingdom’s was 100 years ago. Modern wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are worth comparing to Zulu Wars of 1879. In both cases there was a near identical collective failure to integrate easily available local knowledge into a coherent strategy. Both wars were fought with new military technologies whose effect was only partially understood. History is worth the effort! At some point all great powers decline and the reason is nearly always the same. Their monopoly on power leads to an appetite for empire which in turn leads them…

Simon Sole

Former intelligence analyst, founder entrepreneur now historian/film maker. Analyst not an advocate. Degrees from Cambridge and University of Baluchistan.

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