Oil, down from its stratospheric highs pre-Crisis, seems unlikely ever to climb there again. Edward Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup, is one of the world’s pre-eminent experts on oil (and a noted skeptic of the stability of those sky-high prices). In this interview from the Octavian Report, he explains the mechanics keeping supplies high and prices low, why he does not see them changing in the medium term (unless there is an open war between Saudi Arabia and Iran), and where opportunity remains to be found.
Germany was in more than a bit of a naval conundrum for World War I. Dreadnoughts had been mass produced on both sides of the trenches but Germany, though a fierce industrial power in Europe, did not have nearly the same level of global access as its rival Great Britain. Yes, the Kaiser had lots of new ships at his disposal. No, he did not have much of a choice about where he would them. It was either send a fleet down into the Baltic — which happened a little bit, to be sure, including the mysteriously titled Battle of Moon Sound — or, instead of wasting time with the crippled Tsar, focus on the real threat to German international prestige and send the German ships into the North Sea for an inevitable battle with Britain.
And so on the this day in history, January 24 1915, the battle of Dogger Bank commenced. If you’re looking for the true battle of grit fought by World War I era battleships, be sure to check out the Battle of Jutland (which, in comparison to the success at Dogger Bank, was a disaster for the British) later on. Because Dogger Bank was not a testament to the expert admiralship of anyone in battle; both navies involved, actually, replaced commanders involved in the battle as a penalty for allegedly showing poor judgment. No, Dogger Bank was about clever British intelligence intercepting the location of a German raiding squadron and making them pay dearly for the opportunity. What followed was a thrilling chase as the Germans attempted a retreat from their superior, better prepared foe. The British temporarily lost their flagship in the aftermath and felt swell about their win but the real lesson would come a little over a year later, when the Germans corrected their mistakes in a brutal way at Jutland.
What’s a war without a dose of post-traumatic confusion? Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End tetralogy embodies in its difficult, fractured prose and structure the fragmentation of life in England during World War I. But war novels are rarely so kaleidoscopic. Expecting an anecdotal condemnation of war à la All Quiet on the Western Front? You’ll find it, just don’t expect it to be as simple here — or to stop at the war. This is actually a collection of four novels, the first one released in 1924, and they follow the life of Christopher Tietjens as he navigates the minefield of his love life, the trenches and, after the armistice, just where exactly to go.
“Higher than the beasts, lower than the angels, stuck in our idiot Eden,” writes Ford. His Modernist garden of delights, however, requires a strong and quick intellect to read and appreciate.
Speaking of being stuck, remember the unprecedented military disaster of Dunkirk? Well, and it was bad for the Allies, but in retrospect it’s astounding how a dictator who manages to conquer Europe so easily misses an opportunity to squeeze out the last of his enemy’s army. The movie may be set in the first and darkest weeks of World War II, but director Christoper Nolan is not afraid to share some light at every moment the evacuation of 340,000 men seems to be mired in insurmountable danger. People may die, but, we have to hope, not in vain. There is not much dialogue in this movie, and that detail plays well for the dark rhythm of the subject matter, but when the great lines, and some great speeches, come into play: that’s when the miracle at Dunkirk really begins. Bonus points for bringing yourself to feel compelled Harry Style’s character for the sake of a — forget the dialogue or political context — a masterpiece of visual storytelling.