Gideon Rachman

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Gideon Rachman at the Annual Meeting 2012 of the World Economic Forum at the congress centre in Davos, Switzerland, January 2012

Gideon Rachman (born 1963) is a British journalist. He became the chief foreign affairs commentator of the Financial Times in July 2006.

Life and career[edit]

He read History at Gonville & Caius College, gaining a first class honours degree from Cambridge University in 1984. He began his career with the BBC World Service in 1984. From 1988 to 1990, he was a reporter for The Sunday Correspondent, based in Washington DC.

He spent 15 years at The Economist; first as its deputy American editor, then as its South-east Asia correspondent from a base in Bangkok. He then served as The Economist's Asia editor before taking on the post of Britain editor from 1997 to 2000, following which he was posted in Brussels where he penned the Charlemagne European-affairs column.

At The Financial Times, Rachman writes on international politics, with a particular stress on American foreign policy, the European Union and globalisation.

Gideon Rachman maintains a blog on the FT.com site. His brother is Tom Rachman, the author of the novel The Imperfectionists. Their sister Emily died of breast cancer in 2012.[1]

Views[edit]

Rachman is noted for advocating a looser, non-federal European Union. In 2002, he staged a debate in Prospect magazine with Nick Clegg, who was then an MEP for the East Midlands. Clegg argued strongly that Britain should join the European single currency. Rachman disagreed, writing, "I believe the political changes involved in joining the Euro carry enormous risks. I do not believe it is 'progressive' or 'self-confident' to take those risks."[2] More recently, Rachman has argued in the FT that the EU must take a flexible and open approach to the political demands of their member states or face failure. [3] After the 2016 referendum, he stated not believing in the UK leaving the European Union.[4]

Rachman’s calls for flexibility extend beyond Europe. He has a strong interest in East Asia and the rise of China, and has repeatedly[5][6] warned that inflexibility on the part of both China and the USA may lead to conflict.

Rachman twice endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency, although he has also argued that the president is vastly over-rated as a public speaker.[citation needed] He has also been sceptical of the case for intervention in Syria.[citation needed]

Books[edit]

In 2010, Rachman published his first book, Zero-Sum World, in the UK. It was published under the title Zero-Sum Future in the US and translated into seven languages, including Chinese, German and Korean. The book was part history and part prediction. It argued that the thirty years from 1978–2008 had been shaped by a shared embrace of globalisation by the world's major powers that had created a "win-win world", leading to greater peace and prosperity. Rachman predicted that the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 would lead to a zero-sum world, characterised by increasing tensions between the world's major powers. He stressed rising tensions between the US and China, and political disarray inside the European Union. The New York Times praised the book as "perhaps the best one-volume account now available of the huge post-Communist spread of personal freedom and economic prosperity."[7]

Awards[edit]

Rachman was named foreign commentator of the year in Britain's comment awards in 2010. He has been short-listed twice for the Orwell Prize for Political Journalism in 2014 and 2016. The Observer has also listed him as one of Britain's 300 leading intellectuals. He has been a visiting fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (1988–89) and at the Nobel Institute in Oslo (2013).

Controversies[edit]

In December 2008, Rachman published a controversial column in the Financial Times online entitled, "And now for a world government"[8] which radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones among others have cited as proof of an elitist plot to establish global governance.

While at Gonville and Caius, he was a friend of future MI6 renegade agent Richard Tomlinson, whom he provided with a reference for his Kennedy Scholarship application.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How I mourned my sister through the books she left behind". Washington Post. 27 May 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Nick Clegg: Is joining the euro still too big a risk for Britain?, Prospect (January 20, 2002). Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  3. ^ "If Europe cannot bend it will break". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  4. ^ Rachman, Gideon (27 June 2016). "I do not believe that Brexit will happen". Financial Times. 
  5. ^ "China is sailing into a sea of troubles". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  6. ^ "The ideas that divide China and America". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Diminished Expectations, by Scott Malcolmson, New York Times, January 28th, 2011. (review of Zero-Sum Future)
  8. ^ Rachman, Gideon (8 December 2008). "And now for a world government". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 August 2011. [dead link]
  9. ^ Gideon Rachman (February 14, 2008). "My friend, the renegade spy". Financial Times.