The surprising power of peace

An illustration of stacked cards
©Luis Grañena

‘In the current conflict, nobody seems eager to kill. Not even John McCain proposes American military intervention’

Zlatan Ibrahimović
©Roberto Frankenberg

Paris Saint-Germain: the billion-euro team

How a Qatari state investment company bought one of Europe’s most troubled football clubs and transformed it into a global sensation

Sarajevo today. A museum marks the scene of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie
©Paul Lowe

Sarajevo: the crossroads of history

On a street corner here 100 years ago, a 19-year-old Serb nationalist shot the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne and triggered the first world war. The assassin, Gavrilo Princip, is still a potent and divisive symbol

Illustration by Luis Grañena of an ex-leader
©Luis Grañena

Another outbreak of Blair Disease

‘Most ex-leaders link up with the plutocratic class while still in office. These people have been planning their careers since kindergarten’

Illustration by Luis Grañena of the arch on Dublin's St Stephen's Green
©Luis Grañena

Respect the past, change the present

‘Catholic Ireland and Britain weren’t always adversaries. Rethinking the first world war has probably helped bring peace to Northern Ireland’

Illustration by Luis Grañena of the Obamas and group of Americans saluting the US flag
©Luis Grañena

How to save the US

‘The solution to America’s problems is obvious – it should model itself on its military...’

Illustration by Luis Grañena of a man pushing a globe up step by step
©Luis Grañena

‘Muddling through’ is the new politics

‘Politicians can improve the world but only bit by bit. Try something small, that’s easily reversed. If it works, scale it up. If not, you drop it’

Illustration by Luis Grañena of mixer tap
©Luis Grañena

How to save the UK

‘Plonking the government in central Glasgow, where life expectancy is the lowest in the UK, could transform British social policy’

Illustration by Luis Grañena of a person combining work and parenting
©Luis Grañena

What are we working for?

‘Both men and women now want to combine work with raising kids. That means nobody can stay in the office all hours’

Proposals for France illustration
©Luis Grañena

How to save France

‘As a Briton married to an American, I know about national decline. The key is to embrace it’

Sports events: Faded glory

Russia is learning that playing host is a dubious honour and requires new tactics

Skating on thin ice

‘This love of the native landscape can be entirely innocent. Often, though, it segues into anti-immigrant feeling’

The economist’s guide to the future

‘In 100 years, the world’s poorest people may live like today’s middle-class Americans’

How to handle Ronaldo – and other secrets

The manager of Real Madrid talks about handling the pressure, the players and the demanding billionaire owners

Peace in our time

‘They’d have stopped the first world war fast if soldiers had live-tweeted the carnage’

Football’s new superheroes

‘Today’s great footballers are incomparably fitter than their predecessors. But their perfection goes beyond the physical’

The squabble for Holland’s soul

‘Blacks, Jews and asylum-seekers have all taken a kicking lately. But anti-racists have grown louder too’

The soulmate revolution

‘2013 was the year when most western societies sanctified the equal relationship’

What Mandela taught us

‘Arguably a saint, he was definitely a politician who understood power’

An everyday taste of happiness

‘The fastest-growing demographic category from Britain to China today is ‘cheese bores’’

ABOUT SIMON

Simon KuperSimon Kuper joined the Financial Times in 1994. He ended up writing the daily currencies column and was driven out by tedium in 1998. He returned in 2002 as a sports columnist and has been there ever since, occasionally allowed out of his sports box to write about books, the Netherlands or other subjects.

Simon was born in Uganda and grew up in London, the Netherlands, the US, Sweden and Jamaica. He studied at Oxford, Harvard and the Technische Universität of West Berlin. His first book, Football Against the Enemy (1994), set him on a path of writing about sport with an anthropologist’s eye. His column in the FT tries to place sport and sportsmen within a country, a time, a society, while also being about sport itself.

E-mail simon.kuper@ft.com

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