Malise Ruthven

Diminishing Powers

The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East

By

Bloomsbury 236pp £25 order from our bookshop

In the 1997 movie Wag the Dog – cowritten by David Mamet and released just a month before the eruption of the Monica Lewinsky scandal – a Washington spin doctor played by Robert De Niro seeks to distract the public’s attention from a sexual scandal involving the president by inventing a war in Albania. The film opens with an explanatory panel:

Why does the dog wag its tail?
Because the dog is smarter than the tail.
If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : 'Gracefully meditative...a Chatterton-esque literary discovery of old, albeit with references to Bob Geldof and Alk… ,
    • Still time to win tickets to Lady Windermere's Fan at the Vaudeville Theatre in London. To enter simply email marke… ,
    • In need of last minute christmas gifts for children? Philip Womack reviews the latest children's books from Jessica… ,
    • "An artist had to be a chemist – and he had to have a strong stomach. He would have known, writes Jelley, 'the usef… ,
    • Good spelling, us! ,
    • This Christmas, why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions… ,
    • Philip Henscher on Thom Gunn's 'Selected Poems' ,