Vladimir Putin’s ruthless control of the Kremlin looks set to be tested, writes Anne Applebaum.
This week, Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, said he might stand for re-election in 2012. A day later, Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, said he might oppose him. In any other European country, this would be run-of-the-mill political news. In Russia, where politics remain opaque and democracy is manipulated, it’s a sensation: open competition between two national leaders would be unprecedented. Continue reading “Is Dmitry Medvedev ready to stand up to Vladimir Putin’?”
Freedom fries,’ served instead of French fries back in 2003, are no longer on the menu in Washington DC. French wine, out of fashion after Jacques Chirac refused to join our ‘coalition of the willing’ in Iraq, is no longer shunned. Au contraire. Continue reading “The New Alliance”
Libya: Gaddafi is about to force Barack Obama’s hand
Barack Obama is about to learn a lesson – the US president can’t be neutral, writes Anne Applebaum.
Is it cowardice? Is it indecisiveness? Or is it clever diplomacy? Depending on who you ask in Washington, you’ll get a different explanation for President Barack Obama’s silence, to date, on the subject of Libya. Since the uprising began, he has made only one extended comment on the Libyan rebellion, and it was thoroughly anodyne. Continue reading “Libya: Gaddafi is about to force Barack Obama’s hand”
For the first time in a long while, not only is there news from the Arab world, there are arresting pictures as well. Revolutions make for exciting live broadcasting, and some of it has been riveting. Continue reading “The revolution may be televised – but don’t expect the full story”
For a man who earns his living by publishing other people’s email, Julian Assange has a high opinion of himself. You can hear that in his rhetoric, which combines the paranoia of the early Bolsheviks with the arrogance of a teenage computer hacker. Continue reading “The Sensational Truth”
In lower Manhattan last weekend, an internet evangelist named Bill Keller held a meeting in a makeshift church, not far from what used to be the World Trade Center. He called upon the gathered faithful to help him in his great task: The construction of a “9/11 Christian Centre at Ground Zero”, a counterweight to the Islamic cultural centre which is being planned in the same part of town, and which has been the central topic of an angry and unfocused national conversation all summer.
Continue reading “Why Islam is now America’s burning issue”
This has been the strangest political campaign anyone can remember, and no one, from any political faction in Poland, will be sorry to see it end.
The campaign has been strange because of its timing: under normal circumstances, no one would hold an election on what is, in effect, the first weekend of summer vacation. Nor would anyone hold an election just a few weeks after heavy rains caused major flooding throughout the country.
Continue reading “Polish presidential election: a welcome end to a strange campaign”
By the time I met Ryszard Kaczorowski, he was an elegant, elderly man, with no air of tragedy or trauma about him. Yet at the age of 21, he had been arrested by the Soviet secret police – this was 1940, in Soviet-occupied Bialystok – and sent to Kolyma, one of the worst camps of the Gulag. Continue reading “Polish plane crash: country has shown resilience since President Kaczynski’s death”
A friend emailed Tuesday morning from New York: “In tears already and it hasn’t begun.” Another wrote me that her husband, horrified by reports of crowds in Washington, was “afraid there will be a stampede or something awful”.
Which summed it up, really: the levels of emotion built up in advance of the 2009 presidential inauguration ceremony were so high that some wept, some fainted, and some were paralysed by fear. Continue reading “President Barack Obama reaches out to all nations with vow to ‘remake America’”
Not long ago, a European professor who often lectures in the US reminisced to me about how American students have changed. when he visited Harvard and Yale in the 1960s, he told me, the students were all alike: white, male, East Coast. By the 1980s, however, they included blacks, Asians and women. Even the white males were often from Alabama or West Texas. Continue reading “Barack Obama Taps into the Ivy League For His Cabinet”