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It’s the Greek politics, stupid

June 23rd, 2015

Default, bankruptcy, Grexit, crash: If you feel you’ve read before that these things were about to happen in Greece, that’s because you have. Every debate about Greece’s financial crisis deteriorates rapidly into a discussion of deadlines: repayments, refinancings, meetings of the International Monetary Fund or the European Central Bank. Until now, these deadlines have always resulted in further delay. Another one is coming on June 30. That’s when Greece owes another $1.7 billion it doesn’t have. Read on »

America’s foreign policy recovery

June 12th, 2015


Several times lately — often enough for it to have become a distinct pattern — I’ve found myself part of a heated discussion, somewhere in Europe. Maybe it’s at a dinner or a conference; maybe the topic is Russia, Libya or the economic crisis in Greece. But at some point, someone looks up in wonder. “Isn’t it odd: We haven’t mentioned the United States once!” Yes, everyone agrees, it’s odd! And then the subject changes again. Read on »

The end of Britain as we know it

May 10th, 2015


This election will be remembered as the one that rescued the career of David Cameron, the British prime minister, who was publicly contemplating his own exit from politics only two months ago. It will also be remembered as the election that abruptly ended the career of the Labor Party leader, Ed Miliband, who had confidently carved his electoral promises onto a large piece of limestone only last week. Above all, it will be remembered as the election that every single major pollster got wrong: All the dire talk of hung parliaments, minority coalitions and the intervention, even, of the queen has vanished with the emergence of a solid Conservative majority. But long after these various dramas are forgotten, it might also be remembered as the election that marked the beginning of the end of Great Britain, at least in the form that we now know it. Read on »

How Libya continues to flummox Europe

April 30th, 2015

When I was in Libya a couple of years ago, I met a man who was on a European Union mission. If memory serves, he was writing a report on the Libyan media for an E.U. institution, or perhaps an E.U.-funded one. In any case, he was walking around Tripoli, earnestly conducting interviews and holding meetings at the union’s expense. Read on »

FBI director got it wrong on the Holocaust

April 19th, 2015

The Polish ambassador to Washington has protested, the Polish president has protested, the speaker of the Polish parliament (to whom I am married) has protested — and the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw has apologized profusely. Why? Because James Comey, the director of the FBI, in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself. Read on »

When it comes to politics, the U.S. and Britain could learn from each other

April 16th, 2015


Every once in a while, it’s worth pausing to ponder the relative merits of different kinds of democracy. Just consider: This week, Hillary Clinton published a two-minute video and launched what will be a grueling 18-month campaign. Also this week, the main British political parties published their longish, wonkish election manifestos and launched the final three weeks of a general-election campaign that began three weeks ago. Read on »

How to make the world’s madmen think twice

April 2nd, 2015

One friend of mine laughs when he remembers the nuclear “drills” of his childhood, which involved crouching under the desks in his school classroom. Another friend has a vivid memory of a lesson featuring photographs of mushroom clouds. On older buildings in some U.S. cities, one can still see faded yellow-and-black “fallout shelter” signs. Nowadays they look almost quaint, adding character to a street the way an old-fashioned gas lamp would. Read on »

The case for quitting e-mail

March 20th, 2015

There were a number of odd things about the Hillary Clinton e-mail debate, but to me this was the oddest: the widespread conviction that the secretary of state’s communications — personal or otherwise — would have been “safe” in the hands of the State Department. If we have learned nothing else over the past several years, surely it is that the U.S. government, while still devoted in principle to classifying a ludicrous amount of data, is in practice very, very bad at keeping secrets. Read on »

Britain retreats

March 6th, 2015


Red double-decker buses still cruise up and down the Strand, the guards stand up straight in front of Buckingham Palace and the queen rides her horse-drawn carriage to the opening session of Parliament every year. But beneath this seemingly immutable surface, Britain is changing with surprising speed. Read on »

The risks of putting Germany front and center in Europe’s crises

February 20th, 2015

It’s either an extraordinary coincidence or an act of fate. Over the past 10 days, two unusually dangerous crises have come to a head in Europe. One concerns Greece, where an unresolved economic disaster could lead to a European and even an international financial crash. The other concerns Ukraine, where a Russian invasion could lead to a European and even an international war. They are very different but in one sense similar: Both hang on the decisions and diplomacy of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Read on »

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