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If May embraces Trump, her ‘global Britain’ is doomed

January 26th, 2017

LONDON

Everybody else was talking about economics. But all through the Brexit referendum campaign and in the months after the vote, I worried about British geopolitics. I worried about Britain’s alliances. I worried that the protracted divorce negotiations between Britain and its closest economic and political partners would create misunderstandings and eventually anger — and indeed, this is already coming to pass. Read on »


Trump’s dark promise to return to a mythical past

January 20th, 2017

A green lawn, a white picket fence, a shining sun. Small children walk home from school; their mother, clad in an apron, waves to greet them. Father comes home in the evening from his well-paid job, the same one he has had all of his life. He greets the neighbors cheerfully — they are all men and women who look and talk like he does — and sits down to watch the 6 o’clock news while his wife makes dinner. The sun sets. Everyone sleeps well, knowing that the next day will bring no surprises. Read on »


Stop obsessing over ‘secrets’ about Trump and Russia. What we already know is bad enough.

January 13th, 2017

We now have not one but two “secret” dossiers on the Russian campaign to support Donald Trump. One of them is an unverified and probably unverifiable 35-page collection of rumors and gossip put together by a former British spy. Dumped on the Internet by BuzzFeed, the report is filled with small mistakes and some puzzles (for instance: how could salacious Russian “ kompromat ,” or compromising material, be used to blackmail someone as shameless as Trump?) and mixes the plausible with the implausible without giving real answers. Read on »


An existential moment for the Euro-American alliance

January 5th, 2017

“We are following a foreign policy which is the outward expression of the democratic faith we profess. We are doing what we can to encourage free states and free peoples throughout the world, to aid the suffering and afflicted in foreign lands, and to strengthen democratic nations against aggression.”

— Harry S. Truman, State of the Union, 1949

Since President Truman spoke those words nearly 70 years ago, every successive U.S. president has, consciously or otherwise, taken them to heart. The ideas that the United States should “strengthen democratic nations against aggression” and maintain a network of “free states and free peoples” around the world led to the creation of powerful alliances in Asia, as well as a whole host of transatlantic and European institutions that have kept Europe safe, free, prosperous and allied with the United States: the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, the Council of Europe, the European Union. Some of these institutions came with costs for the United States, but because they are the bedrock of American power in the world — because America’s allies promote American values and its interests around the world — no U.S. administration in seven decades has ever sought to undermine them. Read on »


Illiberal democracy comes to Poland

December 22nd, 2016

WARSAW — “Illiberal democracy” is an unfortunate term that exists because it’s hard to think of a better one. Many dislike the phrase, on the grounds that a leader who violates the rules of democracy should not be called “democratic” at all, but something else — perhaps “dictatorial.” Read on »


I was a victim of a Russian smear campaign. I understand the power of fake news.

December 20th, 2016

We were told in June that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked by Russians. We were told in October that material subsequently passed on to WikiLeaks came from the same source. Numerous articles were written about these leaks and about Donald Trump’s many Russian connections. And yet no one was really outraged until now. Why? I have a theory: Until you have seen for yourself how 21st-century disinformation works, you laugh at the very idea of it. Once you have understood its power, you stop laughing. Read on »


Russia’s next election operation: Germany

December 12th, 2016

In the murky world of intelligence, it isn’t that often that anyone has crystal clear, absolutely certain, 100 percent guaranteed advance knowledge of a forthcoming operation. But in Europe right now, there is one prediction that everyone is happy to make: In 2017, the Russian government will mount an open campaign to sway the German elections. Read on »


What ‘cheese pizza’ means to the Internet’s conspiracy-mongers

December 9th, 2016

In the past few days, there have been many excellent accounts of the armed man who showed up at Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, and the various con artists and purveyors of fake news who inspired him to believe he would discover a secret group of pedophiles in its nonexistent basement. But one detail, supplied by a 16-year-old of my acquaintance, has been missing from many of the “mainstream” articles: the fact that, in some of the weirder Internet forums this particular teenager frequents, “cheese pizza” — a phrase used in one of John Podesta’s leaked emails — was assumed to be code for “child pornography.” Read on »


Britain has no idea what to do next, and that’s dangerous

December 1st, 2016

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does government. If no one knows what to do, if there is chaos and indecision, then the person with the clearest vision — for good or for ill — wins the argument. That’s the lesson of the Russian Revolution, of Weimar Germany, and, without meaning to overdramatize — we are not talking about events on that scale — that’s also the lesson of Brexit Britain. Read on »


A hope that Castro’s death allows Cubans to finally confront their tragic past

November 26th, 2016

Thanksgiving weekend brought my geographically scattered family together for a few days, and we decided to spend one of them at the 9/11 museum in New York. Our group contained several generations and a range of opinions. But as we walked through the exhibits, the most notable divide was between the adults who remembered that strange day in excruciating detail, and the children who did not remember it at all. Read on »


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