An existential moment for the Euro-American alliance

“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. Continue reading “An existential moment for the Euro-American alliance”

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

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. Continue reading “I was a victim of a Russian smear campaign. I understand the power of fake news.”

Russia’s next election operation: Germany

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. Continue reading “Russia’s next election operation: Germany”

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

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.” Continue reading “What ‘cheese pizza’ means to the Internet’s conspiracy-mongers”

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

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. Continue reading “Britain has no idea what to do next, and that’s dangerous”

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

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. Continue reading “A hope that Castro’s death allows Cubans to finally confront their tragic past”

Can Michael Flynn overhaul NATO?

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”

– Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, April 4, 1949

Throughout the more than 60 years of its existence, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has only once invoked Article 5, the provision that calls for the signatories to defend one another – follow the proper consultations – if attacked. Only once. Continue reading “Can Michael Flynn overhaul NATO?”

Is America still the leader of the free world?

  • LONDON

For the United States and for Europe, the moment of reckoning has now arrived: The West as we know it is nearing the end of its life. The United States of America has just elected as president a man who not only brags about groping women and swindles his business partners but also openly dislikes America’s traditional allies — and Europeans most of all. Continue reading “Is America still the leader of the free world?”