The Black Hole at the Heart of NATO

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Tents, generators, and portable toilets had transformed an old police barracks on the outskirts of a Polish village. Inside the tents, men speaking different languages sat on folding chairs at long tables, typing on military-grade laptops. A map of Europe’s Baltic coast was projected onto a large screen above them. Continue reading “The Black Hole at the Heart of NATO”

Regulate social media now. The future of democracy is at stake.

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

A few days ago, ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom, discovered that a tool it was using to track political advertising on Facebook had been quietly disabled — by Facebook. The browser extension had detected political ad campaigns and gathered details on the ads’ target audiences. Facebook also tracks political ad campaigns, but sometimes it fails to detect them. For the past year, the company had accepted corrections from ProPublica — until one day it decided it didn’t want them anymore. It also seems like “they don’t wish for there to be information about the targeting of political advertising,” an editor at ProPublica told me. Continue reading “Regulate social media now. The future of democracy is at stake.”

Venezuela is how ‘illiberal democracy’ ends

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

For absolute proof that the ideological language of the 20th century is insufficient to describe the political realities of the 21st century, look no further than the international alliances that have formed around Venezuela. In the past few days, Venezuela has functioned as a kind of a Rorschach test, a black blob upon which many people want to project their own political views. Continue reading “Venezuela is how ‘illiberal democracy’ ends”

A crisis of conservatism creates gridlock on both sides of the Atlantic

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

In the capital cities of the two great anglophone powers, public business has ground to a halt. On one side of the Atlantic, federal workers are lining up to receive free food while the president holds the government to ransom. On the other side, the House of Commons, a legislative body that likes to call itself the “mother of parliaments,” is completely frozen by its inability to legislate. The government cannot pass the Brexit deal it has negotiated. The opposition cannot unseat the government. Continue reading “A crisis of conservatism creates gridlock on both sides of the Atlantic”

In the wake of a political murder, the hate campaign continues

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

On the day after the murder of Jo Cox in 2016, stunned politicians on both sides of the Brexit referendum campaign fell silent. Cox was a member of the British parliament who favored remaining inside the European Union and campaigned about Syria; her assassin was both mentally ill and an extremist who scoured the Internet for white supremacist material. He shouted “Britain first” as he shot and stabbed her. Feelings were riding high, the referendum debate had been emotional, and everyone agreed, in honor of Cox, to stop campaigning for three days. Continue reading “In the wake of a political murder, the hate campaign continues”

The anti-Europeans have a plan for crippling the European Union

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

In theory, the European Union’s parliamentary elections are the most international in the world. The winners serve in a multinational legislature. They speak to one another with the help of hundreds of translators. They are members of transnational parties: In the parliament buildings in Brussels and Strasbourg, center-left MEPs from across Europe sit with the Party of European Socialists, center-right MEPs caucus with the European People’s Party, and so on. Continue reading “The anti-Europeans have a plan for crippling the European Union”

The Trump-Putin revelations tell us what we knew all along

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

The brain of Homo sapiens has a fatal attraction to secrets. What we see before our eyes is never sufficient; we want to know what lies behind it, what explains it, what’s the deeper meaning. The compulsion to get beneath the surface of things lies at the heart of what makes some people scholars or scientists. It’s also at the heart of what makes some people conspiracy theorists. More to the point, it explains why so many are excited by recent “revelations” about President Trump and his relationship with Vladimir Putin, even though they are telling us nothing new. Continue reading “The Trump-Putin revelations tell us what we knew all along”

Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

On Sept 10, 2001, I published a column about Belarus, the former Soviet republic squeezed between Russia and Europe. It described how the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko was stealing elections, keeping tight control over the media and the economy, harassing political opponents and occasionally murdering them. Lukashenko, I wrote, was Europe’s longest-standing dictator. Yet only a few months earlier, President George W. Bush had given a rousing speech on the need for Europe, whole and free. “No more Yaltas,” he had said — meaning no more agreements like the one Roosevelt and Stalin signed in 1945, dividing Europe in half. Belarus loomed large as an obstacle blocking that dream.

Continue reading “Why the world should be paying attention to Putin’s plans for Belarus”

The lure of chaos is leading Britain straight into the abyss

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum
  • LONDON

In the weeks leading up to the declaration of war in 1914, the British were supremely confident. “It will be over by Christmas” said the optimists; pessimists reckoned the war might last two whole years. Almost nobody predicted the trenches, the destruction of farms and fields, the loss of an entire generation of young men in the battles that eventually became known as World War I. Continue reading “The lure of chaos is leading Britain straight into the abyss”