Ukraine’s government just faked a journalist’s death. Will it be worth the cost?

KIEV, Ukraine — One of the reasons democracies have responded so ineptly to the flood tide of crass disinformation coming from Russia is that there is no obvious form of counter-strike, no straightforward tit-for-tat response. The Russian president lied about invading Ukraine, for example — the men in uniform crawling all over Crimea were just …

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Ireland’s abortion referendum reminds us that history is never written in stone

I was in Dublin in May 2015, on the day that Ireland held a referendum on same-sex marriage. The “yes” vote — in favor of allowing gays to marry — won resoundingly. That night, I walked through a street party which took over the city center. People spilled out of the pubs, sat on the curbs, …

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Trump’s actions on North Korea have consequences. Here’s a list of them.

It was mocked when it first appeared a few days ago. But now the White House commemorative coin — the one struck to mark the great peace summit between President Trump and “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong Un — will go down in history. Like the famous “ Inverted Jenny ” — a 1918 stamp with …

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Zuckerberg’s visit to Brussels shows European politicians also have no clue about social media

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. But we should still be profoundly disturbed: It has now become clear that our elected representatives, the people whom we send to parliaments and congresses to make laws on our behalf, cannot cope with the profound technological changes that are transforming our political debate. The poor performance of the U.S. Senate, …

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Watch what happens in Rome. It could be our post-Trump future.

The Northern League started out as a secessionist party, advocating the breakup of Italy and independence for the northern provinces. The Five Star Movement started out as a joke — it was invented by a comedian — and then became a social media operation. Both evolved: The Northern League turned itself into a far-right party, …

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Let us hope John McCain’s vision of America long outlasts him

“I have been amusing myself latterly with reading the voluminous letters of Cicero. [T]hey certainly breathe the present effusions of an exalted patriot, while the parricide Caesar is left in odious contrast.” Those words were written by Thomas Jefferson on Dec. 10, 1819, in a letter to John Adams, himself a great Cicero scholar. America’s …

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Trump has put America in the worst of all possible worlds

In retrospect, the era of American hegemony — the moment of the “sole superpower,” when the United States was the “essential” country — was remarkably brief. It began in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, probably peaked just before 9/11, and for the past decade — under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack …

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In Trump’s White House, foreign policy is now made on a whim

Quite a few Europeans woke up Tuesday morning to sunshine (the weather is finally good here) and some cheerful news: The Trump administration would not, in fact, be slapping steel and aluminum tariffs on the continent, and the European Union would not, in fact, be responding with tariffs of its own. Even the night before, …

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People power worked in Armenia. It won’t work everywhere.

“When I saw the masses of East German citizens there, I knew they were in the right.” A quarter-century later, that was how Lt. Col. Harald Jäger explained his decision to open the gates and let his fellow citizens through the Berlin Wall. Jäger was guarding a border checkpoint on Nov. 9, 1989, in the …

People power worked in Armenia. It won’t work everywhere. Read More »

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