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Russia’s Caribbean Farce

“Nyet! Nyet!” That’s what a Russian bodyguard told a McClatchy news reporter when the latter asked for comment on an incident aboard the Admiral Chabanenko, a Russian destroyer that carried President Dmitry Medvedev to Venezuela last week.

The Obama Advantage: How race was his ace in the hole

Way back in January, soon after Barack Obama won an improbable victory in the Iowa caucuses, I wrote an article arguing that—despite the conventional wisdom and the snide “white Americans will never vote for a black man” comments from my European friends—it was not a disadvantage to be a black presidential candidate. On the contrary, …

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The Spectre of Spielberg

Which would you rather read, The Great Gatsby or F. Scott Fitzgerald’s day-by-day account of the whisky he drank and the cigarettes he smoked while writing it? La Comédie humaine or a list of the cups of coffee Balzac downed, between midnight and sunrise, while putting all of those words down on paper?

Verschläft Europa seine Chance?

“Das ist die Stunde Europas.” Als ein durchaus vergessenswerter luxemburgischer Außenminister diese Worte 1992 sprach, schienen sie große Dinge anzukündigen: Nach dem Ende des Kalten Kriegs würden die Europäer, nicht die Amerikaner den Bosnien-Konflikt und vielleicht so manches andere lösen.

An Election Goes Abroad

“Odd.” That’s what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when told of Barack Obama’s plan to deliver a major campaign speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, right where the Berlin Wall used to be

Nationalism Gets Its Kicks

Myself, I was rooting for Spain in the finals: The Spanish economy is in the doldrums at the moment, and I thought a win might cheer up the Spaniards — which it did, judging by Sunday’s post-victory all-night street party.

No Job for Mr. Nice Guy

Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but in the past few days, I’ve felt overwhelmed by a tsunami of commentary, all of which purports to prove the fundamental nastiness of Barack Obama or, alternatively, the deep unlikability of John McCain. You thought our presidential candidates were nice guys, regular guys, guys with whom you’d like to …

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Pity the Poor Eurocrats

Pretty much for as long as I’ve been paying attention to these things, Europe has been “in crisis” or “in chaos” or “in despair” because one or another European country failed to ratify yet another European treaty. Invariably, something cataclysmically important was at stake, such as the creation of a European currency.

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