Radicalism kills. Why do we only care about one kind?

It begins with humor. The alt-right’s jokes, a teenage friend assures me, are genuinely funny: They ridicule the pomposities of “mainstream” culture, laugh at political correctness and create ridiculous memes mocking everything, including themselves. And once you’ve laughed at the jokes, there is a whole amusing, darkly ironic, alternative world out there, only a couple …

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Brexit has devastated Britain’s international reputation — and respect for its democracy

In Madrid last week, a senior politician told me that he was watching the Brexit crisis with growing astonishment. “England, the mother of parliaments,” he said, shaking his head. “We’ve looked up to them for so long.” Meanwhile an Italian friend who arrived in London on a delayed train — French customs officers are having …

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Forget Hanoi. Trump has already done irreparable damage to America’s reputation.

Yes, the details were engrossing. The photograph of the empty lunch table where President Trump and Kim Jong Un were supposed to celebrate the deal they never signed. The menu of the meal that they did consume: grilled steak with pear kimchi and hot chocolate lava cake, surely the worst of two cultures combined. The …

Forget Hanoi. Trump has already done irreparable damage to America’s reputation. Read More »

Is this the end of political parties?

George Washington thought they were “potent engines” easily abused by “cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men.” The English poet Alexander Pope thought they manipulated “the madness of the many, for the gain of a few.” Neither man was unusual: Plenty of political thinkers in the 18th century — the era that gave birth to modern democracy in …

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An off-key Pence sings from the Trump hymnal to a stony European reception

Even inside a hotel so secure that it has body scanners at the entrance and snipers on the roof, Vice President Pence travels with a vast security detail. Its main function, it seems, is to elbow people out of the way so that the vice president and his unsmiling wife can walk through a lobby, …

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‘Never again?’ It’s already happening.

Because I write books about Soviet history, and because I often speak about them to U.S. or European audiences, I am frequently forced to confront the problem of Western indifference. Why, I am asked over and over, did British diplomats who knew about the man-made Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 do nothing to stop it? The …

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It’s not xenophobia that links the ‘new populists.’ It’s hypocrisy.

In recent months, academics, columnists and analysts have spilled gallons of ink analyzing the so-called “populists” who are winning elections, or coming close to winning them, in so many countries. Mea culpa: I, too, have sought to explain why so many people are suddenly using xenophobic language, attacking “elites” and heaping scorn on international institutions …

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The new censors won’t delete your words — they’ll drown them out

Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth. Each day, the hero of George Orwell’s “1984” “corrects” old newspapers to make sure that the information is in still accord with the current Party line. After rewriting history, he puts each “incorrect” story into a “memory hole” — a slit in the wall — and it …

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The Black Hole at the Heart of NATO

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.

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

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 …

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

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