The Atlantic Column

Venezuela Is the Eerie Endgame of Modern Politics

Venezuela Is the Eerie Endgame of Modern Politics

Last month, Juan Guaidó appeared in Washington in the role of political totem. Venezuela’s main opposition leader—the man who is recognized by that country’s National Assembly, millions of his fellow citizens, and several dozen foreign countries as the rightful president of Venezuela—was one of the special guests at the State of the Union address. President …

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Reagan ED REINKE / AP

This Is How Reaganism and Thatcherism End

This article was updated at 10:17 ET on February 10, 2020 In an Italian hotel ballroom of spectacular opulence—on red velvet chairs, beneath glittering crystal chandeliers and a stained-glass ceiling—the conservative movement that once inspired people across Europe, built bridges across the Iron Curtain and helped to win the Cold War came, finally, to an …

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Brexit Reveals a Whole New Set of Political Wounds

FRANCISCO SECO / AP IMAGES One evening last week, I found myself dining in the House of Lords just as the “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill”—the law that will finalize Brexit—was wending its way through the final stages of the British legislative process. When I arrived, the debate was paused; at suppertime, formally speaking, the …

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The Disturbing Campaign Against Poland’s Judges

The Disturbing Campaign Against Poland’s Judges

Anek Skarzynski / AFP / Getty Last summer, a very unusual scandal unfolded in Poland—or rather, a very ordinary scandal, but with some unusual protagonists. A journalist at a Polish news website, Onet.pl, exposed the existence of an organized online trolling campaign designed to discredit public figures. An everyday occurrence, of course. Except that this …

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Putin - PETER ANDREWS / REUTERS

Putin’s Big Lie

In the opening scene of the most famous Polish movie of the past two decades, a crowd of anxious, desperate people—on foot, riding bikes, leading horses, carrying bundles—walks onto a bridge. To their immense surprise, they see another group of anxious, desperate people heading toward them, walking from the opposite direction. “People, what are you …

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A Warning From Europe- The Worst Is Yet to Come

A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come

Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well. Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series that attempts to answer the question: Is democracy dying? On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one …

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SIMON PRADES Illustration

Understanding Stalin

Russian archives reveal that he was no madman, but a very smart and implacably rational ideologue. Stalin: Volume 1: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 BY PENGUIN STEPHEN KOTKIN How did Stalin become Stalin? Or, to put it more precisely: How did Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili—the grandson of serfs, the son of a washerwoman and a semiliterate cobbler—become Generalissimo Stalin, …

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