This is why so many journalists are at risk today

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Twelve years ago this month, Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist whose reporting came too close to the truth about Russia’s war in Chechnya, was gunned down in the elevator of her Moscow apartment block. One year ago this month, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a journalist whose reporting came too close to the truth about corruption in Malta, was murdered by a car bomb next to her house in Bidnija. Seven months ago, Jan Kuciak, a journalist whose reporting came to close to the truth about the mafia’s role in Slovak business, was murdered in his home outside Bratislava. Continue reading “This is why so many journalists are at risk today”

It’s official: Americans are living under the rule of a minority

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Now that the predictable result has been achieved, it’s worth taking a moment to think about the longer-term impact of the bizarre, emotional events of the past two weeks in Washington. Reasonable people can still disagree about what happened in a house in suburban Maryland in the summer of 1982; reasonable people can even disagree about whether now, more than three decades later, those events should matter. But reasonable people cannot disagree about the political orientation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. In his testimony, he revealed himself to be an extreme partisan, a Republican Party activist and a man at least willing to bend the truth in public. Continue reading “It’s official: Americans are living under the rule of a minority”

Russian hackers were caught in the act — and the results are devastating

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Dutch authorities have photographs of four Russian military intelligence (GRU) operatives arriving at the Amsterdam airport last April, escorted by a member of the Russian embassy. They have copies of the men’s passports — two of them with serial numbers one digit apart. Because they caught them, red-handed, inside a car parked beside the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague — the GRU team was trying to hack into the OPCW WiFi system — Dutch authorities also confiscated multiple phones, antennae and laptop computers. Continue reading “Russian hackers were caught in the act — and the results are devastating”

Trump’s new NAFTA is pretty much the same as the old one — but at what cost?

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

More than once, Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement “the worst trade deal ever made.” At other times, he has referred to NAFTA as a “bad joke.” As recently as Sept. 1, he claimed the whole thing was unnecessary: “We were far better off before NAFTA — should never have been signed,” he tweeted. Continue reading “Trump’s new NAFTA is pretty much the same as the old one — but at what cost?”

Trump’s U.N. speech was funny. His worldview is even funnier.

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Odd juxtapositions, absurd contrasts — these are the stuff of humor. People sometimes laugh, nervously, when someone states something that is both true and unacceptable. People sometimes laugh, uproariously, when someone states something that is both false and exaggerated. “In less than two years,” said President Trump at the U.N. General Assembly, “my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” And, no, those who chuckled in response were not laughing “with” the president. Continue reading “Trump’s U.N. speech was funny. His worldview is even funnier.”

Putin’s war is transforming Ukraine

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum
  • LVIV, UKRAINE

When they first arrived in Lviv, a university rector told me, the students who came from Donetsk walked around in packs, speaking loudly in Russian. They didn’t want to speak Ukrainian, as most inhabitants of this city do; they didn’t want to integrate. Lviv is in western Ukraine, near the Polish border. Donetsk, hundreds of miles to the east, has been occupied by Russian-backed “separatists” since the Russian invasion in 2014. The new students were “internally displaced persons” — refugees in their own country. Continue reading “Putin’s war is transforming Ukraine”

Europe needs to start planning for a future with no U.S.

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

After many weeks of claiming, dishonestly, that European allies “owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back” — in fact, Europeans spend far more money on European defense than does the United States — and after referring to NATO members as “delinquent” and worse, President Trump appears to have handed America’s European allies an ultimatum Thursday: Pay up, spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on the military, do it fast — or the United States will pull out. We can “go it alone,” he told them, by some accounts. Continue reading “Europe needs to start planning for a future with no U.S.”

Brexit turned out to be harder than they thought — so the Brexiteers are quitting

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

In the United States, a country where Cabinet members now resign with great regularity, the departures of David Davis, the British cabinet minister responsible for Britain leaving the European Union, and Boris Johnson, the shaggy-haired foreign secretary, may not seem like much of a story. Theresa May, the prime minister, for the first time in two years set out some concrete proposals for Britain’s future relationship with its most important trading partners. Davis and Johnson didn’t like them. One quit just before midnight Sunday; the other quit Monday afternoon. So what? Continue reading “Brexit turned out to be harder than they thought — so the Brexiteers are quitting”

Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin. So what do we get back?

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

“We really believed in our hearts that this was the dawn of the new day we had all been praying for,” Harry Hopkins told his biographer. “We were absolutely certain that we had won the first great victory of peace.” Hopkins, one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most important advisers, was not the only one present to have considered the Yalta Conference in February 1945 a great success. In his book on Yalta, the Harvard scholar Serhii Plokhy points out that everybody in the U.S. and British delegations, from gloomy George Kennan to cautious Winston Churchill, was pleased with the result. Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union seemed to have settled their differences, sketched out their spheres of influence and agreed that after the German capitulation, the liberated countries of Europe should all be democracies. Continue reading “Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin. So what do we get back?”

Greece offers a glimpse of life after populism

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum
  • Athens

There was a moment, at the height of the Greek debt crisis in July 2015, when many Athenians went to sleep expecting to wake up in a different country. One Greek academic told me he feared Greece would crash out of the euro currency overnight, that there would be no money in the banks in the morning, that there would be food shortages and then riots: “Greece is a middle-class country,” he told me. “I didn’t think we would be able to cope with the shock.” Several others told me that they had genuinely expected the arrival of a Venezuelan-style dictatorship, perhaps with tanks on the street. Continue reading “Greece offers a glimpse of life after populism”