Stop helping demagogues change the subject

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

In Manila, the traffic is so bad that it isn’t worth driving anywhere during the day, because a couple of miles will take a couple of hours. In other parts of the Philippines, only a third of children ever finish primary school. Nevertheless, the loudest political debate in the Philippines, over the past two years, was not about public transportation or public education. Continue reading “Stop helping demagogues change the subject”

In Poland, another blow to the Catholic Church

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

Sometimes works of art – books, plays, movies, songs – can change a culture. But sometimes, they epitomize how a culture has changed. Forty years ago, in October 1978, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was named Pope John Paul II, galvanizing a wave of Catholic and secular activism in Poland that helped bring down a totalitarian regime. But now it’s October 2018. Record numbers of Poles are flocking to see a searing, painful film that condemns the Polish Catholic Church as corrupt and hypocritical. Continue reading “In Poland, another blow to the Catholic Church”

Saudi Arabia’s information war to bury news of Jamal Khashoggi

  • By
  • Anne Applebaum

For the past several days, the Saudi Twittersphere has been awash with patriotism. Saudi accounts have tweeted, in Arabic, a “#message of love for Mohammed bin Salman” and encouraged one another to “#unfollow enemies of the nation.” The latter hashtag started trending at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, peaked at about 5 p.m., and by Wednesday had been mentioned 103,000 times.

Continue reading “Saudi Arabia’s information war to bury news of Jamal Khashoggi”

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.”