Trump Is Turning America Into the ‘Shithole Country’ He Fears

Trump Is Turning America into the ‘Shithole Country’ He Fears

There is a lot of learned material written about nationalism—scholarly books and papers, histories of it, theories of it—but most of us understand that nationalism, at its heart, at its very deepest roots, is about a feeling of superiority: We are better than you. Our country is better than your country. Or even—and apologies, but …

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The Voice of America Will Sound Like Trump

The Voice of America Will Sound Like Trump

Of all the myriad Washington bureaucrats, diplomats, congressional staffers, and politicians who spend their time thinking about U.S.-China policy, probably no one has actually triggered the Chinese more than Libby Liu. For 14 years, Liu was the president of Radio Free Asia, an independent but congressionally funded broadcaster that transmits news and information in Mandarin, …

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Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story

Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story

Like most Americans, I am nowhere near any violence right now. Nevertheless, I am hearing and seeing violence on a series of screens: television screens, smartphone screens, computer screens. Even in a room as quiet as mine—outside the window I can see grass and trees—the cacophony is almost unbearable. It’s as if different choruses are …

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History Will Judge the Complicit

History Will Judge the Complicit

On a cold March afternoon in 1949, Wolfgang Leonhard slipped out of the East German Communist Party Secretariat, hurried home, packed what few warm clothes he could fit into a small briefcase, and then walked to a telephone box to call his mother. “My article will be finished this evening,” he told her. That was …

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A Study in Leadership

A Study in Leadership

One knows, of course, that Donald Trump behaves differently from the leaders of other countries, especially the leaders of other Western democracies. One knows that he disdains facts; that he does not read briefing papers; that he has no organizational talents; that he does not know how to make use of militaries, bureaucracies, or diplomatic …

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NICK LEVENESQUE Picture

This Time, Americans Are Doing Nothing

It looks, at first, like one of a zillion unfunny video clips that now circulate on the internet: “Once Upon a Virus” features cheap animation, cheesy music, and sarcastic dialogue between China—represented by a Lego terra-cotta warrior with a low, masculine voice—and the United States, represented by a Lego Statue of Liberty with a high, …

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In Hungary the Coronavirus Is Just an Excuse

In Hungary, the Coronavirus Is Just an Excuse

Viktor Orbán is the prime minister of Hungary. He has been in power since 2010. During that time, he has underinvested in hospitals. Instead, public money has gone to pet projects, many of them related to the sports he enjoys. In his home village, Felcsút, the government built an elaborate soccer stadium with a heated …

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when-disease-comes-rulers-grab-more-power

When Disease Comes, Rulers Grab More Power

On March 13—Friday the 13th, as it happened—my husband was driving down a Polish highway when he turned on the news and learned that the country’s borders would shut down in 24 hours. He pulled over and called me. I bought a ticket from London to Warsaw minutes later. I don’t live there all of …

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corona-virus-called-americas-bluff

The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff

On July 8, 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy sailed into Tokyo Bay with two steamships and two sailing vessels under his command. He landed a squadron of heavily armed sailors and marines; he moved one of the ships ostentatiously up the harbor, so that more people could see it. He delivered a …

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MARZIO TONIOLO / REUTERS

Epidemics Reveal the Truth About the Societies They Hit

BOLOGNA, Italy—I am sitting in the middle of this northern Italian city, two hours’ drive from the Lombardian towns that have been quarantined. At this precise moment in time, Bologna has not produced a single instance of the new coronavirus. One or two people with the disease, known as COVID-19, have been moved into the …

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