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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The Coronavirus Called America’s 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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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

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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The False Romance of Russia - JERRY COOKE / CORBIS VIA GETTY

The False Romance of Russia

JERRY COOKE / CORBIS VIA GETTY Sherwood Eddy was a prominent American missionary as well as that now rare thing, a Christian socialist. In the 1920s and ’30s, he made more than a dozen trips to the Soviet Union. He was not blind to the problems of the U.S.S.R., but he also found much to …

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