Belgrade: Gritty City

Sometimes that person you immediate dislike becomes, over time, a close friend. In fact, the very things you disliked about that person can end up becoming his or her chief virtues in your eyes. That’s been my experience with Serbia.  The first encounter was certainly not auspicious. I first visited Belgrade in 1989, on my way south from Poland to the beaches of the Croatian coast. Or, at...
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Blog: Return to Adversity

In the 1970s and 1980s, the nascent civil society movements in East-Central Europe leveraged their marginal position in society into a form of social power. Because they were largely disconnected from an unjust power structure – and suffered considerably from the repression of that power structure – they commanded what Vaclav Havel famously called “the power of the powerless.” The...
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Dumb and Dumber

Barack Obama is a smart guy. So why has he spent the last four years executing such a dumb foreign policy? True, his reliance on “smart power” — a euphemism for giving the Pentagon a stake in all things global — has been a smart move politically at home.  It has largely prevented the Republicans from playing the national security card in this election year. But “smart power”...
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