Trial Upon Trial

The story starts out simply enough: “Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.” What follows, in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, is absurd, a comedy of errors, except that it is not funny and the ending can’t be more tragic. Joseph K. is subjected to a semi-legal nightmare – accusation, interrogation, endless trial, unseen...
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Promoting Molecular Revolution in Romania

Romania has come a long way on LGBT issues. Homosexuality was illegal in the country up until 1996. Public manifestations of homosexuality were decriminalized only in 2000, and the last discriminatory law was repealed in 2002. The European Union applied considerable pressure during the accession process and so did the United States, which sent an openly Gay ambassador in 2000. But it was also the...
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Running Off to War

I was at a wedding not long ago of two dear female friends. The ceremony mixed together various religious traditions, including a Quaker meeting where people in the audience could stand up and speak spontaneously. After a number of people had already spoken, an old man made his way to the front of the space. He beckoned the two brides to approach. He put his hands on their heads and blessed their...
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The Undead and Us

I thought it was a fad, and it would die out. Three years ago I read Daniel Drezner’s piece inForeign Policy about his search for an “international relations theory of zombies,” which he subsequently expanded into a full-length book. Really, this was on the order of devoting an entire university class to the lyrics of Madonna. If I just pretended that zombies didn’t exist, they would...
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Germany’s Post-Reunification Foreign Policy

Germany has played an outsized role in Europe after reunification in 1990. But that role has largely been economic. There were many fears at the end of the Cold War that a reunified Germany would destabilize Europe. Margaret Thatcher kept a map of Germany’s 1937 borders in her purse to illustrate her anxieties about the “German problem,” and many of her French and Polish interlocutors...
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