Authoritarian Symps

In the bad old days of the Cold War, the left and the right used to play a nasty game called “Who’s Your Favorite Dictator?” Right-wing ideologues supported authoritarian leaders like Augusto Pinochet of Chile while left-wing ideologues rhapsodized over Communist leaders like Fidel Castro of Cuba. One side embraced the shah of Iran and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines as “our...
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The Rubik’s Cube of Roma Rights

Many European organizations, the Open Society Foundation among them, have put a great deal of money and energy into addressing the issue of Roma. Some progress has been made. Roma parliamentarians, business people, journalists, lawyers, and academics have for instance pushed for equal rights for the Roma minority in their respective countries. They are the visible sign that policies of inclusion...
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The Madness of THAAD

In its annual spring ritual, the Pentagon brings its tin cup to Congress to beg for appropriations. Earlier this month, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tried to explain to some bewildered members of Congress why the Pentagon required so much money when the United States already spends more than all of its potential adversaries combined. Dianne Feinstein, a rather...
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The Young Dictator Problem

The classic image of the dictator clinging to power, resisting the world’s entreaties to resign, and fending off internal attempts at ouster is that of an old man, stubborn and long past caring what others think. He’s been on the throne for so long that his name has become synonymous with the state — l’état c’est moi! — and his very longevity has become a stinging rebuke to his...
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Celebrating Destruction

Everyone on the Mall near the Washington Monument was looking up at the sky. I was there, too. But I wasn’t looking up, at least not that far up. On May 8, I was playing Ultimate Frisbee during the noontime game on a stretch of level grass behind the Holocaust Museum. This time we were joined by thousands of people eager to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and...
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