America: The Unreliable Superpower

The nightmare is over. The vanquished beast has crawled back to Mar-a-Lago to lick his wounds. The heroes are hard at work repairing the damage. As America returns to the international stage, the world heaves a collective sigh of relief. That, at least, is the story the incoming Biden administration is telling. “America is back, multilateralism is back, diplomacy is back,” as Linda...
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Russia: A New Start?

It’s winter in Russia, which is not a season for the faint-hearted. The pandemic is still hitting the country hard, with the number of new COVID cases hovering around 20,000 a day, which has cumulatively put the country in the global top five in terms of infections. Under these inauspicious conditions, if you are brave enough to face down the cold and COVID to protest openly against the...
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What Explains COVID’s East-West Divide?

COVID-19 has been ruthless in choosing winners and losers around the world. The obvious “losers” have been those countries led by right-wing nationalists: Brazil, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, and (until recently) the United States. These five countries are responsible for more than half of the world’s coronavirus infections and nearly half the deaths. Just as obviously, the...
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The Future of U.S. Democracy Promotion

On Inauguration Day 2021, the nation’s capital looks like it has just experienced a coup, not successfully survived one. Streets are blocked off, barricades are up, and armed police and National Guard are everywhere. The inauguration itself is taking place in front of a deliberately minimal crowd, as if the authorities are somehow pulling off an inside job. These precautions are eminently...
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Szitsky Krik

In Season One of the wildly popular TV series Szitsky Krik, viewers thrilled to see the delicious comeuppance of a former U.S. president and his once-glamorous wife Melania. Having ruthlessly climbed over people to become the most powerful couple in the world, Donny and Melania are abruptly stripped of their political influence within months of a presidential election that failed to give Donny a...
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