Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

The Universality of Ukraine

The Russian war in Ukraine has dominated headlines in the United States and Europe. It has been presented as a generation-defining event and as a pivot in geopolitics that will cleave world history into a before and an after just like September 11. Much of the world, however, is not transfixed by developments in central… Continue reading The Universality of Ukraine

Europe

When the Left Is Right…Far Right

In the twentieth century, the left defined itself as anti-fascist. It was against Franco in Spain, Hitler in Germany, and Mussolini in Italy. During the Cold War, progressive opposed far-right dictators like Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. It mobilized against neo-Nazis in Germany, right-wing militias in the United States, and… Continue reading When the Left Is Right…Far Right

Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

Why Ukraine Matters

War has been pretty much a constant in human affairs. If you’ve managed to avoid direct contact with war for your entire life, you are extraordinarily lucky in world-historical terms. The Cold War that kept the peace across most of the Global North was accompanied by nearly non-stop proxy wars between Moscow and Washington throughout… Continue reading Why Ukraine Matters

Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

No Pasaran: Ukraine 2022

The last surviving member of the International Brigades that fought the fascists in Spain in the 1930s died last year at the age of 101. Josep Almudéver Mateu, born in France, remembered going into battle without any ammunition for his gun. Five kilometers into his march to the front, he was finally able to cadge… Continue reading No Pasaran: Ukraine 2022

Europe, Human Rights, Russia and Eastern Europe

Helsinki 2.0

The European security order has broken down. You might think that’s an overstatement. NATO is alive and well. The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe is still functioning at a high level. Of course, there’s the possibility of a major war breaking out between Russia and Ukraine. But would Russian President Vladimir Putin… Continue reading Helsinki 2.0

Europe

European Green Deal: Step Forward, Backward or Sideways?

On paper, European countries are taking climate change very seriously. Finland has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2035, Austria by 2040, and both Germany and Sweden by 2045. A number of European countries—Denmark, France, Hungary—have even put their commitments into law. These commitments are all the more serious because European countries have some of… Continue reading European Green Deal: Step Forward, Backward or Sideways?

Europe

Will the EU Survive the Coronavirus?

The most insidious tactic of COVID-19 is to get a person’s body to attack itself. In the worst cases, the body’s autoimmune system essentially goes haywire as it tries to fight off infection. This “cytokine storm” can lead to serious inflammation in the lungs and ultimately to major organ failure. COVID-19 seems to have had a similar… Continue reading Will the EU Survive the Coronavirus?

Europe, Islamophobia

The Far Right’s War on Culture

The far right is on a roll. Just a few years ago, liberals and conservatives would have considered its recent political victories a nightmare scenario. Right-wing extremists have won elections in the United States, Brazil, Hungary, India, and Poland. They pushed through the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom. In the most recent European Parliament… Continue reading The Far Right’s War on Culture

Europe

Burning Down the House

Doesn’t idiocy ever take a vacation? As August wound down, the populist troika of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro proved once again that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would be better off with no leaders rather than the dubious characters that currently pretend to govern these countries. In all three… Continue reading Burning Down the House

Europe

Global Game of Thrones

I was surprised to learn that Dagmar Havlova had become a monarchist. In 1990, when I first met the sister-in-law of Czech playwright and later president Vaclav Havel, she was a spokesperson for Civic Forum, the movement that would guide Czechoslovakia from communism to democracy. Virtually everyone in the country at the time was excited… Continue reading Global Game of Thrones

Europe

Europe Should Bolt NATO

Donald Trump hasn’t shown a lot of love lately toward America’s European allies. On his recent trip to Europe, he dismissed Germany as Moscow’s minion and called the European Union a “foe.” He’s also treated NATO as an alliance to be bullied into submission rather than as the premier method of coordinating security policy with… Continue reading Europe Should Bolt NATO

Europe

Trump’s Assault on Europe

Donald Trump didn’t fly to Europe to meet with NATO, European leaders, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He got there by stepping through the looking glass. Once on the other side, Trump made a series of extraordinary statements that have effectively turned U.S. foreign policy upside down. He accused Germany of being “totally controlled by… Continue reading Trump’s Assault on Europe

Europe

Eastern Europe Marches Right

After 1989, Eastern Europe became the poster child for liberal democracy. One after another, the countries in the region replaced their Communist systems with new market economies, alongside democratic structures. After many years of difficult “transition”—high unemployment, industrial collapse, rural dislocation—the countries in the region all began to stabilize as they approached the close of… Continue reading Eastern Europe Marches Right

Blog, Eastern Europe, Europe

Things Fall Apart

Democracy can be messy. In the northeast corner of Spain this week, democracy was downright chaotic. Catalans went to the polls on Sunday to vote in a referendum on whether to stay in Spain or go their separate way. The Spanish authorities, however, declared the vote illegitimate and sent in the national police to disrupt… Continue reading Things Fall Apart

Eastern Europe, Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

Trump: The Anti-Gorbachev

Back in the late 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev had a magic touch internationally. Traveling outside the Soviet Union, he often received the adulation that was so frequently lacking at home. When Gorbachev visited other Communist countries, crowds would turn out to welcome him as a savior. He had that effect in Beijing when he visited on… Continue reading Trump: The Anti-Gorbachev

Europe

Pushing Rewind on 2016

The two events that put 2016 in the history books — alongside other pivotal years such as 2001, 1989, and 1945 — were, of course, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the election of Donald Trump in the United States. What makes 2016 different, however, is its apparent revocability. Germany and Japan, after… Continue reading Pushing Rewind on 2016

Eastern Europe, Europe

How to Reinvent the European Left

The last thing Europe needs right now is advice from Americans, particularly American progressives. After all, we failed to prevent Donald Trump and his cronies from seizing the White House or the far-right wing of the Republican Party from taking over Congress. Before that, we were unable to push President Obama to the left on… Continue reading How to Reinvent the European Left