Not a single congressional Republican voted for the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Not even the so-called moderate Republicans, the handful that backed the second impeachment of Donald Trump, deigned to support an economic package that helps Americans hardest hit by the pandemic. The entire Republican caucus didn’t just snub the Democrats. They ignored the… Continue reading China and the Perils of Bipartisanship
Once upon a time, a rich hypochondriac was complaining about pains in his head and stomach. He consulted a wise man who pointed out that the root of the problem lay somewhere else: in the man’s eyes. To resolve the persistent headache and stomachache, the sage suggested focusing on just one color in the surrounding… Continue reading Painting the World Green
Mohammed bin Salman is a charming fellow. The tall, dark, and handsome Saudi prince known as MbS has seduced world leaders and eager pundits left and right. To his supporters, MbS became first in line to the Saudi throne by championing reform in a deeply conservative Gulf kingdom, taking on corruption, confronting religious extremists, and… Continue reading The Talented Mr. Bin Laden
The story of An Wei overlaps almost perfectly with the story of Communist China. Born in a small village some distance from the northwestern city of Xian, An Wei was seven years old when Mao took control of the country in 1949. As the son of peasants, he was part of the first generation of… Continue reading One in a Billion
Caligula was by all accounts a nasty piece of work. During the nearly four years that he ruled over the Roman empire in the first century CE, Caligula was notorious for sexual predation and extravagant spending. Never one to sell himself short, he proclaimed early on that he was a god. He held the Senate… Continue reading The Claudius Presidency
Watching the Senate conduct the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump brought back a flood of memories from high school. I distinctly remember an earlier incarnation of those Trump-friendly Republican senators taking up their positions at the back of class to snicker, yawn ostentatiously, and otherwise disrupt the serious, well-researched presentations of their fellow students.… Continue reading The U.S. Senate Is a Global Problem
After four years of shock, confusion, and paralysis, the United States is finally taking action against the far right. Perhaps most dramatic has been the deplatforming of Donald Trump: the suspension of his Twitter and Facebook accounts and the targeting of his prominent followers across social media platforms. Even a few months ago, such a… Continue reading Beating Back the Far Right
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,… Continue reading America: The Unreliable Superpower
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… Continue reading Russia: A New Start?
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… Continue reading What Explains COVID’s East-West Divide?