Donald Trump said that he would make America number one again. And now the United States leads the world in coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths. It is a dubious achievement. How could this have happened? The United States is supposed to have one of the best medical systems in the world. The Center for Disease… Continue reading Who’s Responsible for America’s Coronavirus Fiasco?
Donald Trump is all about boundaries. At a personal level, he doesn’t like touching strangers for fear of infection. Politically, he makes no long-lasting close alliances. And geopolitically, he obsesses over strong borders: big walls, more stringent immigration requirements, tariffs on foreign imports. But Trump is nothing if not a walking contradiction. For a guy… Continue reading Making America Unsafe Again
The system is rigged. Let’s be clear: the American political system favors the two major parties and our economic system favors the wealthy. The global system is similarly rigged in favor of powerful countries (such as the United States) and powerful economic actors (such as transnational corporations). This is not, however, a conspiracy. No secret… Continue reading It’s Rigged: Takes One to Know One
Voters went to the polls last Sunday in Burma to elect a new parliament. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) — Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s party — scored an impressive victory. According to the early returns, the NLD is on track to win over 80 percent of the vote and… Continue reading Burma: Democracy with an Asterisk
When I talked with Turkish photographer Attila Durak back in 2007, he was just finishing up a project documenting the country’s many ethnic groups. “Ask any intellectual here, ‘How many ethnic groups are living in Turkey?’ and they can’t list more than 12,” he told me. “Lots of photographers take photos of Anatolian people. But… Continue reading Multiculturalism Saves Turkey
The great transformations of 1989 began with the announcement early in the year that the Polish government would begin Round Table negotiations with the Solidarity trade union movement. It was an unprecedented move. There had been uprisings from below and crackdowns from above. There had been revolutions from within and interventions from outside. But for… Continue reading Negotiating the Transition in Poland
In bidding farewell to 2014, most of us gave the year a swift kick in the rear end as it exited the calendar. On foreign policy in particular, few people had nice things to say about the recently departed. After all, it was a banner year for all manner of evils. The Ebola outbreak in… Continue reading Why 2014 Wasn’t So Terrible
In 2000, I organized a meeting in China that brought together independent trade unionists, campaigners for corporate codes of conduct, and human rights advocates. We had spirited conversations about strikes and labor organizing and how to deal with the Communist authorities in Beijing. We didn’t worry about the government monitoring or breaking up our meeting.… Continue reading Hong Kong: The Future of People Power?
In the recent Hungarian elections in early April, the one party that increased its popularity with voters was Jobbik, the radical party that stands to the right of the Fidesz government. It increased its vote count from roughly 16 percent to over 20 percent. Jobbik is now the largest radical right party in Europe in… Continue reading Jobbik: Looking East
Hungary has long been divided between its liberal and cosmopolitan capital and the more conservative countryside. During the Communist era, a small democratic opposition emerged that eventually, by the end of the 1980s, split into two political forces: the liberal Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz) and the more nationalist Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). In the… Continue reading The Disappearance of the Political Middle