For all the hands shaken and hamburgers eaten, President Obama has never quite shaken his reputation for detachment. He is the “cool” president who doesn’t lose his temper even when he should. He is the former constitutional law professor who is too “academic” for the Oval Office. He uses his brain when he should be… Continue reading Is Obama Adrift in the World?
Agnes Gagyi grew up in the city of Miercurea Ciuc in the Transylvanian region of Romania. More than 80 percent of the population of this city of 50,000 people is of Hungarian ethnicity. Most everyday interactions are conducted in Hungarian. In fact, Gagyi didn’t learn Romanian at home or on the streets, but rather through… Continue reading Growing Up in Transylvania
The success of the free market reforms that took place in East-Central Europe after 1989 was predicated to a large degree on the rule of law. The privatization of state assets, for instance, required a high degree of transparency and a strong set of regulations. Otherwise corrupt individuals and groups could easily vacuum up the… Continue reading The Misrule of Law
For most countries in East-Central Europe, capitalism didn’t arrive overnight in 1989 or 1990. Even in the more controlled environments like Romania, people could get a taste of capitalism by buying or trading on the black market. Hungary, on the other hand, was far ahead of its neighbors in this respect. It had been experimenting… Continue reading Managing the Economic Transition
The Cold War is history. For those growing up today, the Cold War is as distant in time as World War II was for those came of age in the 1970s. In both cases, empires collapsed and maps were redrawn. Repugnant ideologies were laid bare and then laid to rest, though patches of nostalgia persist.… Continue reading Ukraine: The Clash of Partnerships
A generation of East-Central Europeans has grown up without any first-hand experience of Communism. They have been educated in schools that are connected Europe-wide through the Bologna process. They can get good jobs outside their countries. They increasingly think of themselves as European citizens (the younger they are, the more Euro-friendly they are, according to… Continue reading Rethinking Democracy in Europe
If it bleeds, it leads. That’s the slogan in the newspaper business. War, crime, disaster: these are big sellers. East-Central Europe was on the front page of U.S. newspapers when there was a war going on in former Yugoslavia. If a politician or oligarch gets assassinated in one of the countries in the region, it… Continue reading The Spread of Tolerance