2019

Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce Trump?

The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. It was one of the few unambiguously joyous moments in modern history. This popular, nonviolent explosion of dissent effectively toppled East Germany’s despotic regime. And it signaled, if only symbolically, the end of the Cold War that had divided Europe for nearly half a century. Thirty years later,… Continue reading Did the Fall of the Berlin Wall Produce Trump?

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2017

Welcome to the Birthplace of Trumpism

He was a rich businessman, an outspoken outsider with a love of conspiracy theories. And he was a populist running for president. In 1990, when Donald Trump was still beyond the furthest outskirts of American politics, Stanislaw Tyminski was trying to become the new president of post-communist Poland.  He shared something else with the future… Continue reading Welcome to the Birthplace of Trumpism

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Building On The Good News From Asia

There’s been precious little good news from Asia these days. Washington and Pyongyang continue to trade threats of war. Right-wing nationalist Shinzo Abe won reelection as prime minister in Japan last month. Major storms have hammered several countries in the region, most recently Typhoon Damrey in Vietnam. And now, in the wake of those typhoons… Continue reading Building On The Good News From Asia

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Donald Trump and the Fourth Great Shattering

When the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., published his bestseller The Disuniting of America in 1991, he didn’t seriously entertain the worst-case scenario suggested by the title. At the time, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were imploding, while separatist movements in Quebec, East Timor, Spain’s Basque country, and elsewhere were already clamoring for their own states. But when… Continue reading Donald Trump and the Fourth Great Shattering

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When Trump’s Push Comes to Shove in Europe

It has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between the reality show of Donald Trump in the Oval Office and the Saturday Night Live parody of the president. Was it Donald Trump — or Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump — who shouldered aside the prime minister of Montenegro to gain a better position at the NATO photo shoot… Continue reading When Trump’s Push Comes to Shove in Europe

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Brexit Is a Wake-Up Call for Europe

The European Union is a historic compromise that’s gradually gotten stronger over its half-century existence. Until 2016. That’s when British citizens, by a very narrow margin, voted to leave the European Union. It’s hard to come up with Brexit’s price tag for the British. The administrative costs alone of the separation will be about $60… Continue reading Brexit Is a Wake-Up Call for Europe

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2016