2015

Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliche of Civilizations

I was listening to a German parliamentarian the other night. She was making some anodyne comments about transatlantic friendship and the importance of culture. And then she veered off to mention the recent attacks in Paris and the threat of the Islamic State. This issue, she said, required an urgent response from the “free world.”… Continue reading Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliche of Civilizations

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Kumbaya (Not)

In his new film Taxi, Iranian director Jafar Panahi is having a conversation with his young niece. They’re sitting in the cab Panahi is driving. The Iranian government has banned the director from making films, so he’s ostensibly found an alternative means of making money and of making films. He’s set up a camera on… Continue reading Kumbaya (Not)

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Charlie Hebdo: Middle East Blowback?

The recent attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left a dozen editors, cartoonists, and policemen dead, has renewed concerns that blowback from the latest round of fighting in Syria and Iraq is finally reaching Europe. In a September 2014 video, the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) called on its militants and sympathizers around the… Continue reading Charlie Hebdo: Middle East Blowback?

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2014

Europe’s Populist Reformation

They were nationalists. They despised the huge supranational institution that ruled over Europe. They expressed little faith in the bureaucracies of power and preferred a more direct connection to the people. And they used the latest technologies to promote their messages. Take your pick: the Protestants of the 16th century or the populists of today. It… Continue reading Europe’s Populist Reformation

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2012

Waiting for Copernicus

It’s happening in Buenos Aires. It’s happening in Paris and in Athens. It’s even happening at the World Bank headquarters. The global economy is finally shifting away from the model that prevailed for the last three decades. Europeans are rejecting austerity. Latin Americans are nationalizing enterprises. The next head of the World Bank has actually… Continue reading Waiting for Copernicus

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