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?
Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon this month to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street. Oregon officials at every level — the city, the state, and congressional… Continue reading Feds Attack!
Donald Trump would dearly like to add his face to Mt. Rushmore as the fifth presidential musketeer. His fireworks-and-fury extravaganza on July 3 was the next best thing. Trump’s dystopian speech was almost beside the point. Much more important was the photo op of his smirking face next to Abraham Lincoln’s. More fitting, however, would… Continue reading The Global Rushmore of Autocrats
with Valerio Alfonso Bruno In early 2017, Europe’s far-right parliamentary bloc met in Koblenz, Germany, to plot its political future. The meeting of the bloc’s leaders — which included Marine le Pen from France, Matteo Salvini from Italy and Geert Wilders from the Netherlands — took place shortly after the inauguration of US President Donald… Continue reading Will 2020 Be Another Victory Year for Trump and Brexit?
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin is proposing a new constitution. Meanwhile, in Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump is disposing of the old constitution. The first is a demonstration of power meant to showcase the unity of the Russian political system behind a strong leader. The second is an act of desperation that reveals the… Continue reading Putin Proposes, Trump Disposes
Coups have been one of the greatest threats to democracy. The people elect a daring leader willing to take on the status quo. And then, as in Iran in 1953 or Chile in 1973, the military pushes the leader aside to take control. Sometimes the generals remain in power; sometimes they restore a royal to… Continue reading Whose Coups
In fantasy sports, participants draft their own dream teams out of the rosters of existing players. That’s what Donald Trump has done with Ukraine. He and his advisors have created a fantasy team involving a number of key players, including the Ukrainian president, the former U.S. ambassador, and the former vice president’s son. Then they’ve… Continue reading Trump’s Fantasy Ukraine
Afghanistan has long been touted as the “graveyard of empires.” The British and the Soviets certainly discovered that lesson to their great regret. Perhaps future historians will judge the failure of the United States to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan over a two-decade period as a critical factor in the loss of American hegemony as… Continue reading Afghanistan: Out of the Graveyard and into the Pyre?
During the height of Stalin’s purges, the great Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich kept a packed suitcase near the door of his apartment. The Black Marias, the vehicle of choice for the secret police, would traditionally arrive in the middle of the night to ferry “undesirables” to interrogation cells. Shostakovich wanted to be ready at any… Continue reading Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
If you’re a supporter of Donald Trump — or Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil or Matteo Salvini in Italy — you probably think that democracy has never been in better health. Recent elections in these countries didn’t just serve to rotate the elite from the conventional parties. Voters went to the polls and elected outsiders who… Continue reading Democracy Desperately Need a Reboot