2013

Catharsis!

Catharsis is an important element in both theater and politics. On stage, the actors enact a drama that generates a great change of emotion in the audience. Through this outpouring of emotion – of pity, of fear — the audience can experience some kind of spiritual renewal. In politics, too, catharsis is an important stage… Continue reading Catharsis!

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Yugoslavia Could Have Been a Leader

In the early 1980s, the citizens of Yugoslavia enjoyed a distinct comparative advantage over their counterparts in East-Central Europe. Yugoslavia’s per capita GDP was the best in the region. True, $3,230 might not sound like a lot of money, but the closest competition in 1982 was Czechoslovakia at $2,980. By comparison, Poland’s was only $1,540… Continue reading Yugoslavia Could Have Been a Leader

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Staying Critical

The colonial relationship was reasonably straightforward. The empire dictated terms to the colony, and the colonial administration carried out the orders. Sometimes colonial subjects revolted. Sometimes the imperial agents went “native” and adopted the culture and perspectives of the people they were supposed to be pushing around. But the power dynamic was for the most… Continue reading Staying Critical

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The Secret History of Yugoslavia

In the 6th century, in the Byzantine capital of Constantinople, the historian Procopius penned an account of the misdeeds of the emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. The Secret History is a compelling account of the court intrigues of a treacherous emperor in a crumbling empire. That Justinian enjoyed a high reputation, the result of the military victories… Continue reading The Secret History of Yugoslavia

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Democracy Is Not Enough

It has not been easy for the countries of East-Central Europe to establish stable, functioning democracies. Strong-arm leaders – like Victor Orban in Hungary or, until recently, Vaclav Klaus in the Czech Republic – have persistent appeal. Corruption has claimed any number of political victims, from Adrian Nastase in Romania to Janez Jansa in Slovenia.… Continue reading Democracy Is Not Enough

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