Global Game of Thrones

I was surprised to learn that Dagmar Havlova had become a monarchist. In 1990, when I first met the sister-in-law of Czech playwright and later president Vaclav Havel, she was a spokesperson for Civic Forum, the movement that would guide Czechoslovakia from communism to democracy. Virtually everyone in the country at the time was excited about this transformation, about voting, about the new...
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Deal, No Deal: Britain’s Fearful Future

It’s not in the text of Dante’s Inferno, but I suspect that those residing in the upper circles of hell regard their neighbors in the bottom circles with a mixture of pity and relief. Cleopatra, buffeted by strong winds in the second circle for her lustful behavior on earth, glances down at the traitor Judas, immobile in a frozen lake in the ninth circle, and sighs, “Ah, there but for the...
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The Importance of the New Netflix Dystopia

Popular culture is full of alternative histories. Mackinley Kantor wrote a famous article in Look magazine in 1960 about what would have happened if the Confederacy had won the Civil War. Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America imagines a world where Charles Lindbergh beats FDR in the 1940 elections and ushers fascism into the United States. And The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon series...
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Europe Should Bolt NATO

Donald Trump hasn’t shown a lot of love lately toward America’s European allies. On his recent trip to Europe, he dismissed Germany as Moscow’s minion and called the European Union a “foe.” He’s also treated NATO as an alliance to be bullied into submission rather than as the premier method of coordinating security policy with friendly nations. He even threatened to pull the United...
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Trump’s Assault on Europe

Donald Trump didn’t fly to Europe to meet with NATO, European leaders, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He got there by stepping through the looking glass. Once on the other side, Trump made a series of extraordinary statements that have effectively turned U.S. foreign policy upside down. He accused Germany of being “totally controlled by Russia.” He declared that the European Union is...
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Eastern Europe Marches Right

After 1989, Eastern Europe became the poster child for liberal democracy. One after another, the countries in the region replaced their Communist systems with new market economies, alongside democratic structures. After many years of difficult “transition”—high unemployment, industrial collapse, rural dislocation—the countries in the region all began to stabilize as they approached the...
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