Burning Down the House

Doesn’t idiocy ever take a vacation? As August wound down, the populist troika of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro proved once again that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would be better off with no leaders rather than the dubious characters that currently pretend to govern these countries. In all three cases, these leaders escalated their nationally destructive...
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Boris Johnson and the New Battle of Britain

All eyes are focused these days on Boris Johnson, the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. But that’s not the most important news this month out of Britain. The Labor Party has finally come around to opposing the country’s exit from the European Union, though it’s possibly a case of “too little, too late.” The party failed to get its act together before the European Parliament...
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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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