The Wall

I was at the library at Northwestern University, putting the final touches on the galleys of my first book, which addressed the topic of Soviet foreign policy. There was a FedEx box at the library, and my deadline was the last pick-up time. In a mad rush, I finished the remaining fact-checking chores, did one last proof, and dropped the manuscript in the box just before the truck pulled up to...
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Meet the Polish Activists on the Cutting Edge of a Possible Left Resurgence in Eastern Europe

Its corner location was unbeatable. But Brave New World cafe faced steep competition on Warsaw’s most fashionable thoroughfare: a pricey French bakery, a trendy sushi restaurant and the famous Café Blickle, which began serving coffee and pastries long before World War I. Moreover, as even its passionate defenders would admit, the food at Brave New World, though relatively cheap, was not...
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The Cold War Never Died

In ’89, it looked as though the war had finally ended. For five decades the conflict had ground on, and both sides had grown weary of it all. There had been previous pauses in the hostilities, even a détente or two, but this truce looked permanent. Sure, there were still tensions after ’89, and a few skirmishes broke out. But the peace held, miraculously, for more than 25 years. Then, as...
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Divorce, European Style

“All happy families are alike,” Leo Tolstoy wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina. “Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Imagine, as Lenin liked to do, that a country is a marriage of different nationalities. Lenin believed, and he enshrined this principle in the Soviet constitution, that if the federal family was unhappy and one of the partners in the polyamorous union...
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MH17: Cold War Replay?

The most bizarre conspiracy theory surrounding the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine comes from a leading pro-Russian separatist, Igor Girkin. Relying on second-hand information, Girkin asserted that many of the passengers from the crash had already been dead before the plane had even taken off. His underlings had reported to him that the bodies were badly decomposed and...
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To Die For

Nathan Hale spied on the British in 1776 and was hanged because of it. Before he mounted the scaffold, he reportedly uttered the famous phrase, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” His country, the 13 former British colonies that formed a tenuously United States, had been conjured into existence only a few months earlier by the Declaration of Independence on July...
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