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Watching the pullulating weirdness of the Trump Administration often makes one feel like one of those Kremlin watchers from the 1980s, trying to read the tea leaves to get a picture of what’s going on inside. This may seem a strange comparison, given the fact that the Kremlin of old tended to do a pretty good job of information control, while the Trump team leaks information like a sieve. (More…)

It has often been said that when two armies face each other across a battlefront and engage in mutual slaughter, they may be considered as a single army engaged in suicide. Now it seems to me that when countries, each one doing its best to arrest its economic ruin, do their utmost to accelerate the ruin of each other, we are witnessing the suicide of civilisation itself. (More…)

The thing about punk in Israel is that it’s basically just like punk everywhere else: kind of boring, mostly apolitical, and more often than not sung in English. Conversations about the root causes of (sub)cultural hegemony aside, I feel like that sort of thing is especially glaring in a place that is as … Israel, as Israel is. (More…)

BEIRUT – Situated within mortar-range of the Syrian capital, the Eastern Ghouta region has been the main launch point for rebel attacks targeting Damascus – thus a grave threat to the government’s seat of power – since it fell to opposition forces in 2012. (More…)

Good morning.  I know you are all puzzled about why you have been invited here today. All will become clear very soon.

But first of all I must tell you that what you learn today may surprise, shock and even horrify you. I ask only this: listen and try and reserve judgement until you have had a chance to process what you hear. This will not be easy. (More…)

Like many people I know, I spend much of my time on social media avoiding information. There are days when, to invoke the long-running memes, I simply “can’t even”. Maybe it’s bad news about the economy or opioid addiction or climate change; or maybe I just can’t stand to hear about  Trump’s latest outrage. But I also expend a lot of energy avoiding potentially good news. (More…)

Communism is now on everybody’s lips. Some talk of it with the exaggerated enthusiasm of a new convert, others fear and condemn it as a social menace. But I venture to say that neither its admirers — the great majority of them — nor those who denounce it have a very clear idea of what Bolshevik Communism really is. (More…)

Berlin might as well be a wilderness area. During the winter months, the homeless go into hibernation underground, taking refuge in the German capital’s vast network of heated subway stations like they were nests specially prepared for them to sit out the worst part of the year. (More…)

BEIRUT – The Syrian war has often been cast as a sectarian conflict between a Sunni majority population and a minority Shiite ruling elite. However, sectarianism is only one component of a multi-faceted conflict that is also partially driven by socio-economic grievances, according to Fabrice Balanche, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. (More…)

Mr. Trump today signed his tariff order today, with much fanfare and a goodly measure of bewilderment among allies of the United States. The devotion to free trade has been talismanic among the political classes in this country for so long that Mr. Trump’s actions seem not just imprudent but heretical. (More…)

Seeing this poster in Tel Aviv for a Don McLean concert, you might think, “I didn’t even know he was still alive,” then ponder the afterlives of music careers, how even one-hit wonders make good money playing resorts and fairs. Or you might think, “How incongruous!” and marvel at the strange feats of decontextualisation that the intersection of capitalism and culture makes possible. (More…)

If you think the right stands for freedom, you’re wrong. The right stands for misery and oppression. It’s the left that stands for hope. This is true in more than one sense. But it’s also somewhat misleading. (More…)