The Genesis of Russian Imperialism

The Genesis of Russian Imperialism

The overwhelming influence of Russia has taken Europe at different epochs by surprise, startled the peoples of the West, and been submitted to as a fatality, or resisted only by convulsions. More»

Welcome, With Reservations

Welcome, With Reservations

When Angel Merkel opened Germany’s borders last year, she performed an about face few could have predicted. Having just overseen the defeat of Syriza, in its quest to defy the Troika’s debt repayment demands, her policies were being heralded as a return to Germany’s dark past. Not quite Third Reich, but flirting with historical callousness. More»

My Days in Damascus Entry 1: Contagious Fear

My Days in Damascus Entry 1: Contagious Fear

Farah is a young woman living in Syria’s capital city, where she faces the daily struggles of trying to maintain a normal social and professional life in a country being ripped apart by war. More»

Latest entries
On This Day

On This Day

“It’s a way to pass the time while I’m waiting.” That’s what I had told a friend in his seventies recently, when he asked me how I managed to keep up with social media. And that’s what I was doing recently during the ten-minute break between my first and second classes, scrolling distractedly through my Facebook feed, when I was suddenly brought up short. More»

Jihadist Populism

Jihadist Populism

Despite the Islamic rhetoric fused with their actions, the mujahideen in Brussels, like those in Paris before them, are less a threat to Europe than a product of it. As details are released about the attackers, it will be crucial to remember that in nearly every case, their sense of societal exclusion, and willingness to organise violently to assert themselves, is distinctly European.  More»

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Robert Mugabe belongs to the era of revolutionary nationalism. He certainly has outlasted this period, but he stands as a lesson of its failures. As with Arab nationalism and Ba’athism, the national boundaries defined by colonial rule would become the contours of a new national sovereignty. More»

Kurdish Protest Literature

Kurdish Protest Literature

Despite years of criticism, the European Commission is backing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s nascent dictatorship, in order to deal with its self-designated “refugee crisis.” The emerging agreement is that, according to the Turkish proposal, “for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.” More»

The Peril of the Drug Habit

The Peril of the Drug Habit

It is human nature to wish to ease pain and to stimulate ebbing vitality. There is no normal adult who, experiencing severe pain or sorrow or fatigue, and thoroughly appreciating the immediate action of an easily accessible opiate, is not likely in a moment of least resistance to take it.  More»

Europe at War

Europe at War

It ought to be a positive. To have their situation constantly referred to as “the worst crisis since World War II,” today’s refugees ideally ought to be shown the courtesy accorded to persons engulfed in a similar disaster. Why not invoke that era? Aside from the scale of the crisis, it should be an immediate guarantee of empathy, because Europeans all know what the last global conflict was like. More»

Somebody do Something

Somebody do Something

The refugees are right. Europe is a place to escape to. Never mind the populists and the neo-Nazis. They’re nothing compared to getting shelled every day by artillery, or losing your home to Russian missiles. No matter how hard the journey is, nothing could be worse than remaining in Syria, and Iraq. The Middle East is death. More»

The Blue Dog Imaginary

The Blue Dog Imaginary

The electoral process in the United States fulfills the same sort of morbid curiosity as watching Russian car wreck footage on YouTube. You know there’s no point, but it’s so strange that it’s difficult to look away. More»

Something There Is That Loves a Wall

Something There Is That Loves a Wall

Even now, long after Donald Trump has ascended to Republican frontrunner for the presidency, people are still talking about him the way they did a year ago, when his candidacy seemed more of a sideshow than a serious threat to politics-as-usual. It’s a state of affairs the man himself seems eager to perpetuate, promoting his brand at the expense of traditional propriety. More»

True Americanism

True Americanism

Patriotism was once defined as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”; and somebody has recently remarked that when Dr. Johnson gave this definition he was ignorant of the infinite possibilities contained in the word “reform.” Of course both gibes were quite justifiable, in so far as they were aimed at people who use noble names to cloak base purposes.  More»

Shadowed by Communism

Shadowed by Communism

The 1990s were a drag. In every newspaper and magazine, on radio, and TV, the death of communism was repeatedly proclaimed, as though it were an alien force that had been successfully repulsed by human nature. More»

Everyone is Hitler

Everyone is Hitler

If it wasn’t already clear, Donald Trump’s results in last week’s Super Tuesday primaries illustrates the degree to which he has insinuated himself in American politics. The public sphere in this country is currently brimming over with analyses of what exactly this portends. More»