The biggest surprise in Ukraine this month is the dog that didn’t bark. In the first week of September not a single Ukrainian soldier was killed in the Ukrainian-Russian battleground in the eastern tip of Ukraine; in fact, the big guns have now been silent there for two weeks. The combined Russian and local rebel …Read More

A year after Russian President Vladimir Putin shocked Europe by annexing Crimea and fomenting rebellion in Ukraine’s previously quiet Donbas region, his undeclared war on the Russians’ East Slav brothers has become the new-old normal on the continent. It has displaced the seven-decade interlude in which Europeans thought they had established a post-modern peace order …Read More

Contrary to popular lore, the Berlin Wall did not fall on November 9, 1989. Nor did it fall in Berlin. It fell on October 9 some 120 miles away, in Leipzig. First, civil courage—a rare quality in German history—had to dissolve the four-decade-old mental wall of East German fear. Only thereafter could the cement wall …Read More

Willy-nilly, the Ukraine crisis turned German Chancellor Angela Merkel into the geopolitical as well as financial leader of Europe. President Joachim Gauck, in the company of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and newly-minted Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, started to campaign for a more muscular German foreign policy at the Munich Security Conference last February. …Read More

An eon ago, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union imploded, the Kremlin still feared Germany. Its angst was anachronistic, but useful. Today President Vladimir Putin fears Ukraine. The angst is premature, and at this stage pernicious. The contrast is instructive. In his time, Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev still thought in terms of …Read More

“To be in this government is to commit political suicide,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk as he became Ukraine’s emergency prime minister seven weeks ago. That was just after Viktor Yanukovych’s riot police had killed more than seventy pro-democracy demonstrators in Kiev in cold blood and the incumbent president had fled to Russia. The Ukrainian army, such …Read More

For an intelligence agency, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is remarkably unintelligent. It’s rather like a new husband, who starts hacking his wife’s cellphone on their wedding day, with no inkling that this suspicion itself poisons their relationship. By flaunting this counterproductive distrust as it spied promiscuously on the presidents and prime ministers of …Read More

Germany’s party system is on the cusp of something. The big question is whether that something might be erosion of the stable political center that the country has enjoyed over the past six decades. The suspense goes well beyond the short-term issue of whether conservative chancellor Angela Merkel will now put together a governing coalition …Read More