Coming to grips with the proliferation of populist movements in Europe is not a new preoccupation. Right-wing and left-wing protest parties have long been part of the political landscape. Until recently, they have not advanced much beyond the local or regional levels of support and some have almost completely disappeared over time. Yet today we …Read More

After a state election in Germany, the Social Democrats (SPD) lost—again; the Christian Democrats (CDU) won—again; and a strong showing by the liberal FDP has created a chance to rebuild a coalition government with the CDU in Düsseldorf…and maybe later this year in Berlin. Not much of this scenario was expected as recently as four …Read More

From the perspective of European Integration, the French presidential election is a reload of Sergio Leone’s 1960s blockbuster movie “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” In the runoff, Emmanuel Macron, the “good guy” of Europe, the JFK of France, was facing xenophobic, anti-Islam, anti-elite, populist candidate Marine Le Pen, the “nasty woman” in French …Read More

“Clear horizon, strong heart,” or, as they say in Schleswig-Holstein, “Klaar Kimming, Rüm Haart.” The slogan frequently seen on flags flying over the North Sea islands might as well be flying over the Kanzleramt after the elections in Schleswig-Holstein on May 7. Chancellor Merkel’s party picked up both support and a new champion who could be …Read More

There is an old story about the serious French thinker who, when presented with a common-sense solution to a problem, will find fault by retorting that the idea “works in practice but not in theory.” And there is some truth to the notion that in the land of Descartes, logical clarity bordering on ideological rigidity …Read More

In the last sixty years, the institutionalized cooperation between sovereign nation states in Europe has been a major success. Underpinned by a U.S. commitment to the defense of Europe, European integration has delivered the longest period of peace and prosperity across most of Europe since the times of the Roman Empire. However, sixty years after the …Read More

Panel Discussion at the German Historical Institute. Speakers: Kathleen Canning (University of Michigan), Rüdiger Graf (Center for Contemporary History Potsdam), Donna Harsch (Carnegie Mellon University), and Dirk Schumann (University of Göttingen), and moderated by David Clay Large (University of San Francisco/University of California, Berkeley) This panel will bring together Weimar historians to address the history …Read More

With the ripple effect of Donald Trump’s election still being felt not only in the U.S., but all over the world, many are scrambling to find explanations for how that happened. One widespread explanation is the rise of a populist surge—against parties, politics, and so-called powerful elites. But in order to understand how it happened, …Read More

This text was originally presented at a public lecture at the  University of Pretoria, South Africa, on February 15, 2017. Introduction One might reasonably ask what is actually special about Donald Trump and the Trump presidency. After all, it is not populism in public office that is new. Neither is Donald Trump the first narcissist …Read More

There is a well-known warning to all politicians seeking to sound convincing to their audiences: if you have to explain too much, you are losing them. If there are too many ambiguities in a message, you trip yourself up justifying them. The platform of the Munich Security Conference is a tough testing ground for all politicians given the enormous concentration on what is discussed there. This year’s meeting was no exception.

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