Europe

The Velvet Surrender
September 17, 2010

Václav Klaus, the president of the Czech Republic, is legendary for his lack of manners. When his country assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2009, Klaus—a stocky and vigorous man with close-cropped white hair and a fastidiously trimmed moustache—got into a scrap with a group of European politicians because he had refused to fly the EU flag above his office in Prague Castle. Nicolas Sarkozy pronounced the snub “hurtful,” yet Klaus was anything but contrite. Instead, he used his first address to the European Parliament to compare the EU to the Soviet Union.

The Fortunate Journey
September 13, 2010

The Escorial: Art and Power in the Renaissance By Henry Kamen (Yale University Press, 291 pp., $35) The historian Henry Kamen has spent a distinguished career presenting what he calls a “revisionist” history of early modern Spain.

Obama vs. the Republicans (With Full Speech Text)
September 08, 2010

I think it's safe to say that President Obama has given up on bipartisanship, at least for the foreseeable future. The White House just released prepared text of his economic speech to the City Club of Cleveland. A few weeks ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a speech there, outlining his economic agenda (or, at least, what he claimed to be an economic agenda).

You Say Recession, I Say Depression
September 07, 2010

The terms “recession” and “depression” were once used to suggest that a downturn was not as bad as a “panic” or “crisis.” In fact, for the first years of his presidency, Herbert Hoover chose to refer to the downturn as a “depression” in an effort to convey that what the country was experiencing was just a temporary indentation. Only in 1931 did Hoover begin to speak of a “Great Depression.” Our current downturn has also been plagued by word games. Faced with the fear that the U.S.

The New York Times Laments "A Sadly Wary Misunderstanding of Muslim-Americans." But Really Is It "Sadly Wary" Or A "Misunderstanding" At All?
September 04, 2010

UPDATE: I have written an apology for one sentence written below.  Of course, this first sentence presumes that the Times in its olympian wisdom has a more accurate view--one it could describe as both "shrewdly knowing" and "sensitively knowing"--of this group and its beliefs than ordinary metropolitan mortals. The newspaper has done a poll of New York City residents which found that 33% of them thought Muslim-American "more sympathetic to terrorists" than other citizens. Frankly, I don't trust opinion surveys on matters like this.

The Warrior-Humanist
September 04, 2010

For more on Bernard Knox, please read an extraordinary report of his heroism in World War II and a collection of his best pieces for TNR. The death of Bernard Knox has impoverished not just contemporary classical scholarship but the humanities as a whole. In choosing him as its Jefferson Lecturer in 1992, the National Endowment for the Humanities could not have found a more ardent or eloquent spokesman for its mission.

Bernard Knox's TNR Classics
September 04, 2010

"Years of Iron"; August 27, 1990. Knox reviews a new translation of Ovid's poetry, along with a novel depicting a fictional search for the poet. "The Oldest Dead White European Males"; May 25, 1992. A consideration of the ancient Greeks, who "invented the idea and gave us the name of Europe," but also formed a "society in which, for all practical purposes...women played no part whatsoever." "Purity and Danger"; November 23, 1992.

I Like Turkey, but It's Not Going to Join the European Union
August 30, 2010

For a brief season, Henry Hopkinson was a Tory politician of the second rank, who might have risen higher if he hadn’t famously misspoken in 1954. As a junior minister at the Colonial Office, he said in the House of Commons that Cyprus would never be granted independence. This dogged him for the rest of his life.

Goodbye to Berlin
August 30, 2010

In early February, the top financial officials of seven major industrialized countries gathered in Canada to mull the state of the world economy. To grease their interactions, the Canadians had created an intimate setting in Iqaluit, an Inuit town near the Arctic Circle. A planning document waxed on about fireside chats at a cozy inn and decreed that the attire would be casual.

Baroness Ashton Is Not Coming To The Party
August 29, 2010

Maybe it's an admission of her utter irrelevance as kind-of foreign minister of the European Union, maybe she just wants her own show. But Baroness Ashton is not coming to Hillary Clinton's Middle East confab, no she is not. I wrote about her two or three times a while back, and not admiringly. And her performance since then, even in the eyes of official Europe sitting in Brussels, has not brought her many but also not any fans. She is one of those international bureaucrats whose life is travel, travel, travel. And pronounce, pronounce, pronounce.

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