European Decline

In the End, Did Thatcher Win Or Lose?

Featured image That is the question that Mark Steyn posed yesterday at National Review. Was it a good piece? Hey, it was one of our Picks. It also echoed some of the themes I developed here. But, as my then-21-year-old son said after meeting him for the first time, “Mark Steyn is a genius.” Which is not, needless to say, how he ever described me. Mark is a sort of honorary Englishman, »

Was Margaret Thatcher Really Transformational? (With comment by Paul)

Featured image I yield to no one in my admiration for Margaret Thatcher; this photo of me with her, taken in 1997, is displayed proudly in my library: I agree with Paul that she saved Great Britain, at least for a generation. And Britain continues to benefit from her accomplishments: there is no Soviet threat, the unions have never regained their power, and Britain hasn’t adopted the Euro. But did she really »

Tough times in Europe

Featured image Under President Obama, the old normal unemployment rate in the former Western Europe — around 8 percent — seems to have become the new normal in the United States. I guess there’s at least poetic justice in this, since leading Democrats like Obama and John Kerry tend to see Western Europe as a model for the U.S. Unfortunately, though, the new normal unemployment rate in Europe is much higher than »

Syria’s european jihadists

Featured image Elliott Abrams wonders where the hard core jihadists currently fighting in Syria — an estimated 5,000 of them — will go when/if the fighting ends there. Israeli officials naturally are asking the same question. According to Abrams, the Israelis identify the following possibilities: They may go west to Lebanon, to fight the Shiite group Hezbollah. They may go south to try to cross into the Golan, and fight the Israeli »

Stick ‘Em Up, Cyprus Style

Featured image I can’t resist passing on this hilarious Michael Ramirez cartoon. All I can say is, don’t let it happen here! »

Modern Day Xenophon Wanted: The Education of Cyprus?

Featured image This semester I taught Xenophon’s neglected treatise The Education of Cyrus, which many observers have compared to Machiavelli’s Prince.  Seems now we could use a modern-day financial Xenophon to update it as The Education of Cyprus, where, according to news out within the hour, there is going to be a four-day “bank holiday” to prevent a total run.  We keep being reassured that this is a one-off event; that surely »

Let’s not forget knife control

Featured image One of my 2013 predictions — coming soon! — is that rifles will trail knives as murder weapons of choice in the coming year as they have in the most recent five-year period for which statistics are available. Magical thinking underlies the calls for gun control in the wake of the slaughter of the innocents at the Sandy Hook school, but a relentless logic is at work in this anecdote »

Mark Falcoff: The view from Germany

Featured image Occasional contributor Mark Falcoff is resident scholar emeritus at AEI. He is the author of books including Modern Chile, 1970-1989: A Critical History and Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro’s Legacy. Dr. Falcoff writes to comment on the German perspective on tomorrow’s election: At this writing it is not clear who will win tomorrow’s presidential election in the United States. But if, as some surveys suggest, Mitt Romney is the »

The Nobel Peace Prize Went to What??

Featured image I’ve been away from the site most of the day because it’s taken all day to wipe up the snorted coffee all over my desk from the news that the European Union has won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Is today April Fools Day and nobody told me? I can hardly contain the paroxysms of mirth and disgust at this vain and self-regarding gesture.  Fortunately, I don’t have to.  The overachieving »

Groundhog Day Almost Over For Europe?

Featured image I’ve given up following the Eurozone crisis on a daily basis—as has much of the media it seems—because it has settled into Groundhog Day territory.  Greece—still a basket case.  Spain—still having trouble selling its bonds.  Italy and France—still behaving irresponsibly.  Germany: cough up more dough you tight-fisted Teutonic bastards.  How long can this circus go on?  It’s been going on for better than two years now at least, and perhaps »

Europe, the author of our latest economic woes

Featured image Yesterday, I referred to a poll in which a plurality of respondents assigned primary blame for our weak economy to President Obama. He was followed by Congress, Wall Street, and former President Bush in that order. As these were the only choices offered to the respondents, I would have answered “none of the above,” at least insofar as the current economic turn for the worse is concerned. For me, the »

“Hate speech” and theatre of the absurd

Featured image In England, it’s a crime to call someone a “f___ing black c___.” If you think I’m making this up, ask John Terry, the English soccer star who was just found not guilty of saying this to Anton Ferdinand, an opposing player, during a contentious match. Terry didn’t come away unscathed. He lost his captaincy of the England national team when the Crown decided to prosecute him. But one needn’t feel »

Three Perfect Days in Sofia

Featured image So first I’m without electricity and Internet at my home in McLean, Virginia, after a jam-packed week last week teaching an intensive one-week course on the history of American foreign policy in the Ashbrook Center’s MAHG program, and then I nipped off to Sofia, Bulgaria, to give a lecture and a full day of small group seminars for a joint program of the business school at the New Bulgaria University »

France: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image I’ve been meaning to offer some observations on what appears to be the disastrous start out of the box for France’s new president, Francois Hollande, whose Socialist Party saw its strength grow with the follow on parliamentary elections.  So what does he check off first on his to-do list?  Lowering the retirement age, from 62 to 60, for several classes of government employees.  I imagine Scott Walker won’t be vacationing »

Italy: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image Oh goody.  While everyone awaits tomorrow’s vote in Greece, and struggles to find out whether the recent fillip to Spain’s banks will work, there’s this squib in today’s Barron’s: Italy is moving into the crisis cross-hairs.  That development has chilled any euphoria over the recent Spanish bailout package.  Italy hasn’t yet taken international assistance, but its debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 120%. The euro’s end game is Italy, says Ed Altman, »

Europe: Don’t Look Now, But . . .

Featured image The news out of Europe is so unremittingly bad every day that I’ve simply averted my gaze every morning.  What is there new to say about another failed bailout (Spain this week), bank runs (Greece, every day), and failure of necessary reforms (Italy, or France lowering the retirement age of certain classes of public employees)?  From the looks of things ZeroHedge’s Tyler Durden hasn’t slept in months.  (You should sign »

Mark Falcoff’s Guide to the Guidebooks

Featured image Occasional contributor Mark Falcoff is resident scholar emeritus at AEI. He is the the author, among other books, of Modern Chile, 1970-1989: A Critical History and Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro’s Legacy. Mr. Falcoff writes: The Atlantic Web site has posted a rather provocative piece by Max Fisher on guidebooks to the USA. He reminds us (something I didn’t know) that the US is the world’s second largest tourist »