In Italy, the Eve of Victory

Featured image We wrote here about today’s election in Italy, and the likelihood that it will be won by a conservative coalition led by Giorgia Meloni and the Brothers of Italy party. Meloni is “far right,” which means she is skeptical of the benefits of endless illegal immigration, and a “firebrand,” which means she gives speeches that voters like. The election is going on right now, and Meloni is favored to emerge »

Tom Friedman Says . . . Drill, Baby, Drill?

Featured image I’ll bet Tom Friedman would really like to indulge his authoritarian impulse to be “China for a day” (because then we could impose the “right solutions” to all our problems) right now. Today he uncorked a primal scream whose subtext is: Sarah Palin (and Donald Trump) were right: we should drill, baby, drill! here in the U.S.  Yes—for oil and natural gas! Don’t believe me? It turns out that Putin »

Biden Gets a Clue?

Featured image The Washington Post reported yesterday that someone woke up Slow Joe: White House alarm rises over Europe as Putin threatens energy supply White House officials are growing increasingly alarmed about Europe’s energy crisis and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats to force a bleak winter on the continent. Seeking to punish Russia for the invasion of Ukraine and force a retreat, Western allies have moved to set a cap on what »

“The Lamps Are Going Out All Over Europe”

Featured image Perhaps the most memorable comment at the outbreak of World War I—or at least the one quoted in every history book—came from the British foreign minister Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” The first half of this statement suddenly applies again to Europe’s energy crisis that threatens a cold and dark winter ahead, and we’ll have »

Return of the Ice Age

Featured image To Europe, anyway. Years of horrible decisions by European leaders have come home to roost, as Europeans now worry about how to heat their homes this winter. Reliance on a geopolitical enemy for much of their energy turned out to be a mistake, as Russia has now shut off gas supplies. Who could have predicted it? Other than anyone with a modicum of common sense? Which Europe’s governing class has »

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Featured image Here in America, we have a chief executive who is elderly, frail, and in declining health. Not so in Finland. Finland’s Prime Minister is Sanna Marin, 36 years old and pretty. Over the last week or so, Marin has been caught up in a series of scandals–or are they pseudo-scandals? What is clear is that she likes to party, while her husband apparently doesn’t. Two videos of Marin partying with »

“Far Right” Favored to Win Italian Election

Featured image An election is coming up in Italy in September, and the Brothers of Italy party, led by co-founder Giorgia Meloni, is currently leading the polls. There has been scant attention to the election in the U.S., but European news coverage is interesting for what it tells us about the state of politics on that continent, which in some ways mirrors conditions here in America. France 24 headlines: “Brothers of Italy, »

Green Fanaticism In the Netherlands

Featured image It isn’t just the U.S.: around the world “green” fanatics are destroying livelihoods and dragging down standards of living. This instance comes from the Netherlands: “Dutch farmers protest livestock cuts to curb nitrogen.” In one of their largest-ever demonstrations, the farmers demanded the scrapping of recently announced plans by the Hague-based government, which could see a 30 percent reduction in livestock. The Netherlands, the world’s second-largest agricultural exporter… I was »

All Eyes on Hungary at This Hour (Updated Throughout Today)

Featured image The polls have closed over in Hungary, where parliamentary elections will determine whether Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party will remain in power, or be displaced by a conservative coalition that promises to continue many of Orban’s policies (such as, unfortunately, heavy dependence on Russia for energy supplies). Significant that Orban’s opposition calculates that it can only succeed by running a candidate who is nearly as socially conservative as Orban. »

On Energy, Europe Goes to Plan B

Featured image Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led European countries to resolve to end their dependence on Russian natural gas. The Telegraph reports: We are now in a world where Germany and much of the rest of Europe is planning for almost complete disengagement from Russia as a supplier of both oil and gas. The only question is how quickly this will happen. Germany gets half of its gas from Russia, the »

Security Guarantees, Real and Imagined

Featured image Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a number of European countries–probably all of them–to reconsider their military defense postures. If Russia attacks them, will they be able to resist? And whom can they count on to come to their aid? Responses vary. Germany is talking about abandoning its post-WWII de-militarization. France, in Gaullist tradition, wants the EU to take the lead on security. Others rely on a presumed airtight NATO »

Total Defense

Featured image The world has cheered Ukraine’s determined resistance to Russian aggression, and even liberals have no problem with Ukraine’s government passing out automatic rifles to citizens. But some argue that Ukraine hasn’t gone far enough, that its government should not have waited for an invasion to arm its populace and encourage resistance to an invader. The example of the Finns’ armed and effective defense against Russia’s 1939 invasion has been cited »

War Is the Health of the State, 21st Century Edition

Featured image I don’t have a firm conclusion about just what we should do about the Ukraine crisis (beyond not sending Kamala Harris to Munich to embarrass the country). We ought to arm the Ukrainians with all the weapons they can use (short of nukes), impose serious sanctions on Russia, and perhaps some heavy cyber actions. But it is also worth considering that if Germany won’t stand up with the rest of the »

Who’s Wagging Whose Dog?

Featured image What follows is pure speculation, but I have had a sneaking suspicion for a while that the Ukraine crisis is ready-made for an international “solution” that benefits a number of leaders politically while avoiding any serious down-side. Like a war, for example. That suspicion is strengthened by the positive turn that reporting on Ukraine has suddenly taken. Thus, the London Times headlines: “Diplomacy with Russia can still save Ukraine, insists »

Europe in character

Featured image As a Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes more and more likely, major European nations behave more and more in character. Britain, in its finest Churchill-Thatcher tradition, is stepping up to the plate. It just delivered anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. Germany, reverting to its traditional approach of accommodating Russian aggression to further its interests, reportedly refused Britain permission to transport the anti-tank weapons through German airspace. Germany denies doing so, but »

Covid Mortality In Europe

Featured image Covid mortality is hard to measure, in part because different states and countries count covid deaths differently. Many people who died and who also happened to be diagnosed with covid–likely most–actually died primarily from something else, and the covid was more or less coincidental. Therefore, the most meaningful statistics are those relating to total mortality. If more people have died during the covid years than would have been predicted by »

Will Europe Abandon Green Energy?

Featured image The European Union has led the way in transitioning from fossil fuels to “green” energy, i.e. wind and solar. But that effort has hit a snag: wind and solar don’t work, and energy costs in the EU are skyrocketing. Now a Reuters report suggests that the EU may be thinking about jumping ship: The European Union has drawn up plans to label some natural gas and nuclear energy projects as »