European Union

Well Houellebecq That!

Featured image You may have to go all the way back to the late 20th century to recall an article in Harper’s magazine that was worth reading, but the current issue features an article from the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq that defends Donald Trump (“Donald Trump Is a Good President“) in ways that will drive just about everybody out of their minds. Houellebecq is the author of, among other works, a »

Europe on a Knife Edge

Featured image A few hours from now British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no confidence vote from her own party, and as of this moment I’d bet she will lose the vote and be ousted. Whether this will lead to a general No Confidence vote of the entire House of Commons, which would result in an immediate general election, is harder to forecast. Much will depend on whether the Tory »

Shut Down the Sun!

Featured image The battle between the people and insatiable self-proclaimed elites that rages here in the U.S. is, in some respects, uncannily duplicated in Europe. So this righteous rant by Mick Hume at Spiked resonates with American readers. A few newspapers, mostly tabloids like Britain’s Sun, have had the temerity to stand up to the EU’s power grab. Worse, many millions of Europeans agree with them. What is the solution? “Smart regulation.” »

Dear President Tusk: Tusk you

Featured image The President of the European Council is one Donald Tusk. Tusk previously served as Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 and was a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform political party. I concede that I don’t know much about him. I thought yesterday that he was entirely out of line with his comment on the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Minister in the cabinet of British »

Europe: Things Fall Apart

Featured image German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hanging on by her fingernails in Germany right now, as the backlash against migrants reached a critical mass in recent weeks. The cabinet minister who confronted Merkel and forced immigration concessions, Horst Seehofer of the “conservative” CSU party based chiefly in Bavaria, has seen his own poll ratings collapse in the aftermath of the political crisis. But this is just as likely to be the »

The Liberal Crackup

Featured image Forget, for the moment, our long-running “Civil War on the Left” series. That civil war is essentially over, and the radical “progressive” left has won. Notice how fast the left and the media is rushing to embrace their shiny new object, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young (and presumably wise) Latina who knocked off the incumbent number four-ranked Democratic House member Joseph Crowley (who, admittedly, I had never heard of before last »

Getting “world order” wrong

Featured image In this post called “Getting Italy wrong,” I argued that when EU types say populism threatens liberal democracy they usually mean it threatens their policy preferences, which often are not particularly democratic. The same is largely true, I think, of complaints that Donald Trump threatens the “world order.” This story by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post — “In Trump, some fear the end of the world order” — is »

Getting Italy wrong

Featured image “The real challenge that the populist coalition in Italy poses to the EU is one of policy, not of democracy.” So writes Angelos Chryssogelos of Chatham House. I think the same can be said of populism in most Western democracies, but let’s keep the focus on Italy. What are the policy challenges that the populist coalition there poses to the EU? There are two: the economy and migration. Chryssogelos explains: »

It’s on: A trade war with our allies

Featured image Yesterday, President Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. These U.S. allies promptly hit back. The EU said it would impose import taxes on, among other items, bourbon (this means you, Mitch McConnell). Mexico said it would levy tariffs on American farm products. Canada is set to impose tariffs on dozens of U.S. products including not just steel and aluminum products but also »

The Italian Crisis—Update

Featured image I thought I was suitably harsh about the magnitude and meaning of the Italian crisis in my post last night, but then I read the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial about it this morning: The President has now handed the populists more evidence that the elites don’t trust the Italian people. Mr. Mattarella has asked former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli to form a government, but he’s unlikely to win »

The Italian Crisis—and Ours

Featured image The media and the left (but I repeat myself) are in a tizzy that democracy in America is in imminent risk of being snuffed out, because Trump is at least Mussolini, if not Hitler. This is plainly ridiculous. As has been pointed out, Hitler would have gotten The Wall built and repealed Obamacare. Still, the Washington Post trumpets their self-regarding slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” while there is a flood »

The Italian Earthquake

Featured image Italy is known for severe earthquakes from time to time, and as Paul noted yesterday, Italy’s voters just delivered an 8.0 magnitude political earthquake. As the dust settles, it is clear this was no mere minor swing in the vote.  Henry Olsen (our podcast guest last week discussing populism in Europe) notes today: Italy had every reason to change course. Its economy has been stagnant for years. Neither centre-right nor »

The German Question, Again

Featured image It is a truism of economics and political science that “institutions matter.” Just ask Hillary Clinton about the electoral college, for example. Right now we are seeing an object lesson in the hazards of institutional design of parliamentary government playing out in Germany. Angela Merkel is the Theresa May of the continent, a person who ought to be fatally weakened by the election result. Check out this chart of the »

The Outlook from “New Europe”

Featured image SOFIA, Bulgaria, June 30—What the heck, I may as well get my Rebecca West on and file an old-fashioned “foreign correspondent” story from the the Balkans, where I’m visiting for several days that have included a seminar for graduate students and young professionals at New Bulgarian University, and yesterday a “strategic briefing” for business and political leaders, about which more in a moment. One of my favorite ledes from Whittaker »

Feel Good Photo of the Week [Updated by John]

Featured image British Prime Minister Theresa May has shown that she is no Ms. Maybe, and has formally triggered the Article 50 timetable for the UK to leave the European Union. Which has produced this most wonderful photo of the week, which really ought not to wait for Saturday: »

Why do the Eurocrats hate him?

Featured image Yesterday, in discussing Mike Pence’s speech in Munich, I argued that the animosity towards President Trump expressed by some of our European allies has little or nothing to do with Trump’s statements about Russia and NATO. Rather, the animosity stems from the fact that Trump isn’t a leftist and the view that he is a vulgarian. American left-wing elites despise Trump. Why expect European left-wing elites not to? I forgot, »

Trump on the EU and NATO

Featured image The Washington Post reports that European leaders are “shocked” by statements Donald Trump has made about the EU and NATO. According to the Post, these leaders fear a “transatlantic split.” What should we make of this story from an American perspective? I think we need to analyze the EU and NATO separately. Regarding the EU, Post reporter Michael Birnbaum points to a statement by Trump that he expects the EU »