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In Depth: Europe and Central Asia

28 Mar 2005

Contagious Democracy – The Second Breakup of the Soviet Union

Michael J. Totten's blog The liberal revolutions that swept through Eastern Europe toppled communist dictatorships like dominoes in a chain. But most of the Central Asian republics remain authoritarian – and in some cases, totalitarian. Some, like ...

27 Mar 2005

Baathism, Racism, and Terror

Michael J. Totten's blog There’s a new article by Kurdish writer Shirko Mula Qadir up on the Friends of Democracy site about the Baath Party’s connections to terrorism in the Middle East and fascism in Europe. He also has some hard-to-argue-with ...

5 Mar 2005

Syria Shudders

Michael J. Totten's blog I have high hopes for post-occupation Lebanon, despite — and certainly not because of — Lebanon’s history of violent ethnic conflict. Lebanon’s politics are notoriously ruthless, but there also exists a dynamic, sophisticated ...

28 Feb 2005

While I Was Out

Michael J. Totten's blog It looks like while I was out of town and bumming around the Caribbean all sorts of big stuff went down. When Shelly and I first arrived in San Juan I turned on the news for the first and only time. (Like I said a few days ...

15 Feb 2005

What happens in America stays in America..

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Mary Madigan According to David Brooks , when some American politicians go to Europe, they leave the Left/Right bickering at home.. There were Democrats and Republicans in this delegation, but you couldn’t tell who ...

14 Feb 2005

Smash Nazimarching

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Mary Madigan I’ve often wondered — whatever happened to the anti-fascist, anti-authoritarian left? They’re in the former GDR, and they call themselves the “Antifa”, or Anti-fascists. From an Antifa post, (Feb. 2003) ...

9 Feb 2005

Programming Note

Michael J. Totten's blog This Sunday I’m going to Puerto Rico for ten days. I’ve been travelling more than ever lately. I went to both Europe and North Africa twice in three months, and I went to the East Coast twice in one week. But this time Shelly ...

2 Jan 2005

Who’s Stingy?

Michael J. Totten's blog Jonathan Last notes that tsunami relief donations from rich Muslim countries are – shall we say – stingy compared with Japanese, Taiwanese, and Western donations. I don’t expect fat aid packages from Afghanistan and Somalia. ...

17 Dec 2004

Progressive Patriotism

Michael J. Totten's blog George Orwell is one of my favorite writers, not so much for his novels (which are great) but for the essays he wrote during World War II. One of the pleasures of re-reading his work is to see how the more things change the ...

11 Dec 2004

When in Rome

Michael J. Totten's blog I considered moving to Tokyo to teach English right out of college but then chickened out. I wasn’t ready to live abroad in an alien culture at 22. (Actually, I probably was. I just thought I wasn’t.) Six years ago, before ...

6 Dec 2004

They’ll Never Have Paris

Michael J. Totten's blog I don’t usually link to reviews of books I haven’t read. And I’ve never linked to a rebuttal to a review of a book I haven’t read. But sometimes these things are entertaining all by themeselves. Like now, for instance. John J ...

30 Nov 2004

Weirder Than Libya

Michael J. Totten's blog When you visit another country you meet other people who are also visiting the country. Inevitably you’ll discuss other places you’ve been. If you go to Costa Rica you’ll meet people who’ve been to Guatemala and Bolivia. Go ...

29 Nov 2004

Home From Libya

Michael J. Totten's blog Well, it’s a police state. You knew that already, I know, but it’s obviously a police state when you’re walking around in it. I saw more pictures of Ghaddafi during a week than in all the rest of my life put together. The ...

28 Nov 2004

A Laudable Use of Scare Quotes

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown It’s good to see this self-effacing tactic — in which a headline declares something while gently shaking its head lest you allow yourself to believe it — being used defensibly. Tell me what you think, ...

27 Nov 2004

Out of Libya

Michael J. Totten's blog I made it. I’m out of Libya and have moved on to a much more dangerous country – France. Think I’m kidding? It’s statisically possible I’ll be mugged here. And I spent much of the day looking at paintings and artifacts inside ...

24 Nov 2004

Our Turkey Day

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown We are staying in a lovely undisclosed hotel in Manhattan very near the Empire State Building which is lit up in red and green. It used to be lovely browns and oranges this time of year, but Christmas ...

23 Nov 2004

Ukraine Links

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown I admit I don’t know much about what’s going on in Ukraine. As I read up on it I’ll post some links that seem useful. Here are a few to start with: A fistful of Euros has numerous links for more ...

22 Nov 2004

Michael’s Latest on Tech Central

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown Check out Michael’s latest column on Tech Central Station. It’s an important subject that is not all over the blogs at the moment. This one’s about Belgium’s banning of the popular right wing political ...

21 Nov 2004

Learning Their Names

Michael J. Totten's blog Posted by Jeremy Brown Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum has launched a website offering online access to their recently completed database of over 3 million names of Jewish victims of the Nazi holocaust (via The New York ...

11 Nov 2004

News from the Rift

Michael J. Totten's blog London’s Telegraph reports that the Spanish media are blasting Prime Minster José Luis Rodr“guez Zapatero as the anti-American asshat that he is . The Spanish Socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodr“guez Zapatero, yesterday ...

10 Nov 2004

Holland Snaps

Michael J. Totten's blog It keeps getting uglier in the Netherlands since the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh. Volkskrant reports ( see Slate for details in English) that 5 Christian sites and 10 Muslim sites have been attacked in the past week. ...

9 Nov 2004

Arafat Officially Dead

Michael J. Totten's blog It looks like Yasser Arafat is finally – officially – dead . RAMALLAH, West Bank – Yasser Arafat, who triumphantly forced his people’s plight into the world spotlight but failed to achieve his lifelong quest for Palestinian ...

23 Oct 2004

New Column

Michael J. Totten's blog My latest Tech Central Station column is up. It’s about Turkey’s dicey relationship with the European Union: Turkey and the Problem of History . Europe and Central Asia Economy ...

21 Oct 2004

Once More Into the Breach

Michael J. Totten's blog Christopher Hitchens returns to The Nation to write one last column . One of the editors of this magazine asked me if I would also say something about my personal evolution. I took him to mean: How do you like your new right ...

18 Oct 2004

For and Against Bush

Michael J. Totten's blog Here is yet another endorsement of George W. Bush from a lifelong British lefty who now lives in New York: Sarah Baxter in the Times of London, a Democrat for Bush . I don’t know if there are enough of us to become a movement ...

10 Oct 2004

To the Shores of Tripoli

Michael J. Totten's blog I finally got my visa. I’m going to Libya at the end of next month. While you are at home eating Thanksgiving turkey, I will be here eating couscous and being led around by one of Ghaddafi’s official government babysitters: ...

7 Oct 2004

The Second Debate

Michael J. Totten's blog I only watched part of the debate tonight. I taped the whole thing and may sit down to absorb it this weekend. (Then again, I may not.) I found this one far more irritating than the first. I did see a few small pieces. And ...

6 Oct 2004

Documents: Saddam Bribed France, Russia, and China

Michael J. Totten's blog John Kerry rather undiplomatically described the allies of the United States as a “coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought, and the extorted.” As it turns out there really was a coalition of the bribed and the bought ...

5 Oct 2004

A Liberal Muslim Manifesto

Michael J. Totten's blog “We are of Muslim culture. We oppose misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and the political use of Islam. We reassert a living secularism.” That’s from A Muslim Manifesto From France published in this summer’s issue of ...

3 Oct 2004

Heinz-Kerry: No Blood for Oil!

Michael J. Totten's blog I can see why those on John Kerry’s campaign staff cringe when his wife Teresa pops off in public. She is no Hillary Clinton. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. (I like Hillary now more than I did before. She isn’t on my ...

28 Sep 2004

The Dark Towers of Paris

Michael J. Totten's blog I went to Europe for the first time on my honeymoon a little more than two years ago. Shelly and I started our trip in France, went south into Spain, and then north up to Amsterdam. She had been to Europe before. I had not, ...

26 Sep 2004

Department of Duh

Michael J. Totten's blog John Kerry must know the truth about France and Germany. He’s a senator. He’s been around a while. Our two “allies” didn’t refuse to help the coalition in Iraq because they don’t like Bush’s cowboy talk or because Rumsfeld ...

18 Sep 2004

“Militant” = Terrorist

Michael J. Totten's blog Nelson Ascher, for those of you who don’t know, is a Brazillian journalist based in Paris who also writes in English at his blog called Europundits . He speaks, reads and writes, gosh, I don’t know how many languages. He is ...

15 Sep 2004

Honesty = Disloyalty

Michael J. Totten's blog I’m enjoying the new blog by Eric the Unread , a disgruntled lefty type who lives somewhere in Britain and moved to the center like I did. (Hey, Eric. The Tories are useless, so at least you can stick with the Labor Party. I ...

8 Sep 2004

Fiddling on Two Fronts

Michael J. Totten's blog If you’re surprised by or skeptical of the following , please raise your hand in the comments: VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran is using negotiations with the European Union’s “big three” on suspending sensitive nuclear activities to ...

15 Aug 2004

Class Warfare – A Reality Check

Michael J. Totten's blog The Democratic Party is frequently accused of waging “class warfare” inside the United States for bickering with the GOP about the tax code. Now is a good time to revisit what class warfare actually looks like. From a blog I ...

11 Aug 2004

The Game Plan

Michael J. Totten's blog We’ve launched a full-blown offensive against Moqtada al-Sadr’s milita in Najaf. No doubt many will think we’re doomed for no other reason than because this is happening, without regard to what it might look like when it’s ...

24 Jul 2004

A Photo Tour of Tunisia

Michael J. Totten's blog Here is the North African coastline along the Gulf of Tunis as seen from the cliffside seaside village of Sidi Bou Said. In the days of Carthage the pagan God Baal was worshipped in a sanctuary atop the larger mountain Djebel ...

14 Jul 2004

The North is a Garden

Michael J. Totten's blog The fine old Tunis medina is an ancient maze of twisting streets, carpet stalls, cafes, shuttered windows, arched passageways, minarets, hanging baskets, gypsum lamps, scavenging cats, and secret paths. Western rap music ...

8 Jul 2004

The South is a Desert

Michael J. Totten's blog DOUZ, Tunisia – The sand gets in your teeth. This is not the sand you know. Not the rim of pulverized granules of silicon and rock that ring the beaches of the world, nor the finely ground dirt of the Great Basin, the Mojave, ...

26 Jun 2004

In Ottawa

Michael J. Totten's blog I’m in Ottawa, Canada, mildly jet-lagged and severely sleep-deprived. I was going to post some photos and commentary, but tonight it ain’t happening. First thing tomorrow (Monday) morning I go to the Libyan embassy to pick up ...

13 Jun 2004

European Earthquake

Michael J. Totten's blog Elections in both Britain and Germany all but annihilated the political status quo. The British Labour party came in a humiliating third place, which according to Andrew Sullivan is the worst showing at the polls of the party ...

11 Jun 2004

Tourism in Ottawa

Michael J. Totten's blog So it looks like I may have to fly 3,000 miles to Ottawa, Canada two weeks from now to run a 20-minute errand. (Yes, I’m serious. Long story. Don’t ask. Just understand that the Libyan tourism-visa bureaucracy is something to ...

5 Jun 2004

A Liberal Empire?

Michael J. Totten's blog I hate the word empire when used to describe the United States. If the US is an empire, it sure is empire-lite. We are not expanding the borders. It’s hard to have colonies when you don’t have any colonists. Aside from Iraq ...

4 Jun 2004

The Death of Ronald Reagan (Updated)

Michael J. Totten's blog Ronald Reagan is dead . I am not a member of his fan club. I’ve said plenty of things about him that I don’t regret, but I would choose not to say them in front of his family or in public on the day that he died. I did not ...

1 Jun 2004

Tilting at Science

Michael J. Totten's blog Michael Crowly writes in The New Republic about how America is rapidly falling behind the curve in a key sector of biotechnology. Last month, The Boston Globe published a science article, datelined from far away Brno, Czech ...

30 May 2004

The Weather Movie

Michael J. Totten's blog Saw The Day After Tomorrow . You know, the weather movie. Global warming cooks up Antarctica which melts fresh water ice into the ocean causing a breakdown in the salinity level which makes the North Atlantic current to go ...

27 May 2004

Fisking Pat Buchanan

Michael J. Totten's blog Pat Buchanan is being an ass again. Fisking him may be, as Gerard Van der Leun likes to put it, one of those Fish. Barrel. Bang! type of deals. But still it’s something that needs to be done every couple of months to reduce ...

20 May 2004

New Comments Policy

Michael J. Totten's blog It’s time to start cracking heads in the comment section. I’ve been getting too many complaints from reasonable people about trolls, and invariably the people who (rightly) complain tell me they don’t want to hang out here ...

19 May 2004

Brandon Mayfield Released

Michael J. Totten's blog My fellow Portlander Brandon Mayfield was arrested a while back because his fingerprint supposedly showed up on evidence connected to the terror attacks in Madrid. Turns out the fingerprint belonged to an Algerian national. ...

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