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Posts Tagged ‘Buruma’

Trump and the Cosmopolitans

Posted by hkarner - 9. August 2017

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Life After Pax Americana

Posted by hkarner - 7. Juni 2017

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The End of the Left/Right Divide?

Posted by hkarner - 9. Mai 2017

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Trump the War President?

Posted by hkarner - 12. April 2017

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Hoping for the Best Against Trump

Posted by hkarner - 10. Januar 2017

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The End of the Anglo-American Order

Posted by hkarner - 5. Dezember 2016

Date: 04-12-2016
Source: The New York Times

For decades, the United States and Britain’s vision of democracy and freedom defined the postwar world. What will happen in an age of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage?

BY IAN BURUMABuruma

One of the strangest episodes in Donald Trump’s very weird campaign was the appearance of an Englishman looking rather pleased with himself at a rally on Aug. 24 in Jackson, Miss. The Englishman was Nigel Farage, introduced by Trump as “the Man Behind Brexit.” Most people in the crowd probably didn’t have a clue who Farage — the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party — actually was. Yet there he stood, grinning and hollering about “our independence day” and the “real people,” the “decent people,” the “ordinary people” who took on the banks, the liberal media and the political establishment. Trump pulled his face into a crocodile smile, clapped his hands and promised, “Brexit plus plus plus!”

Brexit itself — the decision to withdraw Britain from the European Union, notwithstanding the almost universal opposition from British banking, business, political and intellectual elites — was not the main point here. In his rasping delivery, Trump roared about Farage’s great victory, “despite horrible name-calling, despite all obstacles.” Quite what name-calling he had in mind was fuzzy, but the message was clear. His own victory would be like that of the Brexiteers, only more so. He even called himself Mr. Brexit. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Populism for the Rich

Posted by hkarner - 5. November 2016

Photo of Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. He is the author of numerous books, including Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and Year Zero: A History of 1945.

NOV 4, 2016 Project Syndicate

BUCHAREST – I recently joined a tour in Bucharest of the Palace of Parliament, the gigantic folly built in the 1980s on the orders of the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was executed before he could see it finished. The statistics rehearsed by our guide were staggering: the third biggest edifice in the world, 220,000 square feet of carpet, one million cubic meters of marble, 3,500 tons of crystal. The enormous marble stairways had to be rebuilt several times to match exactly the steps of the dictator, who was a small man.

To construct this neoclassical monstrosity, an entire swath of the city, a beautiful area of eighteenth-century houses, churches, and synagogues, was razed, displacing 40,000 people. More than a million people worked on the project non-stop day and night. It pretty much bankrupted the state, even as Ceauşescu’s subjects had to do without heat and electricity for much of the time. It still costs more than $6 million a year to maintain the palace, which now houses the Romanian parliament and an art museum, leaving 70% of the building unused.

Ceauşescu’s folly is a monument to megalomania. But it is by no means unique, except in its size (though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has tried to rival it in scale with his new palace in Ankara). It is indeed remarkable how megalomaniacs of a certain kind think alike, or at least share a similar taste in architecture. Hitler’s plans for the reconstruction of Berlin reflected the same neoclassical gigantism. And the interior of the palace in Bucharest, a kind of Louis XIV style on steroids, is just a more extravagant version of Donald Trump’s living quarters in Florida and New York. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Hair of the Top Dog

Posted by hkarner - 3. August 2016

Photo of Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. He is the author of numerous books, including Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and Year Zero: A History of 1945.

AUG 2, 2016, Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Much has been written about Donald Trump’s peculiar hairstyle, the kind of puffy, dyed comb-over one would associate with a downmarket nightclub manager rather than a presidential candidate. Is there really any more to be said? Actually, the question of hair in politics might not be as trivial as it seems.

It is remarkable how many politicians, especially on the populist right, have sported heterodox hairdos. Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, used black pencil to fill in the patches not covered by his two hair transplants. The Dutch demagogue Geert Wilders dyes his Mozartian bouffant platinum blond. Boris Johnson, the Brexit rabble-rouser, now UK foreign secretary, takes care to keep his straw-colored thatch in a permanent state of studied untidiness. All have scored highly with voters filled with anger and resentment at polished urban elites. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Little England and Not-so-Great Britain

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juni 2016

Photo of Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. He is the author of numerous books, including Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and Year Zero: A History of 1945.

JUN 29, 2016, Project Syndicate

AMSTERDAM – As an Anglo-Dutchman – British mother, Dutch father – I cannot help but take Brexit rather personally. I’m not a wholehearted Euro-enthusiast, but a European Union without Britain feels like losing a limb in a terrible accident.

Not all my fellow citizens are unhappy. The Dutch anti-EU, anti-Muslim demagogue Geert Wilders tweeted: “Hurrah for the British! Now it is our turn.” This kind of sentiment is more alarming, and more ominous, than Brexit’s implications for the future of the British economy. The urge to destroy can be contagious.

The United Kingdom’s image has changed literally overnight. For more than 200 years, Britain represented a certain ideal of liberty and tolerance (at least for many Europeans; Indians might have taken a somewhat different view). Anglophiles admired Britain for many reasons, including its relative openness to refugees from illiberal continental regimes. It was a place where a man of Sephardic Jewish origin, Benjamin Disraeli, could become Prime Minister. And it stood up to Hitler virtually alone in 1940. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Springtime for Fascism?

Posted by hkarner - 8. Juni 2016

Photo of Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma

Ian Buruma is Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. He is the author of numerous books, including Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and Year Zero: A History of 1945.

JUN 7, 2016, Project Syndicate

NEW YORK – Are we seeing a new dawn of fascism? Many people are beginning to think so. Donald Trump has been compared to a fascist, as has Vladimir Putin and a variety of demagogues and right-wing loudmouths in Europe. The recent tide of authoritarian bluster has reached as far as the Philippines, whose president-elect, Rodrigo (“The Punisher”) Duterte, has vowed to toss suspected criminals into Manila Bay.

The problem with terms like “fascism” or “Nazi” is that so many ignorant people have used them so often, in so many situations, that they have long ago lost any real significance. Few still know firsthand what fascism actually meant. It has become a catch-all phrase for people or ideas we don’t like.

Loose rhetoric has coarsened not only political debate, but historical memory, too. When a Republican politician compares US property taxes with the Holocaust, as one Senate candidate did in 2014, the mass murder of Jews is trivialized to the extent of becoming meaningless. The same is roughly true when Trump is compared to Hitler or Mussolini. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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