How Trump’s ‘Green Light’ Moment in Syria Shook the World

There was a time when the withdrawal of roughly 50 American Special Forces from a couple of outposts in a remote part of Syria wouldn’t have generated a wave of angst across the world about the United States unceremoniously dumping its allies and terminating the international system it has led for more than 70 years. That time is decidedly not now. When I recently asked a European official about the fate of the Syrian Kurds, who, after that U.S. retreat in October, came under Turkish assault, the official referenced President Donald Trump’s contention that the fighting had “nothing to do with” the United States. In just over a week, the… Read More

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Boris Johnson Is Not Britain’s Donald Trump. Jeremy Corbyn Is.

Donald Trump has claimed Boris Johnson as his bumbling, blond-haired mini-me from across the water. The U.K. Labour Party is doing all it can to push the same message ahead of next month’s general election, claiming there is a Trump-Johnson alliance at foot. Even Hillary Clinton has criticized the British prime minister for his refusal to publish a report into Russia’s involvement in the Brexit referendum. And yet, by any serious audit of the two men and what they represent, it is not Boris Johnson who is Britain’s Trump. It’s Jeremy Corbyn. Take away Brexit, and Johnson is a run-of-the-mill conservative whose policy agenda, instincts, and world view, as opposed… Read More

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Why It Pays to Know What Your Male Colleagues Earn

On a cold November morning, a group of women—and a few men—gathered in front of Holborn tube station, in Central London. At 9 a.m. sharp, two of them linked arms with Samira Ahmed and walked the television presenter down the street to the building where her pay-discrimination case would be heard. It was a gesture of both support and defiance: Over the seven days of hearings, Ahmed took on a British giant. Ahmed, who has worked for the BBC since 1990, alleges that the British state-funded broadcaster systematically underpaid her because she is a woman. She has already won two pay claims relating to her other work on BBC radio.… Read More

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Erdogan and Trump: Date Night for a Troubled Marriage

He defied the United States repeatedly, bought Russian weapons, and assaulted American partners in Syria. Now Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is headed to the White House for a meeting with Donald Trump. So will he get away with it? Probably. The past few years show a pretty clear pattern: When Turkey released the detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, Trump lifted sanctions he’d imposed to get Brunson back; when Turkey insisted it would move forward with the purchase of a Russian air-defense system, Trump demurred from imposing retaliatory sanctions mandated by U.S. law. And despite the bipartisan outcry over Turkey’s move against Kurdish forces in Syria, Congress has yet to… Read More

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‘We Might As Well Go Down Fighting’

HONG KONG—For months now, I’ve been told that Hong Kong’s protests would end soon. They’ll end when school starts, I heard during the summer. School did start, but the protests wore on, only now I saw high-school students in crisp school uniforms joining the protesters’ ranks. Next, the mask ban of early October was supposed to slow protesters down, but the very first day after that ban, I watched streams of protesters in masks and helmets make their way to their usual haunts on Hong Kong Island. The government shut down many of the subway lines that day, a practice that has become a de facto curfew, because Hong Kong’s… Read More

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Veterans ‘Deprogram’ War Through Dance

“Keep your fingers straight and off the trigger. Do not point the rifle at anyone you do not intend to shoot.” That’s Roman Baca, a U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran. But he’s not speaking to the company of soldiers he led during his tour as a sergeant in Fallujah, Iraq. Here, Baca is instructing a company of ballet dancers. In the riveting short documentary Exit 12: Moved by War, directed by Mohammad Gorjestani in collaboration with Even/Odd and Square, Baca shares the story of his remarkable transformation from a veteran with PTSD to a choreographer who helps others heal from the trauma of war through dance. “We were trained… Read More

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Can Marriage Counseling Save America?

Photographs above and throughout are of attendees at a Better Angels “Red/Blue” workshop held in San Francisco this fall. Back in the 1970s, Kingsley Amis—the grumpy British novelist now remembered mostly as the father of the slightly less grumpy novelist Martin—made a remark that even today holds a high place in the anthologies of human grumpiness: “If there’s one word that sums up everything that’s gone wrong since the war, it’s Workshop.” Amis died in 1995, so he had the misfortune of living to see the workshop triumph as the primary means of socialization and instruction in American commercial and cultural life. He might have even lived long enough to… Read More

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Can Marriage Counseling Save America?

Photographs above and throughout are of attendees at a Better Angels “Red/Blue” workshop held in San Francisco this fall. Back in the 1970s, Kingsley Amis—the grumpy British novelist now remembered mostly as the father of the slightly less grumpy novelist Martin—made a remark that even today holds a high place in the anthologies of human grumpiness: “If there’s one word that sums up everything that’s gone wrong since the war, it’s Workshop.” Amis died in 1995, so he had the misfortune of living to see the workshop triumph as the primary means of socialization and instruction in American commercial and cultural life. He might have even lived long enough to… Read More

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Italy Has an Intolerance Problem. Does It Still Have a Moderate Right?

ROME—When Liliana Segre, the face of Italy’s historical memory of the Holocaust, was named a senator for life last year, it was something of an honorary title for the 89-year-old grandmother. Segre, who was deported to Auschwitz at 13, No. 75191 tattooed on her arm, has spent her life speaking about her experience. She could easily have remained a figurehead in her new role. Instead, she has used her platform to speak up about minority rights in Italy in the face of rising right-wing populism. In the process, she has become a moral authority and a woman in a position of prominence, in a country that often lacks both. Today… Read More

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Before the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Paul Schutzer / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty In August of 1961, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) began erecting a barrier to prevent East Berliners and other Eastern Bloc citizens from fleeing into West Berlin. Walls that started as small barriers became, over time, massive concrete structures dotted with watchtowers overlooking buffer zones known as “death strips.” During the 28 years it stood, only about 5,000 people managed to cross over the wall, escaping into West Berlin. More than 100 are believed to have been killed in the attempt, most shot by East German border guards. In 1989, waves of protest in East Berlin and a flood of… Read More

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