Category: Europe

Easing the Greek Burden

When the European Central Bank (ECB) on January 22 launched its long-expected expansion of its quantitative easing (QE) program, the world markets looked on with hopeful eyes. Seeking to spur growth and raise European inflation to around 2 percent, the ECB’s plan is simple. Every month starting in March 2015, the ECB will buy approximately… Read more »

The Politics of Public Debt

Greece’s entry into the Eurozone in 2001 was heralded as a victory for the European community. The creation of the euro represented the culmination of post-war European cooperation, and an expansion to Greece proved that that Europe’s goal of centralized economic planning could be successfully exported. For Greeks as well membership in the Eurozone cemented… Read more »

Nationalism and the Future of the European Union

Several months ago, the people of Scotland voted rather narrowly (about 55%-45%) to remain a part of the United Kingdom. On the surface, this seems like it should have been a massive blow to the Scottish National Party (SNP), who championed the referendum. After all, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond did resign in the days after… Read more »

They Voted No – Now What? Scottish Devolution After the Vote

On September 18, 2014, Scotland held a referendum with only one question on the ballot: Should Scotland become an independent country? In the end, the vote came to 54.2% against an independent Scotland and 45.7% for an independent Scotland. However, this does not mean that the balance of power in the UK will remain the… Read more »

The West Lothian Question: What’s the difference between “English” & “British”?

The recent referendum in Scotland raised some important questions about devolution, the process of Westminster gradually granting what former Prime Minister William Gladstone called “home rule” to Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. For instance, what does it mean to be British –a word too often used synonymously with “English”- and what justification would be… Read more »

UKIP and Friends: Free Expression and the New Right in the United Kingdom

In August of 2014, a profoundly disturbing story broke in the United Kingdom. In the small city of Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, approximately 1400 children had been the victims of sexual abuse since 1997 as local authorities failed to respond. A report released by Alexis Jay, former Chief Inspector of Social Work in the town,… Read more »

France’s Hateful New Gesture

A new gesture called the “quenelle” has been making its way into the pictures of French adolescents, writers, and footballers alike. The quenelle is almost militaristic in appearance, and unlike typical poses such as the thumbs up, it carries an implicit political message, though the meaning of that message is still unclear. It has been… Read more »

How New is the New Pope?

On paper, the Pope is not a very powerful head of state. He rules over a tiny country, less than one square mile with fewer than one thousand residents. His influence and soft power, however, extend to well over one billion individuals throughout the world. Because Popes rule until they die or resign, the ascension… Read more »

A Tale of Two Countries

The grim scenery of Stakhanov, Ukraine somehow fits the city in an appropriate way. The former industrial boomtown now plays home to a rapidly aging set of workers, where pensioners outnumber tax-paying workers three to one. The city relies on Russia to buy up to 90 percent of its industrial goods, with many factories barely… Read more »

Ghost of the Caucasus: Doku Umarov and the Russian Jihad

Russian President Vladimir Putin lost control over the narrative in Sochi long before the athletes arrived. The Winter Olympics, originally intended to showcase Russia’s resurgence under Putin, have been derailed by controversy over newly passed laws against “homosexual propaganda,” endless debate about Edward Snowden, and, above all, growing fears over terrorism. Explosions and smoke have… Read more »