Ukraine’s vote proves Putin wrong and puts anti-Semitic past behind

By John Lloyd
October 31, 2014

Local resident listens before receiving a ballot during a parliamentary election inside her house in the village of Havronshchyna near Kiev

One of the themes that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried out to besmirch the Ukrainian revolt against pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich earlier this year was that fascists and anti-Semites were behind the uprising. The protesters, he proclaimed, were revolting in both senses of the word: They had chased out an elected president (true) and their actions had allowed “anti-Semitic forces [to go] on a rampage” (not true).

Pope Francis and his season of struggle

By John Lloyd
October 23, 2014

Pope Francis celebrates a mass in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican

This month, Pope Francis had to come clean.

Time’s Man of the Year for 2013, the object of seemingly universal affection, is a liberal: and that means a season – perhaps a papacy – of struggle. His honeymoon as the Amiable Argentinian is over.

Lessons of Ebola: Unequal in life, unequal in death

By John Lloyd
October 20, 2014

Health worker is reflected in a mirror as he prepares protective equipment near Rokupa Hospital

The most important and tragic speech of these times was given earlier this week, though the author was too busy to voice it herself. Dr. Margaret Chan, who leads the World Health Organization, sent her chief of staff to a WHO regional conference in Manila to spotlight something we rarely keep in our conscious mind and don’t, collectively, do much about: Inequalities can be a matter of ever-longer life, or a most miserable death.

Once the hamburgers are gone, can a government hold on?

By John Lloyd
October 10, 2014

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It’s often said that Russia’s Vladimir Putin, along with the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, owe their popularity and the relative stability of their nations to their success in giving their people not so much bread and circuses but McDonald’s hamburgers and satellite TV. If the burgers and entertainment dry up, the foundations of the two regimes are supposed to tremble.

Is ‘civil society’ imperialistic? Putin says yes, and he’s not alone.

By John Lloyd
October 4, 2014

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The word “imperialism” is still bandied about a good deal. Sometimes its meaning is traditional, as in the charge that President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is seeking to reassemble some part of the Russian imperium. Sometimes the meaning is flakier, as in the claim of Scots nationalists that England is a neo-imperial state on the lookout for wars in which to flex its flabby military muscles.

Despite Scotland’s choice, a November 9 vote could still tear Spain apart

By John Lloyd
September 26, 2014

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The Scots voted against independence last week, by a fair margin and most commentary from business leaders and financial analysts began with “a sigh of relief” – followed by a wary recognition that serious reform to Britain’s system of government had been promised, and that might again disturb the delicate nerves of investors.

Ukraine’s future lies with the West, but there is much suffering ahead

By John Lloyd
September 19, 2014

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Ukraine did something very Ukrainian this week. It sued for peace with Russia, apparently confirming a centuries-old subordination to Big Brother to the east. Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister jailed by the deposed President Victor Yanukovich and now leader of the political party Batkivshchyna, called the laws implementing peace by granting autonomy to parts of eastern Ukraine “humiliating and betraying.”

No gimmicks, just 10 good reasons why Scotland shouldn’t leave the UK

By John Lloyd
September 11, 2014

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Readers of a romantic bent, perhaps Scots or descendants of Scots, may think that it would be cool for Scotland to vote for independence from the United Kingdom next Thursday.

In clashes over Ukraine or Iraq, liberty must be defended

By John Lloyd
September 5, 2014

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A few weeks after Winston Churchill became British prime minister in 1940, he had to tell the House of Commons that Britain had just suffered one of the worst military defeats in its history. He announced the setback with these words:

Russian ‘realism’ is winning now, but will fail in the end

By John Lloyd
August 28, 2014

Russian President Putin speaks to the media after talks with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus

The world is no longer divided by communism vs. capitalism. But it’s still divided by ideologies that have their clearest expression in the policies of Russia and the United States. That division contrasts liberal and realist views of the world.