A Financial Times Best Political Book of 2017 An urgent examination of how the political and social volatility in Europe impacts the United States and the rest of the world. The dream of a United States of Europe is unraveling in the wake of several crises now afflicting the continent. The single Euro currency threatens to break apart amid bitter arguments between rich northern creditors and poor southern debtors. Russia is back as an aggressive power, annexing Crimea, supporting rebels in eastern Ukraine, and waging media and cyber warfare against the West. Marine Le Pen’s National Front won a record 34 percent of the French presidential vote despite the election of Emmanuel Macron. Europe struggles to cope with nearly two million refugees who fled conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. Britain has voted to leave the European Union after forty-three years, the first time a member state has opted to quit the world’s leading commercial bloc. At the same time, President Trump has vowed to pursue America First policies that may curtail U.S. security guarantees and provoke trade conflicts with its allies abroad. These developments and a growing backlash against globalization have contributed to a loss of faith in mainstream ruling parties throughout the West. Voters in the United States and Europe are abandoning traditional ways of governing in favor of authoritarian, populist, and nationalist alternatives, raising a profound threat to the future of our democracies. In Fractured Continent, William Drozdiak, the former foreign editor of The Washington Post, persuasively argues that these events have dramatic consequences for Americans as well as Europeans, changing the nature of our relationships with longtime allies and even threatening global security. By speaking with world leaders from Brussels to Berlin, Rome to Riga, Drozdiak describes the crises. the proposed solutions, and considers where Europe and America go from here. The result is a timely character- and narrative-driven book about this tumultuous phase of contemporary European history.
Germany today boasts the fastest growing population of Jews in Europe. The streets of Berlin abound with signs of a revival of Jewish culture, ranging from bagel shops to the sight of worshipers leaving synagogue on Saturday. With the new energy infused by Jewish immigration from Russia and changes in immigration and naturalization laws in general, Jeffrey M. Peck argues that we must now begin considering how Jews live in Germany rather than merely asking why they would choose to do so. In Being Jewish in the New Germany, Peck explores the diversity of contemporary Jewish life and the complex struggles within the community-and among Germans in general-over history, responsibility, culture, and identity. He provides a glimpse of an emerging, if conflicted, multicultural country and examines how the development of the European Community, globalization, and the post-9/11 political climate play out in this context. With sensitive, yet critical, insight into the nation's political and social life, chapters explore issues such as the shifting ethnic/national makeup of the population, changes in political leadership, and the renaissance of Jewish art and literature. Peck also explores new forms of anti-Semitism and relations between Jews and Turks-the country's other prominent minority population. In this surprising description of the rebirth of a community, Peck argues that there is, indeed, a vibrant and significant future for Jews in Germany. Written in clear and compelling language, this book will be of interest to the general public and scholars alike.
Since 1989, the Cold War has ended, new nations have emerged in Eastern Europe, and revolutionary struggles to establish liberal ideals have been waged against repressive governments throughout the world. Will the promise of liberalism be realized? What can liberals do to make the most of their opportunities and construct enduring forms of political order? In this important and timely book, a leading political theorist discusses the possibility of liberal democracy in Western and Eastern Europe and offers practical suggestions for its realization. Bruce Ackerman begins by sketching the challenges faced a Western Europe free for the first time in half a century to determine its own fate without the constant intervention of the United States and the Soviet Union. Unless decisive steps are taken, this moment of promise can degenerate into a new cycle of nationalist power struggle. Revolutionary action is now required to build the foundations of a democratic federal Europe—a union strong enough to keep the peace and to combat the threat of local tyrannies. Ackerman next considers Eastern Europe and discusses fundamental problems overlooked in the rush to build market economies there. He points out that leading countries—including Poland, Hungary, and Russia—have yet to establish new constitutions, contenting themselves instead with hasty amendments to old Communist documents. This is a great mistake, says Ackerman, for there is an urgent need to constitutionalize liberal revolution, and the window of opportunity for doing this is far smaller than many people realize. Neither judicial efforts to punish collaborators with the old regimes and to redress wrongs done to their victims nor the judicial activism now sweeping Eastern Europe should take priority over the formulation of democratically legitimated constitutions. Ackerman concludes by considering the impact of 1989 on South Africa, Latin America, and the United States, exploring how decisive liberal action throughout the world can help to expand the range of functioning constitutional democracies and recover liberalism's lost revolutionary heritage. .
While the major trends in European integration have been well researched and constitute key elements of narratives about its value and purpose, the crises of integration and their effects have not yet attracted sufficient attention. This volume, with original contributions by leading German scholars, suggests that crises of integration should be seen as engines of progress throughout the history of European integration rather than as expressions of failure and regression, a widely held assumption. It therefore throws new light on the current crises in European integration and provides a fascinating panorama of how challenges and responses were guiding the process during its first five decades.
Book two of A History of the Universe starts where the first volume left off: the arid and treacherous brush of North-East Africa. It was there that a tiny tribe of nomadic primates set out on an unlikely journey of world conquest. Dr. Kong traces the steps of these intrepid early modern humans from the cradles of civilization to the great empires of antiquity: Greece, Rome, Persia, and Byzantium. Meet the masters of bygone times from Alexander to Zoroaster. Relive the great discoveries of Archimedes, the sermons of Saint Paul, the philosophy of Shankara, and the poetry of Lao Tzu. From the caveman to the Crusades, it's all here, complete with counterfactual arguments. 'Humanity' is an intellectual feast for the senses.
One of the West’s leading intellectuals offers a provocative look at America’s withdrawal from world leadership and the rising powers who seek to fill the vacuum left behind The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world, and to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognized their importance, at home and abroad. But as Bernard-Henri Lévy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Lévy shows how these five—Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism—are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilization. The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive. As seen on Real Time with Bill Maher (2/22/2019) and Fareed Zakaria GPS (2/17/2019).
Sixteen interdisciplinary essays on topics ranging from wildlife management to soil conservation, the Cape in the 19th century to Ethiopia in the 1980s, reveal the integral role of conservation policies in Africa's future.