Germany Can’t Blame Trump for Its Slowing Economy

The port of Hamburg, Germany, May 27, 2008
The port of Hamburg, Germany, May 27, 2008 (Flickr/dmytrok)

Germany may be heading into a recession. Its economy shrank .1 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Donald Trump’s trade war with China is partly to blame, but it has also exposed Germany’s home-grown vulnerabilities: an overreliance on exports and weak domestic demand. Read more

Arguments For and Against Macron’s Mercosur Threat

French president Emmanuel Macron answers a question from a reporter in Helsinki, Finland, August 30, 2018
French president Emmanuel Macron answers a question from a reporter in Helsinki, Finland, August 30, 2018 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

French president Emmanuel Macron has threatened to hold up ratification of an EU trade deal with Mercosur unless Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro does more to fight fires in the Amazon Rainforest.

Canada, Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands have backed Macron up. Germany is less sure. Donald Trump is expected to side with Bolsonaro at the G7 summit this weekend.

Here are the arguments for and against the threat. Read more

Matteo Salvini Appears to Have Made a Huge Mistake

Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy's Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15, 2017
Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s Northern League, gives a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 15, 2017 (European Parliament)

Italy’s most popular politician appears to have made a huge mistake.

Matteo Salvini, the country’s hardline interior minister, brought down his far-right League’s government with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement on Tuesday, hoping to trigger early elections that polls suggest his party would win.

But none of the other parties are willing to play ball. Read more

Down in the Polls, Sanders Echoes Trump on Media Bias

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders gives a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, January 9, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

First, Bernie Sanders suggested the Democratic Party teamed up on him in 2016 to deny him the presidential nomination. (Of a party of which he is not even a member.)

Now he is suggesting The Washington Post is giving him unfavorable coverage because he has been critical of its owner, Jeff Bezos.

America already has one party that regularly calls the legitimacy of institutions like the academy, the FBI and NATO into doubt. It doesn’t need Democrats to do the same. Read more

Brexiteers to Parliament: Drop Dead

View of the Houses of Parliament in London, England, April 9, 2010
View of the Houses of Parliament in London, England, April 9, 2010 (Geir Halvorsen)

So much for the claim that Brexit was about restoring the sovereignty of British institutions.

According to a ComRes poll published in The Telegraph on Monday, more Britons would support Prime Minister Boris Johnson using any means necessary to take Britain out of the European Union than would oppose him — even if it meant suspending Parliament.

Of those with an opinion on the question, 54 percent of respondents said they agreed Johnson should do whatever it takes and prevent lawmakers from blocking Brexit. 46 percent disagreed.

If undecideds are included, the figures are 44 percent “agree” and 37 percent “disagree”. Read more

How We Talk About Our Opponents Matters

President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008
President George W. Bush speaks at a memorial ceremony, September 11, 2008 (US Navy)

Remember when George W. Bush was a fascist? When he signed the PATRIOT Act and launched the Iraq War, reasonable left-wing Americans voiced reasonable objections. The far left reached for Hitler.

Republicans dismissed this as over-the-top, because it was. (And it made it easier for them to dismiss those reasonable objections as well.) So when the real thing came along, and this time not only the far left but commentators on the center-right warned that Donald Trump had a lot in common with the worst leaders in European history, many Republican voters once again shrugged.

If anything, it made them support Trump more. As one voter told The Atlantic in 2016:

Give people the impression that you will hate them the same or nearly so for voting Jeb Bush as compared to voting for Trump and where is the motivation to be socially acceptable with Jeb?

The left continues to make this mistake — and so does the right. Read more

Serbia Needs to Break with Russia

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia inspect an honor guard in Belgrade, January 17
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia inspect an honor guard in Belgrade, January 17 (Presidential Press and Information Office)

Russia and Serbia share a rich history of religious tradition and support. Russia has stood by what it considers its little brother for centuries and it continues to do so today. Just last week, Serbia received ten armored patrol vehicles from Russia. Thirty T-72B3 tanks are underway.

Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić has thanked Vladimir Putin for beefing up the Serbian military, but he should be wary of the implications. If Serbia wants to join the EU, it must avoid playing with fire. Read more