Europe and Freedom
Debates with Ypi, Applebaum, Snyder, Mounk, Krastev, Slaughter, Fukuyama et al - & a crucial Turkish election
History of the Present (fortnight to 29 April 2023)
I spent much of the last fortnight preparing for, organising, hosting and speaking at the largest ever Dahrendorf Colloquium here at Oxford, on the subject of 'Europe and Freedom'.
Here's my lecture on 'Europe Whole and Free'.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Faisal Devji and Lu Xiaoyu give a very sobering take on 'Europe and Freedom: the View from Outside'.
Historians Timothy Snyder, Andreas Wirsching and Glenda Sluga on 'Freedom in Europe: The Last 50 Years'.
Lea Ypi got all our liberal blood pumping (and in some cases boiling), in a very lively debate with Anne Applebaum, Ivan Krastev and others on 'Freedom in Europe: Dimensions, Dilemmas and Prospects'.
And Francis Fukuyama sent us this interesting video.
We will be doing a full conference report in due course, including those sessions that were not video-recorded.
Europe as Postimperial Empire
As promised, here's a link to my essay in Foreign Affairs, exploring ways in which one can look illuminatingly at Europe through the lens of empire. I propose the apparent paradox that in order to become a genuinely post-imperial Europe, the EU itself needs to acquire some (more) of the features of an empire. A new kind of empire, that is, a liberal, non-hegemonic empire, ruled not by force and a single national hegemon but by law and the consent of participating states.
Fighting the Good Fight
What a difference it makes to have a well-informed, agile, smart interlocutor – and few are more so than Yascha Mounk. As a result this podcast, partly because it’s quite spontaneous on both our parts, seems to me one of the most lively explorations of the themes raised by Homelands. (Now also in German, Dutch and Estonian)
Let's Talk Turkey - May 14 Could be Decisive
I said earlier in this 'History of the Present' that the election in Turkey would be one of the two most important in Europe this year (the other being in Poland). And so it is shaping up to be. Despite the fact that this is anything but a level playing field, there seems a real chance that the opposition can win. What this shows is that even in regimes which are not proper democracies but rather a hybrid - sometimes called democradura or demokratura - elections still matter when there is sufficient accumulated popular discontent. After all, in the end Slobodan Milošević was toppled not by foreign intervention or an assassin's bullet, but in a relatively peaceful presidential election – plus an additional shove of civil resistance.
Keep all fingers and thumbs crossed that Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan loses the election on Sunday, May 14, and, what is more, accepts defeat.
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