James Kirchick

Did the Cold War ever end?

Vladimir Putin turned seventy on October 7, but Garry Kasparov was not in the mood for a celebration. The Russian dissident, author and chess grandmaster had been invited to address the community of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where, seventy-six years ago, Winston Churchill famously announced the descent of an ‘iron curtain’ across the European

Diary – 16 May 2019

There are many places where a gay Jewish couple wearing yarmulkes wouldn’t feel comfortable walking down the street. I didn’t think west London was one of them. Ambling along Edgware Road to a wedding at the West London Synagogue, however, my partner feels something land on his jacket. At first, he believes it is bird

The ominous political genius of Steve Bannon

In his fateful interview with Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, Steve Bannon’s remarks about taking a tougher stand on trade with China, battling his enemies within the administration, and the futility of military action against North Korea generated the most headlines. But it was a widely overlooked comment about identity politics that offers the

Who does Bernie Sanders think he is?

You have to admire Bernie Sanders’s chutzpah. For almost the entirety of his over 40-year career in politics, Sanders pointedly abstained from joining the Democratic Party. He is a ‘democratic socialist’, officially registered as an independent, and has never been elected to office as a Democrat, seeing that party as insufficiently collectivist. Sanders only affiliated himself

Hillary’s left turn

The centrist Democratic party bequeathed to President Barack Obama by Bill Clinton is not the one he will leave to his successor. By every measure, it is more left-wing, and more populist both in spirit and ideological composition. And this poses serious problems for the campaign of the candidate seen as America’s most likely next

How fascist is Ukraine’s Svoboda?

 Kiev Ihor Miroshnychenko, a parliamentarian from Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, is an ‘emotional’ man. That is the word that he and his colleagues use to describe his raiding the headquarters of the country’s state television broadcaster last month. Accompanied by five other Svoboda bully boys, Miroshnyschenko berated and beat the station director before forcing

This Town, by Mark Leibovich – review

Many books have been written about the corruption, venality and incestuousness that characterise Washington DC, but none has been as highly anticipated or amusing as This Town. Written by Mark Leibovich, the senior national correspondent for the New York Times magazine, it has been on the minds of Washington’s chattering classes for at least two

The British paedophile who’s still on the run

In the current issue of the Spectator, I write about Warwick Spinks, a convicted British paedophile who hid in plain sight in Prague for some 15 years. In 1997, having already been released early from a 7-year (later reduced to 5-year) prison sentence delivered in 1995, Spinks violated the terms of his probation and fled

When the bloke in the bar turns out to be a paedophile

To the British tabloids, he was ‘the Pied Piper of paedophiles’, the UK’s ‘most wanted child abuser’. But we all knew him as Willem: the fat, jolly, occasionally lecherous Dutchman who was a mainstay of Prague’s expatriate gay community. If you visited one of the city’s same-sex watering holes before last August, when Czech police