Arthur Goldhammer

Arthur Goldhammer is a writer, translator, and Affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard. He blogs at French Politics. Follow him on Twitter: @artgoldhammer.

Recent Articles

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Angela Merkel Suffers Backlash against Her Immigration Policy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pays the price for her open-door policy toward refugees as her party suffers a stunning defeat in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
AP Photo/Markus Schreiber German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the German parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Tuesday, September 6, 2016. O n Sunday, September 4, Germans in the small northeast German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern dealt German Chancellor Angela Merkel a stunning setback: Her Christian Democratic Union party finished third in a statewide election with just 19 percent of the vote . The far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which didn’t exist at the time of the last state election in 2011, captured close to 21 percent after a campaign that emphasized hostility to Merkel’s policy of opening Germany’s gates wide to more than a million immigrants and refugees over the past year and a half. Politicians of all stripes—not least within her own party —now see a possibility of ending Merkel’s 11-year reign as chancellor and 16 years as party leader. The chancellor has not yet announced whether she will seek a fourth term in national elections to be held next year. AfD’s rise...

The Great Paradox

Arlie Hochschild’s new book grapples with The Great Paradox: Why is hatred of government most intense among people who need government services most?

AP Photo/Rebecca Santana
AP Photo/Rebecca Santana A sign placed by resident Doug Ford welcomes Republican Presidential candadate Donald Trump on Friday, August 19, 2016 in St. Amant, Louisiana, an area ravaged by catastrophic flooding in recent weeks. I t is no secret that American political life has become increasingly polarized over the past several decades. In 2004, Barack Obama catapulted himself into the national limelight by denouncing the bitter antagonism between rival camps and suggesting that we heed “the better angels of our nature” rather than the preachers of divisiveness. Four years later he was elected president, only to discover for himself the width of the chasm he had once thought could be bridged simply by changing the tone of political discourse. As he prepares to leave office, the evidence is everywhere that the abyss has only grown wider and deeper. His enemies denounce him as a foreigner, a traitor, and an agent of every imaginable form of mischief and malevolence. The president’s...

New World (Dis)Order

In 1991 George H.W. Bush promised a “New World Order.” A quarter of a century later, we’re finally catching a glimpse of it—like it or not.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, on June 17, 2013. I t is now more than a quarter of a century since George H.W. Bush delivered to a joint session of Congress a speech calling for a “ New World Order .” In it, the president—famous for his skittishness about “the vision thing”—laid out an ambitious vision for the post-Cold War world. Although the Berlin Wall had fallen just over a year earlier, Bush still looked forward to a unipolar world led by the United States, with the Soviet Union as junior partner: “Our relationship to the Soviet Union is important, not only to us but to the world. That relationship has helped to shape these and other historic changes.” It was a heady time, with the demise of communism heralding for some “ the end of history .” For Bush, “the triumph of democratic ideas in Eastern Europe and Latin America and the continuing struggle for freedom elsewhere all around the...

A Turn in European Terror

Targets of terror in France and Germany have shifted from well-defened government facilities to more vulnerable public spaces. 

Sipa via AP Images
Sipa via AP Images Flowers, candles and messages are placed after Father Jacques Hamel was killed during an attack in a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, Normandy, France, July 27, 2016 O n July 26, while America was distracted by the nomination of Hillary Clinton and the continuing disgruntlement of the Bernie-or-Bust faction, terror in Europe took an ominous new turn. An 85-year-old Catholic priest was murdered in front of his altar and members of his congregation by two young terrorists whom ISIS immediately claimed as its “soldiers.” One of the attackers, 18-year-old Adel Kermiche , had reportedly attempted on two occasions to join ISIS forces in Syria, for which he was arrested and placed under electronic surveillance by French security forces. Why his electronic bracelet failed to prevent the attack will surely be a matter of great concern to investigators. Not only does the church killing in Saint-Etienne-du-Vouvray, a suburb of Rouen in Normandy, come less than two weeks...

Terror on the Bay of Angels

France is on the verge of losing its grip in the wake of repeated mass murder by members of its own minority communities.

AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani
AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani A French flag stands stall amongst a floral tribute for the victims killed during a deadly attack, on the famed Boulevard des Anglais in Nice, southern France, Sunday, July 17, 2016. N ice is a small gem of a city. With a population roughly half that of Boston, it lies sandwiched in a thin strip of littoral between the imposing Maritime Alps and the glorious Bay of Angels, Nice’s private patch of Mediterranean azure. The city combines a raunchily democratized remnant of 19th-century French elegance with a dollop of olive-tinged Italian bravado, complete with socca , the distinctive Niçois variant of the pizza ( Nissa la bella actually belonged to the king of Sardinia prior to the 1860 Treaty of Turin, and it was part of the Italian zone of occupation in World War II). The sea has carved out a breathtaking crescent of coast between the Nice airport (soon to be owned by a Chinese investor) and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, playground of the world’s wealthy, where Noel...