March 2, 2019
Hold the presses! More Germans trust Vladimir Putin’s Russia than Trump’s United States. This is earth-shattering news, a scoop like no other. If this were 1969 the moon landing would be a smaller headline. And guess who came up with the scoop: none other than The New York Times, the paper that first told us that there was no famine in the Soviet Union back in the 1930s. (Five million Ukrainians died, but the writer of the Times, Walter Duranty, got a Pulitzer.)
Europe used to be a very pleasant old place to visit and to live in. I know. I’ve lived in France, England, Greece, and Switzerland most of my life. We have old churches over here, some very old monuments, and we speak different languages. The Dutch have dikes and wooden shoes, the Venetians have streets full of water, and the Hungarians eat goulash. Greeks love the past because 2,500 years ago we were No. 1. Italians love their history because 2,000 years ago they were No. 1. The French adore their history because for a brief moment they were the top bananas, as were the British after them. No one ever conquered Russia because it was much too cold, although two men came close. The Serbian knights fought bravely for Christianity against the dreaded Muslims, the Hungarians rose up against the Soviet yoke in 1956, and of course the Battle of Lepanto ensured that Christianity would prevail in the old continent once and for all.
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Until today, that is. Some seventy years ago, a Frenchman and a Belgian thought up an economic scheme to stop the Germans from overrunning the…