Where I Go: Lithuania’s Vanished Center of Jewish Life

In Vilna, Where Thousands Were Murdered, I Learned How Difficult It Is to Mourn an Absence

I did it all backward. Instead of taking my research trips before writing my book, like any normal historian would have, I’d waited. Only after I had completed my first draft did I finally make my way to Vilna (now Vilnius), the capital of Lithuania during its brief moment of independence in the interwar period.

In June 1941, when German troops overran the country, Vilna was home to 55,000 Jewish residents and 12,000–15,000 refugees from German-occupied Poland. Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, the spiritual and academic center of Holocaust remembrance, described Vilna …

A Letter From Kyiv, Where Reality Is Being Papered Over | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Kyiv, Where Reality Is Being Papered Over

In Ukraine’s Capital, the COVID-Era Accentuates, and Hides, Big Divides

Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital and the seventh-most populous city in all of Europe, is governed by a strange combination of a Soviet and a post-Soviet mentality. Many have no trust in …

The U.S.-China Rivalry Isn’t a New Cold War; It’s Bigger Than That | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The U.S.-China Rivalry Isn’t a New Cold War; It’s Bigger Than That

The Fact That the Two Countries Are Interdependent Makes Both War and Peaceful Cooperation More Possible

The rivalry between China and the United States is not a new Cold War, but it involves profound competition along economic, technological, and economic lines that create dilemmas for other …

The Damning Silence of Polish Americans | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Damning Silence of Polish Americans

My People Protested Tyranny in the 1980s. Why Didn’t They Step Up in 2020?

I march in the anti-police brutality protests in New York following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

These aren’t my first protests—far from it. As the child of …

The (Actual) Communist Agents Who Lurked Among Us

American Fears About Soviet Spycraft Never Seemed to Match Reality

Russian spies held a morbid fascination in the minds of Americans dating back to the Red Scare in 1919, following the Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of the Communist International, …

The Man Who Explained the Soviets to America

How George F. Kennan's Passion for Russia Colored Our Cold War Strategy

The enduring irony of George F. Kennan’s life was just how much the architect of America’s Cold War “containment” strategy—aimed at stopping Soviet expansionism—loved Russia.

Kennan arguably played a …