Jan-Werner Müller

Jan-Werner Müller's most recent book is Democracy Rules. He teaches at Princeton.

Poland after PiS

Jan-Werner Müller, 16 November 2023

Aliberal miracle​ on the Vistula: on 15 October, despite efforts by the reigning right-wing populists to make it an unfair contest, a motley opposition alliance ranging from left to centre-right prevailed in Poland’s parliamentary elections. Turnout was a record 74 per cent – higher than in the vote that ended communist rule in 1989. In a typical populist manoeuvre, Jarosław...

United Europe?

Jan-Werner Müller, 3 November 2022

Euro-cheerleaders liked to contrast the American way of promoting democracy – invade countries and make big profits for US companies – with the European one: make membership irresistible for neighbouring states, then peacefully transform polities from within (while making big profits for Western European companies). This sort of gloating stopped a while ago.

Germany Inc.: Europe’s Monsters

Jan-Werner Müller, 26 May 2022

In​ 1990 the heavy metal band Scorpions released ‘Wind of Change’, a song celebrating the end of the Cold War: ‘The future’s in the air/Can feel it everywhere.’ It also contained the hopeful lines: ‘Let your balalaika sing/What my guitar wants to say.’ It turns out, though, that they had it the wrong way round: it is Putin who calls the tune to which...

Prussian Disneyland

Jan-Werner Müller, 9 September 2021

The reconstructed palace, with Franco Stella’s razionalismo façade.

Thirty years ago​, the Bundestag voted to move from sleepy Bonn to newly unified Berlin. There was a lot of anxiety at the time that the change might signal the emergence of a more nationalist Germany, but even the most apprehensive couldn’t have imagined that the centre of the new-old capital, the...

Short Cuts: Blame Brussels

Jan-Werner Müller, 22 April 2021

The EU took on a task that should have brought it popularity, but for which it was ill-prepared; in the end, it performed, to quote the German finance minister, in a ‘shitty way’. As with the common currency and the refugee crisis, the union acquired features of a state – but in an incomplete and ultimately incoherent way. The Euro couldn’t function without a common fiscal policy; the shared border has lacked a unified asylum policy. And, as so often, the commission overpromised: ‘l’Europe qui protège’ ended up protecting free trade at least as much as the lives of citizens.

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