Degrees in History, Politics and Iranian Studies. Wrote in the past for http://Fivethirtyeight.com. https://twitter.com/DanielBerman2
Reflections on the on the fate of the Republic
The events at the US Capitol were not a victory for the Constitution or for Congress. Like most failed coups, the winners were political actors other than the protagonists.
We have a deal!
That the UK and the European Union concluded a trade agreement is far from any triumph of diplomatic skill. The real significance of Brexit lays in what the process revealed about both sides.
What if there was an election and no one cared? Venezuela's Opposition goes out with a whimper
Official turnout in Sunday's Venezuelan National Assembly election was a paltry 31% indicating that Maduro and his ruling PSUV did not even have to bother to rig. The opposition had all but ceased to exist beforehand.
A Deal at what cost?
Rumors of a breakdown in talks at the last moment between the UK and the EU in the past have been the prelude to the announcement of a new deal, it is unclear why this time should be different.
Present at the Restoration
Joe Biden's National Security team represents a belief that the Trump years were an aberration. It was the same conclusion Obama's incoming drew in 2009 regarding the Bush years.
Which Polls are right? Thoughts on the state of the race
After 2016. it was a given that skepticism would exist about Presidential polling. That uncertainty has manifested in two polling universes. One show ing a close EC race and a 3-4 point Biden lead and the other a blowout
A War No One Wants
The Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict has not only set back the development of both states, it has crippled the economic and political ambition of Turkey, Russia, Iran, and the West in the region. Yet it continues.
Present at One's Own Funeral: David Cameron's Memoirs
There is one character missing from David Cameron's memoirs, whose motives, thoughts, and feelings remain a mystery after hundreds of pages. The author
The Great Laziness: "The Great" Abandons Historical Accuracy for a Less Compelling and Backwards Fiction
Deviations from the historical record are common in entertainment. What is less common is deviations which make the past appear more backwards socially and less interesting dramatically.
Covid19: Where I am watching the numbers? - Updated Daily(Latest 4/27/2020)
For all the focus on Covid19 in Europe and the United States, it is the rise in cases and deaths outside of those continents which poses a longer-term threat to a quick economic recovery
How the Outbreak of the Corona-virus in Iran May Cause a Geopolitical Earthquake
All signs point to an uncontrolled outbreak of Ncov19 among Iran's political and military elite. The virus has the potential to not just topple the Iranian regime but reshape the Middle East.
Merkel Alone: Merkel's System is Sturdy But Lacks a Future
The resignation of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauern was not a blow to the Chancellor per se. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had already failed. But it raises questions whether anyone else can continue it.
The Real Problem with the Democratic Race is not Ideology but Boredom
After years of 24/7 crisis coverage by MSNBC and CNN, and complex intercene squabbles on left twitter, the Democrats have produced the most insider-friendly campaign in history. No wonder the public is tuning out
Why Republican Should Be Wary of Bernie Sanders
Republicans are eager to face Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders this fall, but should be wary of rushing into a manichean battle against Socialism without the proper groundwork having been laid
A Way out of the Brexit Impasse
Discussion has focused on Parliament's passage of legislation outlawing "No Deal" in terms of British domestic politics. But by allowing the EU to submit extensions to a Commons vote it opens a different option.
Jeremy Corbyn Holds No Deal in His Hands
A majority in Parliament probably will be able to stop a No Deal Brexit and almost everyone assumes it will. But all such assumptions rest on Jeremy Corbyn cooperating. The real question is why should he?
The Only Way for the Conservatives to Win on Brexit is to Lose
There is a lack of reality about the Conservative leadership contest that goes beyond basic math or parliamentary arithmetic. No one considers what they hope Brexit will accomplish.
Brexit at High Tide: Remain is winning the Guerilla War on Brexit
The Brexit Party won the 2019 European Elections in the United Kingdom, but Brexit as a cause lost. By failing to breakthrough outside traditional right-wing voter circles, all incentive for Labour to back Brexit is gone
Thoughts on the European Elections Part 1: Europe Wide
It was not a good night for the far-right in Europe or Brexiteers in the UK, but it was nowhere near as much of a success for their opponents as some seem to believe.
Theresa May united her party in the end
Theresa May's resignation represents not Conservative divisions over Brexit, but an increasing consensus. Whatever the merits of the policy, the Tories must go down as the party of Brexit.
The Farcical Self-Inflicted Disaster that is the Venezuelan Opposition
The Venezuelan opposition's efforts to remove Maduro have done more than anything else to ensure his continued survival, and Juan Guaido's bid for power is a farce that is in danger for transforming into tragedy
Parliament Fiddles, While Remainers Push Britain Towards the Cliff
Steve Baker may have not been at his most reflective when he lashed out at the House of Commons' grandstanding over indicative votes, but he was absolutely right to describe it as pantomime carried out by cowards.
The EU Gives the UK a Final Chance to Determine its Fate
The results of the EU Summit on March 21-22 were a major humiliation to Theresa May, as the EU bypassed her to issue an ultimatum directly to the UK Parliament. But they did so with little hope it would be taken up.
The EU Contemplates Letting the UK Fall Off the Cliff
While I still believe the UK is headed for a long Article 50 extension, I increasingly feel the EU is contemplating the prospect of a "Temporary No Deal" to remove the threat of an A50 revocation and teach a lesson
Vice: A 120 Minute Trip Into An Alternate History Mytopia
Someone, someday, should try to make a biopic about Richard Cheney. Vice, by contrast, is a satircal film about how its director and intended see American politics. Conspiratorial, incomprehensible, and tainted.
Brexit Endgame December: A Choice of Poison
The decision to pull the vote on her proposed agreement with the EU may have saved Theresa May a defeat in the Commons, but it may have forfeited a chance to force a confronation with the bankrupcy of almost all options
Brexit Endgame November
With a "deal" imminant, Theresa May faces the likihood of defeat in the Commons as MPs of all stripes vote for Schrodinger's rejection. But Jeremy Corbyn, not Remainers or Leavers, , holds almost all the card
What does the EU think it is doing on the Kosovo-Serbian border agreement?
Germany has a long tradition of adopting stubborn stands in the Balkans out of misplaced principle leading to disaster, from 1914 to 1991. But the opposition to a land swap between Kosovo and Serbia is truly absurd
Merkel, and the avoidable migration political crisis within the EU
Critics are right to suggest that the current fight over migration is motivated as much by political ambitions as security threats. But Angela Merkel has done more than anyone else to make it that way
Why the US Congress is Headed to a Shutdown over DACA
It is an article of faith among the American political elite that the DACA program is universally popular and a political winner for Democrats. That premise is being put to the test this week.
Polling, Media Narratives and the Virginia Governor's race
The temptation for journalists to focus on the "horse race" of campaigns has always existed, but few have seen their coverage as totally determined by the results of questionable polls than today's Virginia elections
How to lose a constitutional struggle 101
The inexplicable inaction of the Catalonian government following the referendum vote shifted the political initiatative back to the Spanish government, and has left seccesionists divided and demoralized
"Both Sides are in the Wrong" Seccesionist Gamesmanship in Spain and the Myth of Excessive Force
The Spanish government was in a no situation with regards to the Catalan referendum. Precedent showed that allowing it to proceed would have established its legitimacy, whereas enforcing the law was a PR disaster
The Fatal Lack of Republican Messaging on Healthcare
A flaw of Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare has been a lack of agreement on why they are doing so. With the most recent effort, there seems to have been a abandonment of even trying to claim healthcare will improve
European Elections 2017: The Far-Right recedes?
Upcoming elections in Austria, Germany, and Norway appear likely to be dissapointments for the far-right. But with the exception of Norway, this owes more to a resurgence of the center-right than a leftward swing
The cult of Robert E. Lee and may have served its purpose, but we need an alternative not erasure
The criticisms of the cult of the Confederacy in the South, that it excludes African Americans and minimizes the crimes of slavery are beyond a doubt true. But critics seem more interested in destroying idols than unity.
Interesting Numbers in Venezuala
Venezuela's recent Constituent Assembly elections were a mockery, but so is every other aspect of governance in the country at this point. The struggle is no longer about ideology, but rather power.
The Overdue Decision to Cut America's Losses in Syria
US aid to the Syrian opposition never had a political objective, and therefore lacked any viable military goals as well. The decision of the Trump Adminstration to terminate it will be spun as Pro-Russian, but is overdue
The "Soft Brexit" myth: If "Hard Brexit" is off the table, the UK should withdraw Article 50
It is now clear that on Brexit there is no "deal" to be made. If British voters truly value immigration control more than economics they need to be prepared to walk. And if they value economics, "Soft Brexit" is a fraud
Thoughts on the 2017 UK General Election
The implications of the Conservative government of Theresa May losing its majority in the House of Commons on June 9th, 2017 have dominated media discourse. Momentous enough, exageration has taken the place of analysis
Iran's Other Elections
For all the focus on Rouhani's reelection as President, the real shift in Iran happened downballot a delayed effect of how important the transfer of the Presidency in 2013 actually was despite the limitations.
Closing the Gap? The UK Elections 14 Days Out
Even before last nights YouGov and Survation polls the gap was already closing between Labour and the Tories. The dynamics of the campaign made this inevitable, just as they ensure the tough part lies ahead for Corbyn
28 Days out: The UK 2017 Elections
The first of several looks at the polling, campaigns, and dynamics of the UK 2017 election..
General Jackson is Dead Sir
Recent comments about the Civil War have reopened a debate that wrongly focuses on "what the Civil War was about?" rather than the more interesting question of why it had to be fought.
The Worst of Timing: Why Scotland's Second Bid for Independence Will Earn a Cold Shoulder From the EU
The decision of the Scottish Government to seek a second referendum is a gamble that the panic surrounding Brexit will disguise the fact that the prospects for an independent Scotland are worse than in 2014
A Feature, Not a Bug: Why May is using the status of EU Nationals to tempt her enemies into destruction
Theresa May's stubborness on the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK will force hard choices on many MPs. That is precisely why the Prime Minister is so insistent on doing it.
Why not break up Bosnia?
Twenty years after it successfully ended a war, the Dayton structure has failed miserably at building a stable and united Bosnia in peace. Why not allow the state to split up?
Germany's Boring Election: Is Merkel's Reserve of Political Lives Growing Short?
As Germans prepare to go to the polls, the greatest threat to Angela Merkel is neither anger over her asylum policy, nor populism of the right or left. Nor even is it new SPD leader Martin Schulz. It is boredom itself
Symbiotic Polarization: How Intersectionality Birthed the Alt-Right
For all the venom directed at "Facists" by leftwing activists throughout history, the truly revolutionary forces on the right have always taken their inspirationn from the example set by their leftwing counterparts
The Politics of TPP and Mexico City
By connecting killing TPP and the reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy on abortion, the Trump Adminstration handed orginized labor their greatest politican win in decades while ensuring foes would only talk abortion
When did Obama abandon the Syrian opposition? And why did he never let his UN Ambassador know it?
For all the talk of an Obama-doctrine giving way to a Pro-Russian Trump policy, the shift back to realism already occured during the Syrian conflict.
Old Statesman Merely Fade Away: Ali Akbar Rafsanjani 1934-2017
The dominant figure in Iran following Khomeini's death in 1989, Rafsanjani tried to build a political order on personality rather than ideology or policy and found himself adrift and distrusted by all sides.
In defense of the choice of David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel and Trump's new policy
It needs to be accepted that the Peace Process in Israel is currently comotose and will remain so until it is recognized that any settlement will have to be on Israel's terms or the result of military force.
The events in Aleppo are tragic, but they are also the inevitible result of a policy based on moral outrage rather than strategic calculation, or even an effort to limit human suffering.
2016: The Year History Ended
A decade ago it was common for neoconservative thinkers to claim that 9/11 marked the end of the "End of History" that began with the end of the Cold War. With hindsight, it merely marked the midpoint.
Where Predictions went wrong
It is easy to blame this election on the polls, but looking back, everyone took for granted that voters who supported John Kerry and then Obama twice would never vote for Donald Trump. And no evidence could shake that.
Initial Thoughts on the Brexit Rulling
The High Court ruling is a defeat for the May government, but it is a defeat that if they did not actually court, nevertheless serves their interests very well.
Hillary's Health Non-Issue
Clinton's campaign has issues, but her health is the factor least likely to turn the election in Trump's favor.
The Problem With Debates About Russian Expansionism: A Historical Consideration of Empire and Russian Foriegn Policy
What the West sees as Russian expansionism into Europe in fact represents a dillema no Russian leader mas managed to solve in three centuries. How ensure that its neghbors are not anti-Russian absent occupation.
America After Both Trump and Clinton
Forget the focus on where the Republican party goes after a Trump defeat. The party remains poised for 2018 gains, and only a presidential victory in 2020 may stand between it and the power wielded in Poland or Hungary.
Trump's Post-Convention Implosion: The real damage Trump is inflicting on the GOP is to deny it a message
The sheer randomness of the Trump campaign has hitherto innoculated the candidate against any individual offense. But his own heresies have prevented the wider party from finding any sort of message in 2016.
Hitting Trump on Russia cannot disguise the fact that Clinton does not have a Russia policy.
The attempt to turn the leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee into a debate over whether Trump is "soft" on Russia or Putin is exactly the sort of inflexible thinking that has ruined US policy in Syria.
The boring Republican National Convention and the uneventful presidential campaign
One of the most interesting Presidential primaries in history has given way to one of the least eventful general election campaigns, something that Clinton has no reason to change, and likely will not until the debates.
More July 20th 1944 than Reichstag Fire: Thoughts on the seriousness of the Turkish coup
The complexity of Friday's has led to a focus on whether or not the coup was somehow "staged".That is to miss the importance of how politics in Turkey has become about one man, and effective opposition about killing him.
Fiasco: How the Brexit Coup Failed
If Brexit was a coup, then it must stand alongside the August 1991 effort in Moscow as one of worst fiascos in history. In the end, it entrenched those already in power, and left their enemies prostrate before them.
What if there was an election, and it was about nothing at all? The issue free Labour leadership contest.
Not since the 2004 Democratic Presidential Primaries has there been an election as devoid of issues as the Labour Leadership contest. The result has been to present an image of a party wracked by personal feuds.
One of Them: Why the "Remainer" Theresa May is winning the Conservative leadership
Seeing Conservative leadership race in terms of Leavers v. Remainers misses the point. Theresa May might have backed Remain, but on a tribal level Leavers know she is one of them in a way Gove or Johnson never could be.
Politics is not a drama: Michael Gove's failed bid
Michael Gove may have acted out a real life episode of House of Cards, but the net effect of his manuevers is likely to the eclipse of his own career.
Labour's Leadership Election
In the circumstances that currently prevail, it strikes me aas a deeply unwise move for Jeremy Corbyn's foes to force a battle to the death over an issue, the EU referendum, regarding which they themselves lack a policy
American Brexit - Putting the Referendum in American Context
To understand how the British electorate could disregard the advice of the entire politicana and economic elite to vote to leave the EU, imagine if Donald Trump's immigration proposals were put up for a vote in America.
Sovereignty, Spite and Timing: Why someone who agrees with many of the arguments for Leave, would still vote to Remain
Brexit would be a disaster. Which is why it is sad that the Remain has done everything in its power to make me root for British voters to cast their ballots for Leave.
Venezuela's problems are as much political as they are economic, and the opposition has unwisely accepted the government's narrative that politics is a struggle to the death.
On Demonization, "Elites", and Jo Cox
Jo Cox's murder takes place within the environment of a bitter referendum campaign, but also needs to be placed within a wider context of demonization of entire classes of individuals.
Trump, Clinton, Sanders, and the failure to learn anything so far this year
Clinton has a surplus of material with which to attack Trump. It is unclear why she thought it would be wise to begin by highlighting his lack of popularity among the DC Establishment.
The rotten three legs of the stool: Donald Trump didn't destroy American Conservatism, it was rotten to the core
Donald Trump's victory did not represent a defeat for American conservatism. By the time he arrived, it had already ideologically defeated itself. He found himself pushing on an open door.
The United States and the EU Referendum
Regardless of what the proper American policy should be, Barack Obama's intervention in the EU referendum campaign was almost certainly a mistake. For him, for David Cameron, and for both countries.
Why Attacks on Trump's Foriegn Policy Views Backfire
Donald Trump's foes have repeatedly tried to make light of his ideological heresies. Nowhere has this been more blatent than with regard to his foriegn policy views, and nowhere have such efforts been less successful.
David Cameron's Dangerous Few Months
The first weeks of the EU referendum campaign have not gone according to plan from the perspective of Prime Minister David Cameron. What was intended to undermine his rivals has instead strengthened them, dangerously so.
Thoughts on the February 25th Republican Debate
Last night Marco Rubio continued his strategy of endeavoring to place himself to Donald Trump's right, a strategy whose purpose is open to question even if it could credibly be carried out.
Post-Debate Thoughts: Forget Trump, Rubio Needs a Message and a 21st Century Campaign Team
Anyone wondering why Trump is winning the GOP primary could have turned into the last debate to be enlightened on why his opponents are losing. And why Rubio, despite accolades is not ready for primetime.
The Slow, extended death throws of America's Syria policy
The death of another Syrian rebel "leader" highlights the extent to which Western policy towards Syria increasingly running on sheer inertia with not clear objectives or end goals.
Transitions are Hard: Zimbabwe and Venezuala
The recent victory of the opposition alliance in elections for Venezuala's National Assembly provides both the possibility of change, and the danger that politics will now move into a struggle to the death.
Russian intervention just highlights how the West still lacks a Syria Policy
The confused reaction to the clash between Moscow and Ankara is a testement to how the West's goals in Syria have become so confused that contradictory policies are being pursued simultanously.
The Republican Nomination in October
The summer continued a trend of events that if properly exploited, a bit "if", may well make Marco Rubio one of the luckiest men in American politics.
You should not fear Corbyn because he opposes Trident Now, but because he did so in the 1980s
Viewing the renewel of the Trident system as a waste of money should not be disqualifying for Corbyn. What should be is his opposition to Britain's independent deterent in the 1980s when there was good reason for it
Left-Wing Economic Views are not Jeremy Corbyn's Real Problem
It his seeming associations with enemies of the United Kingdom and eccentric views on migration, rather than his fetish for nationalization, which are likely to pose the most problems for Labour under Corbyn's leadership
The Eurogroup and SYRIZA's Cowardly Referendum
When looking back at the handling of Greece since 2008, it is unlikely anyone will emerge covered in glory. But when measured by such standards, the behavior of everyone involved in Greece's referendum is abominable
American History, Southern Identity, and the Politics of Race
If there has been one consistent aspect of racial controversies in American politics, it is that much like joining ISIS, the effort is almost certain to end in a suicide bombing, or the political equivalent.
Bernie Sanders' Demographic Challenge
Whatever his success in winning over online activists, Bernie Sanders faces the same obstacle as any left-wing insurgent in the Democratic party; winning over non-white voters who care more about winning in November.
Labour's Strategic Problem
Labour supporters may be right to blame fears of a possible coalition with the SNP for costing them power in May. But with the SNP dominant in Scotland, it is not a problem likely to go away anytime soon.
On Echo Chambers and Politics: Labour picks the wrong fight over the EU referendum
The decision to champion the cause of EU citizens resident in the UK to vote in any referendum on EU membership illustrates the challenges Labour has in culturally connecting with voters within its own heartlands.
Labour's Cultural Obliviousness: Responding to Public Concerns on Immigration and the EU
Rather than figuring out why the voters did not want to hire them, the Labour party seems determined to complain about the fantasy of hiriing a different set of voters.
Slavery and the Origins of the American Civil War: A Rebuttle to Libertarian Revisionism
There have been repeated efforts to recast the Civil War as a conflict over the constitutional relationship between states and the federal government. Ultimately, however, those issues all related to slavery.
The Amazing Shrinking Palestinian National Issue
The recent Israeli elections are a testement to the degree to which the Palestinian issue has become an afterthought even for Israelis. And that is worrysome for Israel's relations with Europe.
The Third Stage of Grief: The Dukakis-esque Premise of the Walker Campaign
Republicans rushing to embrace Scott Walker's campaign are betting that 2008 and 2012 were outliers, and that the winning strategy in 2016 requires nothing further than to not run against Barack Obama.
Despite Cease-Fire Failures, American Weapons are not a Solution
Whatever policy is the right one to adopt regarding the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, the assumption that arming the Ukrainian military is either a simple task, or an alternative to direct interevention is absurd.
Let's Talk Oil Prices: Rebutting Myths about the Price Collaspe
There is no grand Saudi "conspiracy" against shale production behind the fall in oil prices. Ultimately, the commodity collaspe is a byproduct of the Chinese slowdown along with short-sighted decisions by producers.
Comrade Bob's Final Victory: Mugabe's Succession and Zimbabwe
The recent struggle for succession in Zimbabwe is a remainder that informal networks of power will almost always prevail over formal constitutional procedure in non-democratic states.