Kati Marton

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Salvar la democracia de Polonia

Las elecciones siempre son cuestiones de alto riesgo en aquellos países que experimentan un retroceso democrático. Es lo que sucedió en la reciente elección presidencial de Turquía -que se describió como “libre pero injusta”. De la misma manera, cuando los polacos vayan a las urnas este otoño, la democracia allí estará en riesgo.

Desde que llegó al poder en 2015, el partido populista Ley y Justicia (PiS) de Polonia ha politizado el poder judicial, ha acosado a la sociedad civil y ha trabajado incansablemente para cerrar los medios independientes. También ha sacado provecho de la política del miedo y del reclamo, ha enfrentado a los votantes urbanos con los electorados rurales y ha pregonado una versión mitologizada de la historia polaca.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hungría: una elección por la libertad

Cuando en abril los húngaros vayan a las urnas, estará en juego la democracia liberal, y no sólo en Hungría. El expresidente estadounidense Donald Trump alienta la candidatura del primer ministro populista Viktor Orbán. Tucker Carlson, la figura con más audiencia del canal televisivo Fox News, viajó a Budapest para promover la variante de nacionalismo étnico que representa Orbán. Pero Orbán se enfrenta al reto más serio desde su regreso al poder en 2010.

La oposición húngara, normalmente dividida, se unió por fin detrás de un único candidato: Péter Márki-Zay, alcalde conservador de Hódmezővásárhely, una pequeña población rural en el centro del país.…  Seguir leyendo »

Twenty years ago this Saturday, the Dayton peace agreement ended the fighting in Bosnia and resolved a series of seemingly intractable ethnic and sectarian conflicts that killed nearly 100,000 people and forced thousands more to flee. The Balkans war — the worst in Europe since World War II — threatened to undermine the leadership and credibility of the Western Alliance, much as the mayhem in the Middle East and the refugee crisis does today. Though the circumstances are demonstrably different, the very human story of how Balkans peace was finally achieved offers important lessons for those now grappling with the troubles flowing from the Middle East.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hungary’s Authoritarian Descent

Budapest shimmers on a balmy fall afternoon. Danube cruise ships disgorge hundreds of tourists. Thanks partly to the European Union’s generous subsidy, this jewel of a city has never looked better.

But minutes from the Danube, if you cross Freedom Square, you find evidence of the dangerous new direction in which Prime Minister Viktor Orban is taking his country. At one end of the square looms a disturbing memorial newly erected at his behest. A fierce bronze eagle swoops down on an angel, as if about to peck out its eyes. The monstrous bird depicts Germany and the beautiful angel is Hungary.…  Seguir leyendo »

Early in President Obama’s first term, in May 2009, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. paid a visit to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Addressing Parliament, he told Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian members, “My country is worried. ... We have seen a sharp and dangerous rise in nationalist rhetoric.” Such inflammatory speech, he said, “must stop.” Otherwise, he warned, “You will descend into the ethnic chaos that defined your country for a decade.”

Since then, other than the inauguration of a new American Embassy in Sarajevo by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010, there has been little engagement by the United States and no follow-up to Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

Less than a month after the death of Osama bin Laden, Ratko Mladic, one of the most evil men of the 20th century, has been captured. The moment is sweet. For me, bittersweet. For 16 years, Mladic had been Richard Holbrooke’s nemesis, and my husband died without seeing him brought to justice. Mladic’s freedom all these years after the Dayton Accords put an end to the Bosnian war was a personal wound for Richard, the chief architect of that agreement. We cannot call Dayton a success while Mladic is free, my husband used to say.

The butcher of Srebrenica, the general whose forces laid siege to Sarajevo, was a rebuke to everything the Dayton Accords stood for: reconciliation among Serbs, Bosnians and Croats; the integration of the shattered pieces of the former Yugoslavia into the European family; a multicultural future for the blood-soaked Balkans.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Part I on Tuesday, Ms. Marton described how her late husband, the American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, gathered the warring parties from the Balkans with American and European mediators at a U.S. Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio.

Let me assure you that success was not in the air for most of those three cold weeks at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Nobody trusted anybody. The Bosnians, Croats and Serbs were still at war, deeply focused on their respective grievances. The Europeans didn’t really trust the Americans and resented being the junior partners. Everybody was bugging everybody else’s barracks.

The French delegate, Jacques Blot, walked out on the opening dinner, offended by the dogs searching for explosives.…  Seguir leyendo »

Peace and justice are big words we carve into stone. But they sound abstract, removed from the very human qualities that actually determine whether those who make war will agree to peace. There is perhaps no field where the human factor is of greater consequence than in diplomacy — the forging of peace. It is human qualities that determine whether that peace will bring justice.

One of the things I discovered in my years with Richard Holbrooke, and especially during the Dayton peace talks, is that leaders who wage wars are disconnected from their people. It is not those who are getting shot, raped and driven from their homes who negotiate the peace.…  Seguir leyendo »