Christopher Caldwell

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard. He is a columnist for the Financial Times and the author of Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West (Doubleday, 2009).

Stories by Christopher Caldwell

Incendiary Correctness

Jan 18, 2016

"Suddenly there was a hand on my bottom .  .  ." was the rather atypical headline that ran in Germany's ordinarily conservative daily newspaper Die Welt on January 4. It described a riot-like series of sexual assaults and robberies carried out on New Year's Eve in the center of Cologne on the Domplatz, the plaza between the city's train station and its world-famous cathedral. The assailants were mostly described as Arab-looking. Thus far 120 victims have filed criminal complaints, two of them for rape. Descriptions of the assaults have appeared in newspapers across Germany. The stories are varied and shocking. ("They made a kind of wall around us," one of two high-school girls surrounded by a gang of youths

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Über Alles After All

Europe’s German future.
Feb 13, 2012

Last week Germany reclaimed its status as the leading power in Europe. In the two years since it became apparent that Greece was, essentially, bankrupt, there have been dozens of emergency meetings of the countries that use the common European currency, the euro. Most of the euro-using states believe that Germany—with a booming industrial economy, vast trade surpluses, a reputation for fiscal probity, and a history that makes it reluctant to reject the counsel of France—ought to cover the bill. Germany has long argued that Greece must become competitive again by selling off state assets and cutting government handouts.

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Beem Me Up

Christopher Caldwell, power driver
Jan 11, 2016

It is sad to walk down a poor street lined with $60,000 houses and to see, as one often does, a $45,000 car in one of the driveways. It is often some kind of macho Mustang, freshly washed, gaudy of hue, souped up, and glittery with detailing. What are these people thinking? Why not get a perfectly good car for $5,000 and put the remainder towards a $100,000 house so your first-grader doesn’t have to sleep in the utility closet? What George Orwell said of poor people's miserable dietary habits can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to their taste in cars: "When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food," he wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier. "You

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A Steamy Episode

Christopher Caldwell's bathing buddies
Dec 14, 2015

The other day, sitting around naked in a Bavarian hotel with a woman I'd just met, I thought of the best-mannered person I ever knew. Andrzej came from an elegant Warsaw family. I met him at the very end of his long and difficult life, when he was singing "Sto Lat" at his American grandsons' birthday parties. His gift was for keeping his cool and putting others at ease. One summer weekend in the 1920s he was strolling along some Pomeranian beach when he saw a dapper little man who looked like his father approaching, arm in arm with a much younger woman. Andrzej tipped his hat. Andrzej's father tipped his hat. The two walked by one another without breaking stride.

Andrzej had a feel for these situations.

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European Insecurity

The bloody crossroads where migration and terrorism meet
Nov 30, 2015

If Europe doesn’t get serious about protecting its borders, it’s going to head back to the days of barbed wire and concrete walls. That’s what President François Hollande warned when he went before a rare joint sitting of France’s National Assembly and Senate to argue for an extended three-month state of emergency. His warning came in the wake of the half-dozen simultaneous bomb and machine-gun attacks in Paris on November 13, claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), that left at least 130 dead.

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Election by Adoration

Ta-Nehisi Coates wins again.
5:11 PM, Nov 19, 2015

The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the National Book Award for Between the World and Me.

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The Rising Migrant Tide

What Merkel wrought
Oct 26, 2015


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Europe Gets Borders

Hungary’s Orbán cancels Merkel’s invitation.
Sep 28, 2015

Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise. 

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Waves from the South

Sep 21, 2015

You could tell that the plan European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced on September 9 for distributing 160,000 refugees around the European Union was slapdash. You could tell by the number of times Juncker felt he had to browbeat his listeners about their Nazi past. “We Europeans should know and should never forget why giving refuge .  .  . is so important,” he said. Of course giving refuge is important. So is democratic accountability. Right now Europe’s politicians owe their citizens an explanation, not a scolding.

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Who Won the Wars?

It may be too early to say.
Sep 14, 2015

In the early 1990s, amid public outrage over Robert Mapplethorpe’s sexually explicit photographs, including several of private parts, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) would settle arguments on the matter by pulling out his own. That the most avowedly conservative politician in America felt the need to carry around such a photograph shows how controversies over public morality were then dominating politics.

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What’s the Deal with Trump?

Cleaning up elections, beating up corporations
Sep 07, 2015

Civil Whites

Why are critics so deferential to the radicalism of Ta-Nehisi Coates?
Aug 17, 2015

Maybe “Culture Belongs to Everyone,” as they say at New York City’s Shakespeare in the Park shows, but the works of Atlantic essayist and blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates appear to exist in another realm altogether. In the weeks since the publication of Between the World and Me, Coates’s letter to his teenage son about the perils and promise of being black and male in America, critics have struggled to find adjectives to match his achievements.

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Fly by Night

Christopher Caldwell, astir among the aphids
Aug 03, 2015

Lately my home life has felt like a camping trip. I have been waking at 3 a.m. or so and staring. Stirring at night is one thing—rolling over, drifting into semi-consciousness, having a stray thought or two either to be remembered or not remembered in the morning—but staring is quite another. In the weeks since May, when my father died, those stray thoughts have been vivid enough to seize my attention. Then they bring with them other thoughts, practical and metaphysical. After a few minutes, I’m wide awake. 

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Greece Monkeys

The European Union is bailing itself out, not the Greeks
Jul 20, 2015

A mass outbreak of syphilis, the radical economist and member of parliament Costas Lapavitsas told an interviewer, is about the only thing the European political establishment did not threaten Greece’s voters with before the country’s early-July referendum. 

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Dream Boat

Christopher Caldwell inspires a midlife crisis.
May 25, 2015

I had coffee at Peet’s with a childhood friend who is plotting a major change in his life. Victor will pull it off. He has done it before. He does not subscribe to the lazy American view that there is something special about having big “dreams.” Every loser has them. But Victor works. In him, romanticism and Sitzfleisch meet. He got a doctorate in physics from one university and a doctorate in chemistry from another, probably just to show he could do it. He taught both subjects at a third. Then he started a high-tech firm in Silicon Valley.

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The Worst Thing Ever Said About Jeb Bush

3:01 PM, Apr 30, 2015

David Catanese has a long profile of Jeb Bush in U.S. News & World Report. It’s well worth reading. But this line really stuck out:

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Taken In

Christopher Caldwell meets Ignominous Ignác
Mar 23, 2015

On a bright, zero-degree morning last month, as I was happily making my bed in the attic of friends in Brooklyn, I thought with a shudder of Ignác Hrubý. Being a houseguest is one of my joys. It combines security and adventure, familiarity and independence. Having houseguests used to be a joy, too. Until Iggy’s visit.

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AWOL from the Summer of Love

Bob Dylan’s ‘Basement Tapes’
Mar 16, 2015

In the mid-1960s the most celebrated folk musician of his era bought a house for his growing family at the southern edge of the Catskills, in the nineteenth-century painters’ retreat of Woodstock. He was a “protest singer,” to use a term that was then new. His lyrics—profound, tender, garrulous—sounded like they were indicting the country for racism (“where black is the color where none is the number”), or prophesying civil war (“you don’t need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows”), or inviting young people to smoke dope (“everybody must get stoned”).

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The Flag-Waving Greek Left

A collision between national sovereignty and the European Union in the birthplace of democracy
Feb 09, 2015

In Athens in mid-January, two weeks before the election that would make 40-year-old engineer Alexis Tsipras Greece’s new prime minister, a bunch of cleaning ladies explained to me why they planned to vote for his party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza, for its Greek acronym). We met where they had lived, at least part of the time, for the past 16 months: among tents on the sidewalk in front of the economics ministry in downtown Athens.

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The Attack on ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Jan 19, 2015

This past week, at least a dozen French people, most of them journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, were gunned down during an editorial meeting by the brothers Chérif and Said Kouachi, two French Muslims who may have returned recently from waging jihad in Syria. French citizens crowded into public squares across the country to vent their grief and wave signs reading “I am Charlie.” Foreign leaders professed their willingness to rally behind the values that France shares with the West.

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Strait Man

Christopher Caldwell's Bosphorus Blues
Dec 15, 2014

Towards midnight one night last week I walked miles down the pitch-black European shore of the Bosphorus, the 15-mile channel that splits Istanbul and Turkey in half. To any watcher of TV news, that will sound nuts. Fifteen million people have converged on Istanbul in recent decades, cramming into just-thrown-up tenements and dirty slums. The demographics are skewed towards the young, the unscrupulous, and the criminal. Turkish youths do not figure prominently among America’s biggest admirers.

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French Curtains

Eric Zemmour’s raw attack on France’s elites is the talk of Paris
Dec 08, 2014

French readers follow the herd. They believe in prizes. When a French author wins the Goncourt or the Nobel, people rush to bookstores and send his books rocketing to the top of the bestseller lists. But today the French have other things on their minds. President François Hollande is France’s least popular leader since World War II. His poll ratings are even lower than Barack Obama’s. A gay marriage law he rushed through the National Assembly in 2013 has continued to bring enraged (and previously apolitical) protesters into the streets in 2014.

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Christopher Caldwell, Hydrox hypochondriac
Nov 03, 2014

A lot of people worry about Ebola these days. Not me. I’m calm, relatively speaking. That is, I’m calm, relative to the shuddering, sobbing basket case that the mere thought of infectious disease once reduced me to.

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House of Cards

Will Massachusetts voters rescue their state from Deval Patrick’s gambling law?
Oct 06, 2014


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No Law, No Order

Making a federal case out of Ferguson
Sep 01, 2014

Ferguson, Mo.

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Stranger on a Train

Christopher Caldwell's near-miss with destiny
Jul 14, 2014

A few weeks ago the Times Literary Supplement ran a photograph of the grisliest act of violence in Italy since World War II—Italy’s equivalent of our own September 11 attacks. In 1980 a shadowy group of homegrown terrorists planted a time bomb in the waiting room of the Bologna Central station. When it went off at 10:25 a.m., the roof collapsed on bystanders. The blast cut through people standing on the platform and blew apart much of a nearby train. Eighty-five dead, hundreds wounded.

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Casual Podcast: Stranger on a Train

Read by Christopher Caldwell.
10:15 AM, Jul 12, 2014

THE WEEKLY STANDARD Casual Podcast, with Christopher Caldwell reading his essay "Stranger on a Train."

Remember, when you sign up for our digital premium access, many of our print magazine articles are available to you courtesy of our professional readers.

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Maidan Voyage

Uprisings in the East, corruption in the West— Ukraine emerges from elections divided and weakened
Jun 23, 2014


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Top Dogs

Rock-star economist Thomas Piketty— tough on inequality, soft on elitism
May 26, 2014

The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has written that Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty’s new book on inequality and wealth, “will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.” Clive Crook describes the raptures with which intellectuals have greeted the book as almost “erotic.” President Obama’s advisers have been buttonholed about Piketty at speaking appearances from here to Dublin. Capital has reached number one on

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More or Less?

Geert Wilders and the future of European populism
Apr 21, 2014


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