mzeiner01Recently, Germany’s Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, was asked how often he used Google to search the internet. His answer: “Everyday and in an exorbitant manner. Therefore, unfortunately, I am part of the problem.”

The way the Social Democrat described his digital behavior reflects the increasingly ambiguous relationship many Germans have with Google’s services ---whether it is the search engine, Googlemail, Googlemaps, Googletranslate or anything else Google. When looking something up on the internet 90 percent of Germans use Google – significantly more than the worldwide average of roughly 70 percent. The internet giant has not only become ubiquitous. Google has become inescapable.

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michaelmosettigWhen the leaders of the North Atlantic alliance wrapped up their Chicago summit two years ago and started preparing for their 65th anniversary meeting in 2014, they could have asked John Travolta to provide the soundtrack, "Stayin' Alive."

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With the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I approaching on June 28, European Affairs presents two articles on the Great War.

Michael Mosettig looks at the day of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the shots that inalterably changed the face of Europe and the global balance of power.

Brian Beary takes the longer view and looks at the turbulence of WWI as a historical warning that today’s national borders are not sacrosanct, even in Europe. On June 28, 1914, after the Sarajevo assassination, it would have been impossible to predict what ensued and emerged.  We also provide Michael Mosettig’s annotated reading list on World War I.


Ebola afflicts Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea – the worst outbreak on record, according to the World Health Organization. Nigerian Islamists kidnap scores of school girls. Homicidal incursions by Somalian terrorists damage Kenya’s tourist trade. Rebels seeking to impose seventh-century mores on Mali are checked only when French troops arrive.

To casual consumers of news from sub-Saharan Africa, the most visible headlines blend into a dystopian loop. It is less horrendous than the Rwandan genocide, the AIDS pandemic, and the atrocities surrounding blood diamonds, all in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, but awful enough.

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Michael MosettigThe shots hurriedly fired at point-blank range from the steps of a delicatessen in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, found their royal targets, mortally wounding the heir to the throne of the Habsburg Empire and his wife. Those fatal rounds would come to be known as the shots heard round the world, but that colorful wording compresses into one phrase a month of ultimatums and military mobilizations that would lead to a world war and to what has been described as "the primordial catastrophe of the twentieth century."

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