Vladimir Putin has recently spoken admiringly of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet pact, which, in the run-up to World War II, allowed Germany and the Soviet Union to divide up Poland, with Stalin getting the Baltic states as a bonus. In doing so, Putin violated a longstanding taboo in the country that, with the collapse of the pact two years later, would suffer an immense number of casualties in the subsequent battle to defeat the Nazis. But this rhetorical shift is of a piece with Russia’s own increasingly fascistic tendencies, argues Timothy Snyder:
Why Is Putin Praising Stalin’s Alliance with Hitler?
Despite Opposition from the Taliban, Islamic State Is Thriving in Afghanistan
According to Taliban officials, Islamic State’s Afghanistan offshoot (known as the “Khorasan province,” or ISKP) has but a negligible presence. American diplomats, for their part, have claimed that the new jihadist government in Kabul can provide a bulwark against the group, which opposes what it sees as the Taliban’s relative religious moderation. But, Oved Lobel argues, the evidence supports neither interpretation: