This most recent post is...?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Venezuela: class warfare

They have not forgotten about class warfare in Latin America. You can let it boil over, reduce the differentials between them, or hide it. Aristotle said that the rich are relentless in their quest to dominate. It seems that the protesters agree. Expect Venezuela to simmer for awhile. If oil prices go up more however, then it could simmer down. (I am assuming the leaders there are more or less rational actors...but right now Maduro just seems paralyzed).

The boiling over of Ukraine!

It should have happened long ago...a territory filled with people that have 2 different dreams. One side wants the West and the other prefers working with Russia. The solution is obvious and maybe the pol. class has stumbled upon it. Play off both sides. Indeed recent events could be read in that fashion. First scare the West into offering more concessions. Now, with the recent agreement stepping away from a Presidential system and towards a more Parliamentary one, squeeze Putin for better loan offers. Of course it is too bad that people had to die. But that certainly makes the drama, and the shifts, more compelling. I know nothing about the region, but this tantrum could be the start of a better future. At these levels, I would buy some long term Ukrainian bonds right now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Political theater example 2: Rand Paul versus NSA spying (through a LAWSUIT)

Senator Rand Paul is suing President Obama over NSA spying (on Americans!). It is unconstitutional and Paul is going to fight it in court. Paul says that he wants there to be judicial oversight, and right now, there is not enough such oversight. What a limited, limited objection! 'Not enough oversight' is not the same objection as unconstitutional. Why not repeal the Patriot Act? This guy is a US Senator! He could filibuster or even write up a bill and have it introduced to committee. Instead Paul opts for the public show of a lawsuit (which the ACLU is already doing). Paul, that is weak (in the colloquial sense of the word)! Senators have so many more tools at their disposal. Lawsuits are the instruments of the weak not Senators. I wonder if this show trial will fool his libertarian supporters?

Political theater example: Karzai versus USA, not!

I am the only one that thinks that the tiff between the (purported) President of Afghanistan and the USA is overdone? Karzai knows that he is destined to hang from a lamppost like Nasralluh and so to avoid that fate he is doing his best to act like an independent player. The USA plays along, why not? Example: Karzai refusing to sign a status of forces agreement that would formalize a US role there. Example 2: Karzai released some (harmless) 'detainees' as a show of his independence and the USA dutifully protests. What a show! It is funny to see US diplomats and journalists wring their hands over this act. (The mayor of Kabul is also setting himself to act as future mediator between the Daru speakers and the Pashtuns. I hope he succeeds because some peace will be a much needed respite there).