Tuesday, July 16, 2013

GOP prospects in Midterms, Putin bored with Snowden, Peace in Burma and Colombia, Fmr. President HW Bush, Neptune's new Moon

1) Respected pollsters Nate Silver and Harry Enten are predicting that the GOP has an increasingly strong chance of re-capturing Congress in the 2014 midterms. However, there are risks here for the GOP. As the pollsters note, if the GOP picks odd candidates (as occurred in 2012), prospective electoral victories may implode. At the same time, even the very prospect of a GOP takeover carries problems. As more intransigent Republicans realize that victory is possible, their arrogance will likely grow. Believing that power shortly awaits, they'll increasingly oppose bi-partisan compromise. I'll be writing on this issue for The Week.
2) Putin is getting bored of Snowden. Though I dislike the Russian leader, in this particular case, I understand his pain. Snowden is an insufferable ego-maniac (I think he sees himself as a modern day Jesus- suffering the persecution of the powerful in order to bring salvation to the masses). I find Putin's discomfort interesting. I suspect that Snowden is refusing to play ball with the Russian intelligence services. As a result, his presence in Moscow is little more than a political liability for the Kremlin. From their perspective, he offers nothing but an angry American Government. Snowden will probably end up in Venezuela - another bastion of effective government. 

3) Burma has promised to release all political prisoners by the end of the year. Similarly, in Colombia, the FARC rebel force is finally bending to a peace process. From both states, this is very welcome news. The evolution of Burma from a brutal military regime into a graduated process of democratization is proceeding successfully. The rulers of this country have realized that detachment from the international community is a path to ruin. Comparatively, for FARC, the relentless pressure of the Colombian Government (primarily under former President Uribe) has been too much to bear. In short, they've been brought to their knees and then to the table. As outlined in Robert Kaplan's excellent book, Imperial Grunts, the United States (and especially the Bush Administration) deserves joined credit for this outcome.

4) The capture of Miguel Morales is a major milestone for the Mexican Government. The Zetas cartel are a particularly brutal organization. Hopefully this success will spur President Nieto to continue the work of his predecessor in confronting Mexican narco-terrorists. These gangsters are not resistance fighters or simple criminals, they're individuals who have no qualms about setting fire to casinos and in kidnapping, torturing and killing bus loads of civilians. They cannot be allowed to intimidate Mexico into submission.

Fmr. President George HW Bush was recognized at the White House yesterday. This decent man deserves the praise he received. He's a great American.

6) NASA just found out that Neptune has another Moon. It's tiny, but this latest news just provides yet more evidence to the case that I made last week - Space deserves our attention.


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