While the U.S. snoozes, Putin and Xi are having a bromance and flexing their global muscle

America is looking inward, resembling a sullen, sometimes confused navel-gazing couch-potato. It’s tired of going outside and bored with the world.

The president of the United States went to the United Nations this week to let foreign leaders know we were picking up our marbles and going home. He just told the entire world that globalism is dead. Long-live insular, parochial patriotism!

xiput.jpg

National pride, defense and attention to domestic issues are keenly important, of course. But America’s two wide oceans and friendly neighbors do not divorce us from the rest of the world’s trade, economy or politics, even if our national “Netflix and Chill ” attitude makes foreigners seem distant and irrelevant. READ MORE

Political power and electrical power are inextricably linked. Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger

Earlier this millennium, a series of power brownouts and blackouts in California led to the recall of a sitting governor and a special election for his replacement: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Argentina’s leadership is running for reelection this October, and if it can’t keep the lights on, it may not be welcomed back to power.

Screenshot 2019-05-27 13.29.53.png

Around the world, from Argentina to Venezuela, Bulgaria to California, state and national governments need to deliver citizens electricity or face voter wrath. Argentina is now facing a political challenge more severe than the one in California a generation ago. Electrical blackouts just plunged the entire nation of 44 million people and some of its neighbors — Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Chile — into the dark.

One of the most important functions of any modern government is to keep the juice flowing. Electrical power is the driver of modern society, keeping industry chugging along, hospitals working round the clock and refrigerators, air conditioners and computers whirring. In most modern societies, government runs, manages or regulates the power grid. That means that any failure, disruption or collapse of that grid reasonably is pinned on government leaders. READ MORE

The tension is high in Venezuela’s standoff, but no one can afford to shoot first

Venezuela’s Interim President Juan Guaidó and questionably-elected President Nicolás Maduro are gunning for each other, but with no intention to shoot. In Hollywood, this is called a “Mexican standoff.”

Guaidó is confronting the Maduro government with an army of motivated street protesters. Maduro has deployed a largely unmotivated Venezuelan army. Both leaders currently know that they need to refrain from using violence not only to save themselves, but also their country.

Guiado.jpg

If logic and reason rule, then they will keep their powder dry, come to an accommodation, and peacefully solve the current crisis. Logic and reason, however, rarely rule in such high-stakes gamesmanship. READ MORE