The outbreak of COVID-19 initially looked like a gift to autocrats around the world. What better pretext for a state of emergency than a pandemic? It was a golden opportunity to close borders, suppress civil society, and issue decrees left and right (mostly right). Donald Trump in the United States, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Rodrigo… Continue reading COVID-19 and the End of Autocrats
Coups have been one of the greatest threats to democracy. The people elect a daring leader willing to take on the status quo. And then, as in Iran in 1953 or Chile in 1973, the military pushes the leader aside to take control. Sometimes the generals remain in power; sometimes they restore a royal to… Continue reading Whose Coups
Doesn’t idiocy ever take a vacation? As August wound down, the populist troika of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Jair Bolsonaro proved once again that the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil would be better off with no leaders rather than the dubious characters that currently pretend to govern these countries. In all three… Continue reading Burning Down the House
In the 2014 World Cup, Germany not only ousted Brazil from the semi-finals. It gave the legendary team a drubbing, 7 goals to 1. For most of the match, Brazil faced a shutout: Only in the last minute did Brazilian striker Oscar manage to put the ball in the net. The staggering loss was all… Continue reading What Happened to Brazil?
According to the Chinese zodiac, the heavens circle around every 12 years. The Year of the Snake, the creature that sheds its skin to emerge anew, marks a time of great transformation. Indeed, for the last quarter century, the world has experienced three profound shifts at 12-year intervals, beginning with the Year of the Snake… Continue reading Participatory Totalitarianism