Mexico Confronts the Future

Commentary No. 485, November 15, 2018

I was just in Mexico for several days. I went to speak at a celebration of the victory of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), the president-elect. The meeting was held at UNAM, Mexico’s national university.

The meeting was intended to stimulate a critical and open reflection about where Mexico goes next. Not every supporter has the same vision of the future.

Many members of AMLO’s cabinet attended. But the ministers restricted themselves to chairing sessions rather than giving papers. It was as though they didn’t want to be challenged publicly about their views.

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The November 6th U.S. Elections: Catastrophe or Salvation?

Commentary No. 484, November 1, 2018

The short answer to the question is neither. As I write, one week before definitive counts in the U.S. elections, the consensus seems to be that they are too close to call. Most analysts believe this is a Trump election in two senses:

First, most voters are choosing their candidates for senator, representative, governor, or lesser offices as a function of their feelings for Donald Trump.

Secondly, the outcomes will affect profoundly Trump’s further political strength.

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Human Rights, Anyone?

Commentary No. 483, October 15, 2018

It is extremely difficult to find a country or other political structure that has not violated human rights in some way.

Sometimes, the violation involves killing a dissident.

Sometimes the action is less severe, but nonetheless has a very negative effect on the life and activities of the victim of the violation.

With rare exceptions, the political structure accused of violating human rights denies that it has done so.

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Poor Brett Kavanaugh: He’s Irrelevant

Commentary No. 482, October 1, 2018

The only one who cares if Kavanaugh is appointed is Kavanaugh himself, who has wanted this job all his life. For everyone else, he’s just a pawn in what the others – Republicans and Democrats alike – really care about, which is the Senatorial elections this coming November.

The crucial thing is to have a majority in the Senate in order to appoint or not appoint a right-wing Republican to this lifelong job. If Trump or the Republicans in the Senate have to sacrifice Kavanaugh to achieve this, they will do it. What everyone is trying to figure out is what will swing a small number of voters in a small number of states, such that their party’s candidate will win a majority in the Senate. There is no consensus on the tactics required to do this.

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Trump’s Risky Bets in the World Arena

Commentary No. 481, September 15, 2018

There are two things concerning Donald Trump about which everyone, friends and foes, seem to agree. No one can be sure what he will tweet next. And he wants to stay in power.

Trump has made three risky geopolitical bets: He will get North Korea to denuclearize. He will be able to force Iran to renounce any attempt to have nuclear weapons. He will dismantle NAFTA to the benefit of the United States.

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Good News, Bad News?

Commentary No. 480, September 1, 2018

Most of us receive daily news by reading some set of headlines available to us. We tend to classify these headlines as good or bad news about our local community, our country, or the world as a whole.

But what is good news or bad news? The most obvious question to ask is: good news or bad news for whom? It is not at all simple to answer that question.

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Samir Amin: Comrade in the Struggle

Commentary No. 479, August 15, 2018

I first met Samir in the early 1960s. I had read his early works, and they resonated with me.

I was passing through Dakar and asked if we could meet.
I don’t think he knew who I was or had read any of my writings.

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Is Trump in Trouble? Everyone’s Question

Commentary 478, August 1, 2018

This is the question that all anti-Trump individuals and groups are asking today, loudly and regularly. They are hoping of course for a positive answer, but they are not sure they will get one.

This is the question that Trump supporters and Republican politicians are asking in private, seeking reassurance that the answer is negative.

This question is debated as well by Democratic politicians, hoping to get a positive answer. They discuss it more publicly however than their Republican counterparts.

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