The NSA and Attorney-Client Privilege

The latest Snowden leak shows that the NSA, via it’s partner in Australia, has violated attorney-client privilege of a U.S. law firm. Is the “Five Eyes” alliance being used to circumvent constitutional protections against U.S. surveillance against its own citizens?

Pray for Chávez (Really)

Writing at the Weekly Standard, Vanessa Neumann re-emphasizes the reason why, for the sake of Venezuela’s future, you should root for Hugo Chávez to come back to see his system of governance completely destroyed by the disaster he created.  If not, there is the risk of martyrdom, because whomever is going to be the next […]

Tropical Kremlinology

As I blogged the other day, Venezuela’s populist dynamo Hugo Chávez has left the country yet again for more cancer treatments in Cuba, possibly for the last time.  In his absence:  intricate clan wars among the ruling party, an aspiring opposition, and a staggering heap of social ills.  Francisco Toro writes in The New Republic on […]

21st Century Dictatorships

I am just getting around to posting this one even though it is a few days old. William Dobson makes a pretty clear argument regarding the forms and methods of today’s authoritarian states, which are able to hide behind a narrow sheen of minimal imitations of democracy and rule of law. Modern strongmen are more […]

How to Make Friends and Push a Russia Bill through Congress

My sincere congratulations to my friend, Bill Browder, on this historic achievement to memorialize the life of Sergei Magnitsky and other victims of injustice in Russia. Also my congratulations to the city of Washington DC, who now get to enjoy the work of the talented reporter Julia Ioffe. Here goes a well written breakdown of […]

Anti-Corruption Goes Reality TV in Brazil

Brazil may have a heap of problems, but creativity has never been one of them.  How to make the anti-corruption fight something more than just words?  Make entertainment out of it.  From John Leahy in the Financial Times: Normally, live coverage of events in Brazil is reserved for football matches. But in recent weeks, the […]

Welcome to Moscow, Ambassador McFaul

The new U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has released a video introducing himself to the Russian people.  Interesting use of direct diplomacy.  

Strong Economy, Weak Democracy

On Fareed Zakaria’s blog on CNN, there is an interesting short post by political scientists Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith of NYU, taking an excerpt from their new book.  The argument is very basic, but suggests an interesting research topic – does democracy become endangered when an economic boom is resource based and […]

Will Russia Lose Business with the Next Venezuelan Government?

In case you haven’t been following the news, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cancer.  After several surgeries and chemotherapy treatments in Cuba, Chavez has returned to a very tense political situation (even by Venezuelan standards), as he has moved forward the upcoming elections from December to October 2012.  In an interview with Mexico’s Milenio Semenal, […]

Video: U.S. Foreign Policy Crippled by Domestic Turmoil

We found these comments from Martin Indyk at Brookings Institution very interesting regarding the effectiveness and coherence of U.S. foreign policy amid an especially bitter and hard fought campaign season.  If the parties are willing to throw their own economy out with the bathwater, why wouldn’t they do the same with our national interests abroad?  […]