28 January 2018   Leave a comment

Russia will be holding national elections on 18 March and there seems to be little doubt that current President Putin will win an unprecedented 4th term.  But the opposition to Putin refuses to be silenced.  His most prominent opponent, Alexei Navalny, has been in many protests against Putin even though he has been barred from running against Mr. Putin. Navalny was arrested yet again today, and the offices of his political party were raided by police. There were protests in more than 100 cities in support of Mr. Navalny, and all the  protesters risked the chance of being arrested.  Navalny has called for a boycott of the election, but Putin’s popularity in Russia hovers around 80% approval.

Alexei Navalny


US trade actions have begun to alter the trading patterns of its most significant partners.  President Trump has made it clear that he wishes to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was put into place in 1994.  The negotiations between the US, Canada, and Mexico have been very difficult and not particularly productive, but Mexico is not waiting for the negotiations to be over to protect its imports of agricultural products.  According to Reuters:

“The United States remains the dominant grain supplier to Mexico. Yet Mexico imported 583,000 metric tonnes of corn from Brazil in 2017, a 980 percent jump from the previous year, according to Mexican government trade data.

“Mexican imports of U.S. soybean meal, used to feed chickens and livestock, fell 29 percent in the first 11 months of 2017, compared with the same period the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

The shifts will undoubtedly affect the income of farmers who were among President Trump’s strongest supporters in 2016.


One of the most difficult issues in world politics is the question of the extent to which human rights are universal.  Liberal states assert that human rights are applicable everywhere; others assert that human rights are culturally defined.  One such controversy centers around the practice of female genital mutilation.  The practice has been condemned and outlawed in most countries, but it still occurs in many places.   Kenya outlawed the practice in 2011, but Dr Tatu Kamau, who has held a number of high-level positions at the Ministry of Health, told a high court that Kenya’s 2011 ban on FGM was unconstitutional and discriminated against ‘national heritage’”.  It is unlikely that Dr. Kamau’s petition will succeed, but it suggests how difficult it has been to abolish the practice.


Posted January 28, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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