16 February 2018   Leave a comment

Brazil’s central government has ordered the Brazilian military to take control of security in Rio de Janiero.  The order is in response to a sharp uptick in violence that is being blamed on gang activity in drug trafficking.  The violence is undeniable, but some suspect that the order is an attempt by President Michel Temer to distract attention from a controversial reform in Brazil’s pension system, which is financially unsustainable in its current form.  It seems as if the violence is most prevalent in the poorer areas of Rio, but violence infected this year’s Carnival festivities.  The return of these levels of violence in Brazil is a worrying sign of societal breakdown.



There are things that happen in world politics that are often deliberately “odd”.  One such case is the description of the meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.  Much of the report makes sense.  Abbas apparently told Putin that “”We state that from now on we refuse to cooperate in any form with the U.S. in its status of a mediator, as we stand against its actions” referring to Mr. Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  But at the beginning of the joint press conference, Axios is reporting that “Putin revealed he had spoken to Trump and told Abbas the U.S. president ‘conveyed his best wishes’.”  I am not sure of all the niceties of diplomatic protocol, but it is highly unusual for one leader to speak on behalf of another who is not present at the meeting. Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin clearly have a strange relationship.


Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn unexpectedly resigned, plunging the country into a state of crisis and the declaration of a national state of emergency.  Over the last three years, protests have roiled the country and Hailemariam resigned in hopes of reducing some of the tension.  The protests began in the homelands of the Oromia and Amhara ethnic groups who believe that their interests have not been fairly represented in the government coalition that has ruled since 1991.

Posted February 16, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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