Posts Tagged ‘USSR’

Venezuela’s Glass Revolution

| January 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Foreign Policy


In 2013, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution survived the death of Hugo Chávez. Now his successor, President Nicolás Maduro, confronts his toughest challenge yet: an economy on the brink. The latest in our series of Lab Reports on Venezuela.

In early December, Venezuelans went to the polls to elect mayors and local council members. After a disputed presidential election and months of economic hardship, many observers were predicting that the opposition would win the popular vote. Instead, the government’s forces won, solidifying President Nicolás Maduro’s hold on power.

Yet if Maduro’s grip is solid, why is Moody’s downgrading Venezuela’s bonds? Why is Venezuela’s bond spread the highest among emerging markets? The answer is simple: The Maduro regime, like glass, might appear strong, but it’s also brittle, increasingly vulnerable to the sharp shocks that are likely to come from a complicated political situation and a rapidly weakening economy.

On election day on December 8, as I rode a ... Read More

Venezuela Imploding Like the Soviet Union

| June 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01


The crumbling of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s demonstrated two things: One, that deep-seated economic inefficiencies could force a political system to implode; and two, that such an implosion could be hastened by the ideological obstinacy of its leaders.

The state’s mismanagement of the economy — exacerbated by the Cold War arms race against the U.S and the cost of the invasion of Afghanistan – left in tatters the once powerful Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Thus, in 1985, when Mikhail Gorbachev succeeded the visionless and ideologically-corseted Konstantin Chernenko at the summit of power in the USSR, he couldn’t but realize that the Soviet system lacked economic oxygen to continue playing a superpower. Four years later, the Berlin Wall crumbled.

The current situation in Venezuela – under the Chavez-designated heir and proclaimed winner of a tainted election Nicolás Maduro — is similar to, and no less untenable than, that of the ... Read More

“Cuba Experts” on the Wrong Side of History

| January 22nd, 2013 | No Comments »
InterAmerican Security Watch

“The Castro generation is slowly handing power over to the next generation of party and military leaders who will determine the pace and scope of the reform process.”

—    “Cuba Expert” Ted Piccone of the Brookings Institution, giving one reason why the United States should unilaterally change U.S. policy towards Cuba.

The Cold War had its “Sovietologists;” today we have the “Cuba expert” — and anyone seeking to understand the true nature of the Castro regime and the reality of events in Cuba is worse off for it.

Sovietologists, those presumed subject matter experts who were relied upon by the media for insight to the opaque politics and motivations of the former Soviet Union, are now pretty much a discredited lot.  Not because they couldn’t predict the collapse of the USSR, but because for years they grossly underestimated the moral bankruptcy of tyranny and the power of individuals who simply wanted ... Read More

Reviewing Jon Perdue’s The War of All the People

| December 3rd, 2012 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post


People use many terms to talk about the current threats facing the United States. Some call it terrorism, others asymmetric warfare, while others use the term “fourth generation warfare.” In his book The War of All the People , academic and Latin America-expert Jon Perdue carefully presents the case for why the United States should be worried about terrorism south of the border.

First, Perdue outlines the historical antecedents of terrorism in the hemisphere, linking Iran, the former USSR and some of the most nefarious actors in the region, clearly making the case that, while generally overlooked, there has in point of fact been a long history of subversion and fourth generation warfare close to our shores. Having made his point, Perdue then outlines the steps taken by the proponents of what he calls “The war of all the people” to consolidate power at home and export revolutionary ideas to other ... Read More

Searching for Gorbachev in Caracas

| April 5th, 2012 | No Comments »
The American


When the going gets tough, the tough apply the thinnest veneers of window dressing—or so one would assume of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan strongman running for his third six-year presidential term this October.

Venezuela has led the world in inflation for every year since 2007, thanks to the expansionary fiscal policy of his “Bolivarian Revolution,” with consumer price index growth topping 26 percent in January 2012. Last year CPI growth outpaced that of wages by 40 percent, leaving people unable to afford basic goods. Chavez reacted as any good economist, and effectively “banned inflation.” When his Fair Prices and Costs Law took effect in November 2011, the government acquired authority to pre-approve all retail prices in the country. Predictably, this has created shortages of food and other consumer staples, as producers and retailers have no incentive to bring products to market that they cannot profitably sell. The Bolivarian Revolution ... Read More