The Good Guys Win in Brazil… Barely

Published at 18:15 on 30 October 2022

It looks like — unless the Right tries some hanky-panky — Bolsonaro is on his way out. Regarding the possibility of that hanky-panky, Biden wasted absolutely no time when it came to congratulating the winner. That sends a signal that any hypothetical coup government would probably have a rocky time ahead of it when it comes to relations with the USA.

All of which means that, despite their faults, it really matters that both Biden is and soon Lula will be in office instead of their fashy predecessors.

But it’s also worrying: Lula’s margin of victory wasn’t really that great: in a contest between a social democrat and a fascist, the fascist almost won. Likewise, it is far from certain that the Democrats will hold on to either the House or the Senate, despite how prominent election deniers are in today’s GOP.

Will Putin Use Nukes?

Published at 20:21 on 4 October 2022

Maybe, but probably not.

Maybe because he’s somewhat nuts. He did stupidly try to annex all of Ukraine, of course, and that went even worse than most analysts (including yours truly) thought it would (and we didn’t think it would go well).

Probably not because it would have severe downsides for Russia. You think Russia is badly isolated now? Just wait until Putin makes enemies of China and India with a nuclear first strike. The latter would be breaking a huge taboo.

More than likely, both countries have already privately warned Putin not to do that. Also more than likely, the USA is encouraging them to (again, privately, behind the scenes). It is, therefore, unlikely Putin is totally insulated from reality on this, like he apparently was while making his decision to launch a full-scale invasion.

With every day that passes, news stories come in of impressive territory regains on Ukraine’s part, in territory that Putin just “annexed” and now proclaims to be “Russian.” Ukraine has even attacked Crimea, which Russia “annexed” some years ago. So far, no nukes have been launched. That’s probably because Putin is bluffing.