Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Meanwhile, elsewhere...

"The circus is gone, but the clowns stayed."
— Leonid Zakharov, resident of Crimea

A while back, you may recall, Tatar activists blew up the main power lines through which the Crimean Peninsula got most of its electric power from Ukraine.  Ukrainian president Petro Poroschenko has shown scant inclination to remove the Tatar activists from areas around the downed lines so that they might be repaired.

Crimea is a part of Russia once again, but apart from the power crisis, not much has changed.  The same incompetent local officials are still in power, just as corrupt as ever.  Not much has changed in the Ukraine either.  The rebel provinces are still in rebellion, and corruption remains rampant, albeit many of the bribes now are collected by putatively pro-Western officials rather than Russian puppets.  Obama sent Biden to Kiev to complain, indicating that Obama has more important things on his mind.

*  *  *  *  *

Venezuelan elections have gone badly for the Chavistas, and the presidency of the comically incompetent Nicolás Maduro is threatened.  If he survives, and his United Socialist Party maintains significant influence in Venezuelan politics, it will be because the fractious members of the winning Democratic Unity coalition will be fighting too hard over who gets to steal what from the public coffers.

The two most prominent leaders of Democratic Unity, Leopoldo López and Henrique Capriles, already were at each other's throats before all the votes were counted.  (López, jailed by the Chavistas for fomenting anti-government riots, was represented in the media by his wife.)  A major obstacle to reconciliation is the low price of oil, significantly limiting government funds available to be looted.

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