AUTHOR

Greg Weeks

Peter Sagal's The Incomplete Book of Running

I read Peter Sagal's The Incomplete Book of Running, which is his extended reflection on what running means to him, especially in the context of facing middle age and going through a difficult divorce.

As a middle-aged runner, I identify with the former, though I have to say that Sagal is such a fast runner that I would occasionally roll my eyes at his pace frustrations, which for me would've been triumphs (a 3:09 marathon in your 40s is inconceivable to me). But he's a funny person...

Weak Democracy in Latin America

Using LAPOP data, Dinorah Azpuru gives us bad news on her Washington Post piece on Latin American protests and democracy.
My research, based on survey data from 2019, shows that in the countries that have had the most serious turmoil in recent weeks, citizens display moderate levels of support for democracy — and high levels of dissatisfaction with its performance. Further, in those countries, the public has only meager trust in important democratic institutions,...

Decay of the Venezuelan League

Alfonso Tusa writes at The Hardball Times about the Venezuelan League. He starts with the fact that MLB cut ties to the league because of sanctions, but just yesterday the U.S. government exempted the Venezuelan League.

But that doesn't detract from the story, which is about a league in decay, with or without U.S. players. He starts with a description of its storied past, with Luis Aparicio, Bob Gibson, Dave Parker, Rollie Fingers, and so many more. And then now:
Going to...

Stop With The Cold War 2.0 Stuff

A Stratfor analyst says there is a "Cold War 2.0" in Latin America. This is a lazy argument--anything with 2.0 is lazy--and also wrong.*
Indeed, with threats to Russia's periphery more daunting than ever, it can be argued that the Cold War never really ended for Moscow. But regardless of whether Russia's current actions in Latin America constitute a second Cold War, or if they're instead merely a reinvigoration of the original struggle, it's apparent that many of the same actors...

António Costa Pinto's Latin American Dictatorships in the Era of Fascism

I read António Costa Pinto's new book, Latin American Dictatorships in the Era of Fascism: The Corporatist Wave (2019), which examines corporatism and dictatorship in the 1930s. Given the experiences of Jair Bolsonaro and even the coup government in power now in Bolivia, it is a topic and era worth revisiting.

The 1930s was a time of political experimentation, with elites sometimes equally fearful of electoral democracy and Marxism. Corporatism offered a third way....

55th Anniversary of Che Guevara's Speech

Fifty-five years ago today, Che Guevara gave a speech to the United Nations. If you focus on his view--as opposed to his prescriptions and mentions of the socialist camp--of international relations, it stands up quite well. The U.S. did see peaceful coexistence as something on its own terms that did not take the developing world into account. The U.S. was going to "threaten millions of human beings" in Vietnam and its neighbors. The U.S. did support apartheid...

De-Personalizing U.S.-Mexican Relations

In the context of the U.S. backing off labeling drug cartels as terrorist groups, Alejandro Hope writes that U.S. officials are not sure who in AMLO's administration to talk to regarding security issues.


He doesn't mention Jared Kushner, who has been the main interlocutor with Mexico for Trump. I've argued that over-personalizing U.S.-Mexican relations was a bad idea, and this actually seems to be an opportunity for using institutional channels. Hope refers to the...

Diplomatic Realism in Latin America

Mike Pompeo gave a speech the State Department heralded as being about U.S. "diplomatic realism." It is quite a statement, full of inconsistencies, logical fallacies, and falsehoods. Basically, diplomatic realism means the U.S. pursues its interests while lying about it.

--"No one in the region any longer believes that authoritarianism is the way forward." Sadly, this isn't true, as Latinobarómetro results show that 28% of Latin Americans think authoritarianism is...

Don't Support Coups

In a New York Times op-ed, Steve Levitsky and María Victoria Murillo remind us what we should already know: don't support coups.
For a coup to bring democracy, interim governments must exercise extraordinary restraint. Unelected and without a popular mandate, they must limit themselves to forging a consensus around democratic rules of the game and overseeing clean elections. 
Yet anti-populist coups rarely produce such restraint. Having come to power in...

Impossible Game of the Bolivian Crisis

Santiago Anria and Kenneth M. Roberts have a nice piece in Foreign Affairs summing up the situation in Bolivia. As they point out, the challenge is to push through the binary arguments between "right-wing coup" and "necessary military action against autocratic government." Evo Morales had been centralizing power, but much of his legacy is very positive and, yes, this was a coup.

More pressingly, the new government is worse in many respects, and could worsen still....