In 1958, the Soviet Union proposed a global effort to eradicate smallpox, a disease that kills roughly a third of those it infects, including 300 million in the 20th century alone. On Dec. 9, 1979, it was completely eradicated. This public health triumph – perhaps the greatest in the history of mankind – would not have been possible without the efforts of the U.N.’s World Health Organization, which coordinated the immunization campaign. The magnitude of this achievement – removing a microbe from existence – cannot be overstated. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
As 2020 continues its downward spiral toward the ninth circle of hell, one can only hope that something good will come out of the tragedy and chaos.
The U.S. is long overdue for meaningful police reform. It seems as if departments are recruiting the wrong sort of people to become cops. While most officers are good, civic-minded people, some appear to be little more than neighborhood bullies who relish the legal right to push people around. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
Of all the major geopolitical players on the planet, Mother Nature may be the toughest adversary. Nature has neither imperatives nor constraints to guide its behavior. Rather, it operates off general patterns that occur under various conditions. While the patterns provide broad strokes of expected behavior, it strikes mostly randomly. Even predictable phenomena, such as the Atlantic hurricane season, tell us nothing about the magnitude and target of, or potential for, economic damage. A catastrophic Category 5 hurricane that misses major population centers is quickly forgotten; a milder Category 3 hurricane that decimates New Orleans has long-lasting consequences. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
Seattle was ground zero for the coronavirus epidemic in America. But there is another epidemic for which it serves as ground zero: the intellectual purge of academia of conservative or even moderate worldviews and values. Read the rest at the Puget Sound Business Journal.
When the coronavirus pandemic slows and allows us to catch a breath — both literally and figuratively — there will be an international reckoning that likely will end with China bearing the brunt of the blame. In order to force China to implement adequate safety standards, we should stop importing essential items, especially food, medicine and medical equipment, until the country proves that it can be a responsible member of the global community. Read the rest at USA Today.
The world is gripped with fear and fascination. If anyone predicted that politics and economics in 2020 would be upended by a tiny sack of chemicals known as a virus, I tip my hat to you. Few of us — perhaps with the exception of survivalists and flu scientists — saw this coming. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
All human institutions are political. This follows naturally from Aristotle’s observation that “man is by nature a political animal.” If one wishes to rise to the very top of one’s field, it is not sufficient to be competent. Instead, one must also be diplomatic, savvy and – when the time calls for it – brutal. Even the Pope had to step on a few miters on his way to the Vatican. Read the rest at Geopolitical Futures.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, democratic governments across the world have implemented unprecedented peacetime lockdowns. One California city is even using night vision equipped drones — made in China, ironically — to enforce it. A city in Washington encourages citizens to snitch on those who violate the “stay home” order.
Let’s pause a moment to consider the serious ramifications of what we are doing. Read the rest at USA Today.
We are now in the year 2020, a metaphor for perfect vision. Though President George H. W. Bush once derided that “vision thing,” Seattle is in dire need of one. The mayor and City Council should embrace the following priorities. Read the rest at Puget Sound Business Journal.
I hate to be the skunk at the garden party, but I fear that 2020 will be an awful lot like 2019 — only worse. My latest for Puget Sound Business Journal.