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Well, it’s not over yet.


It’s hardly begun.


What’s going on in Venezuela in a nutshell (English version) – YouTube – 2/14/2014.


The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies maintains a “Global Threat Assessment” map that fairly well covers political turmoil worldwide, although I would add the persecution of the Burmese Rohingya to it (possible BackChannels slogan: “No People Left Behind”).

Then too I might want to work in resurgent eastern European nationalism (Hungary, Lithuania) but such complexity leads to specific foreign desks: again, our ability to survey may far outstrip any near potential to intervene between the repressed and subjugated and their tyrants.

Also, a map illustrating combined democratic and human rights levels of success might look quite different from one focused on international conflict.  We would have to work in Cameroon (Paul Biya) and Zimbabwe (Robert Mugabe) for that and perhaps give South Africa (Jacob Zuma) a bit of a once over too.

* * *

How are we of the democratic open societies doing?

Not so well.

We may glimpse all of it all at once, it’s true, but we may neither focus nor attend to it all at once.

In the week the above video has aired on YouTube, more than 2.1 million viewers have accessed it, which is kind of cool with our brave new high-bandwidth-Internet world, but what can those do?

Ask the same question about  the deep and expanding hellhole in Syria.

We know we know we know.

We can send band-aids (and the Israelis can put them on the Syrian injured it has today in its hospitals), but we can’t (yet) quell it.

Still, we’re connected and where others are in real trouble, we may either hear them or know they are screaming:

NORTH KOREA’S four main political prison camps are known only as No. 14, No. 15, No. 16 and No. 25. All are modern-day gulags. According to a new report from the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in North Korea, the population of the camps, now about 80,000 to 120,000 people, may have declined somewhat because of releases from a fifth camp, but also because the remaining prisoners are being exterminated.

North Korea’s crimes against humanity have ‘no parallel’ today – The Washington Post – 2/19/2014.

We — a fragile but growing and robust global political intelligentsia — are all over this stuff.

I’ve promoted a concept here: “malignant narcissism” and a lightweight approach, perhaps, toward the psychology of the dictator, the followers, and, ultimately, the better tendencies of the humanity of humanity.

Has that been helpful?

I don’t know.

We shall see.

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