5 December 2014   Leave a comment

Protests in Mexico have been larger and more sustained since the news of the 43 missing student teachers in Iguala was released.  The protests have been largely ignored by the media in the US, but they are turning into a major crisis in Mexican politics.  The protesters continue to demand the ouster of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, but the protests also represent a larger movement against “politics as usual.”  In this respect, the protests seem to be part of a larger global swell of discontent as in the protests against austerity in Europe and the Arab Spring protests.

Oil prices seem to be stabilizing, albeit at a much lower level than was the case three months ago (they closed today at $66 per barrel).  Saudi Arabia is principally responsible for the decline, largely because it has the greatest degree of flexibility in pricing power.  The reasons for the decline are not economic:  they are profoundly political and the recent months will be a case study in economic warfare.  The Saudis are waging economic war against Iran, Russia, and the US oil companies that engage in fracking.  It is a risky game because there are a number of uncertainties beyond Saudi control, largely the response of the poorer members of OPEC who rely heavily on the price of oil for their government revenues.

Six countries produce 60% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere every year.   The six countries are: China, the US, India, Russia, Japan, and Germany.   Any international agreement to stop the process of climate change must include all six of these countries if the agreement is to have any effect.  Yet the economic interests of each are radically different, as are the political structures that govern them.  Overcoming these differences is crucially important for an effective agreement.

 

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Posted December 5, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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