Hugo chavez

Putin’s mistake was to discard the velvet glove

To study international politics since the turn of the century has been, in large part, to study the changing nature of autocracy – and the West’s relationship to it. We kicked things off by trying to realise the Trotskyite dream of ushering in global democracy through the barrel of a gun. We wanted to bring an end to the world’s tyrants – or the ones of relevance to us at any rate. We got Iraq. But if we failed to end tyrants, we played our part in helping to mould them. As Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman observe in their intelligent, important book Spin Dictators, throughout this time something far

Latin America in crisis again

It wasn’t so long ago that British readers, on hearing about the incompetence and corruption of Latin America’s political leaders, could gasp, despair or smirk, depending on their own political leanings and the leaders in question, and rest assured that, for all the United Kingdom’s problems, they were immune to such folly. Institutions were stable, the rule of law was unshakeable, the economy was reliably solid and, besides, the good old Brits, born with an innate common sense that was the envy of the rest of the world, would never fall for such blatant chicanery. Those days are no more. In Latin America, however, charlatans have long been part of