Picks of the Week | Putin’s Coup, Sea Level Rise and Florida
Ben Judah’s “Putin’s Coup”
Putin’s Coup | Politico
There are weeks when I’m just not able to read and digest as much as I might like. This was one of those weeks. But I did read one article worth sharing—Ben Judah’s “Putin’s Coup” in Politico Magazine. The article is important because of what it tells us about Putin’s worldview and the perils resurgent in Eastern Europe.
It’s a long read, but the thrust of it is that Putin has essentially subverted the democratic institutions in Russia, taken over the media, created a propaganda machine, and silenced or exiled his opposition. The consequences are not just for the Russian people, but for Russia’s neighbors. The invasion of Ukraine, Judah reports, was part of the consolidation of Putin’s power—using that conquest to buoy his popular support. The risk, it’s asserted, is that Putin will turn again to conquest to offset his regimes lack of legitimacy—say if oil stays below $80 per barrel for a year or two. In that case, Russia’s Baltic neighbors—the only former Soviet republics to join NATO—have reason for concern. And so would NATO.
Take the time to read this piece. The strategic implications reverberate across Europe and Asia. – James Ludes, Executive Director
Sea Level Rise and the Risk of Southern Florida Secession
A Florida city voted to split the state in two because of concerns over climate change | The Washington Post
A Resolution of the Mayor and City Commission of the City of South Miami, Florida, advocating the legal separation of Florida into two separate states
The Washington Post reports this week that some Florida leaders (the mayor and City Commission of South Miami) have proposed dividing the state in two, creating the new state of South Florida. This dramatic move is prompted by some very genuine concern – the would-be secessionists say that state leaders in the capital, the northern city of Tallahassee, aren’t nearly concerned enough about rising seas that are a major threat to the southern part of the state, which contains Miami, Orlando and Tampa among other population centers. The Resolution, available online, states that “climate change is a scientific reality resulting in global warming and rising sea level,” and lists a number of reasons why southern Florida is particularly vulnerable to impacts from these changes – including the fact that many whole counties, the Everglades and other important parks, and two nuclear reactors are all only five feet above sea level at most, while sea levels are projected to rise by 3 to 6 feet this century. Whether or not it receives significant political attention, the resolution highlights a set of conflicts that are sure to grow in coming years, over what to do about changing conditions along our coastlines.- Joseph Grady, Senior Fellow for Public Policy