Originally published by Ian Bremmer on LinkedIn: Winners and Losers - Mysterious Deaths and Adiós CÑN
This Week in Mysterious Deaths
Winner: Japan Disneyland—The mysterious assassination this week of the North Korean dictator’s older half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, dredged up the decade-old story of how he was formally cut from the line of succession: he got caught sneaking into Japan on a fake passport because he wanted to visit Disneyland. You can’t buy that type of advertising. #MagicKingdom1HermitKingdom0
Loser: China—Kim Jong-nam was living in exile in China as a guest of the Chinese government. If it turns out that Kim Jong-un was behind the assassination plot, that’s a major nose-thumbing toward Beijing, Pyongyang’s patron and link to the outside world.
The Week in Dystopia
Winner: Literature—people are debating whether “1984” or “Brave New World” is a more appropriate analogy for 2017. Because these are the types of conversations we have in 2017. FYI, movie fans: Blade Runner is set in 2019 and Soylent Green in 2022. #TheFutureLooksBlight
Loser: Stephen Miller—the 31-year old White House Senior Policy Advisor made the rounds on the Sunday talk shows to freak everyone out by declaring that the president’s authority on national security matters “will not be questioned.” As Richard Nixon once said, “If the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” #ThisStreetLooksFamiliar
The Week in “Walking Back Trump”
Winner: Rex Tillerson—the US Secretary of State urged Russia this week to pull back in Eastern Ukraine. As one of the few visible pro-Russia members of the Trump administration left, that probably made an impression in the Kremlin. #MoscowDoesNotBelieveInJeers
Loser: Nikki Haley—Trump’s Ambassador to the UN told a Security Council meeting that “we absolutely support a two-state solution.” The clarification was necessary, given that her boss had just held a press conference the day before where he declared “I’m looking at two-state and one-state… I like the one that both parties like.” Rewind to catch PM Netanyahu’s befuddled reaction. Haley’s going to be cleaning up a lot more messes.
All The (Russian) President’s Men
Winner: US Intelligence Community—Fighting back against Trump criticism with strategic leaks. It’s a reminder that some in the intel community can make a president’s life miserable pretty much anytime they want to. #WatchTheWatcher
Loser: Donald Trump—admits during his rambling press conference that it’s less likely that Putin will work with him now because he looks weak, explaining that the Russian president is probably thinking to himself “It's going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he's got with this fake story.” #SureLetsGoWithThat
The Week in Venezuela
Winner: CNN—Venezuela kicked CNN en Espanol off the air on Wednesday after a scathing investigation into the booming business of fake Venezuelan passports and visas. The network was accused of instigating “religious, racial and political hatred.” CNN, telling truth to power in both North and South America. #ThisIsCNN
Loser: Venezuela—the country’s Supreme Court, loyal to current president Nicolas Maduro, ordered that the main opposition parties “renew” themselves through petitions drives that are so difficult to satisfy that they’ve effectively been barred from running in upcoming elections. When you can’t resolve your political problems in parliament, in court, or in the voting booth, the street is all that’s left. #TheStormIsComing