The past week oversaw the departure of two great minds. In the U.S., Zbigniew Brzezinski; and in Argentina, Manuel Mora y Araujo.
The first, a distinguished geopolitical thinker and anti-soviet crusader.
Mora y Araujo a quiet brilliant political scientist who revolutionized polling in Argentina while fighting ceaselessly to consolidate democracy.
Both knew how disastrous a power engulfing regime can be for development, democracy and peace.
Born in Poland in 1928, Mr Brzezinski saw Europe emerge from a horrendous war only to fall into another equally ominous cold war, where for the first time, governments adopted mutual annihilation as a policy.
After the war, Mr. Brzezinski’s home was taken over by the Soviet Union. His father, a former diplomat, chose freedom and moved with his family to Canada.
Mr Mora y Araujo lived through the military dictatorship in Argentina seeking refuge in academia.
He then began developing polling services than soon became very successful and attracted the attention of the military regime that would rather have public opinion suppressed and not measured.
Mr. Mora y Araujo had to put his polling services in hibernation, concentrating only on marketing studies. Pedagogy and writing became the focus of his work. He sought deep into the history of his beloved Argentina for the limits to development and ended becoming an authority in Peronism.
Both men marked an epoch of brilliance in political thought that today is in demise in a world where people are more interested in learning about events than about their causes, prefer images to texts, and regard information due diligence as a nuisance.
If one had to choose a work by these two extraordinary men, my choice would be Out of Control for Mr Brzezinski and Liberalismo y Democracia for Mr Mora y Araujo.
Out of Control, written on the eve of the 21st century warns us about the perils of self-deception after the fall of the Soviet Union led many to believe that there would not be any more conflicts in the world or serious threats to peace.
In his piercing prose Mr Brzezinski brings down the myth of a conflict free century marching under the Pax Americana paradigm. With his superb intellectual command of geopolitics, he unveils one by one the time activated grenades that would explode in the new century lest the West and particularly the U.S. take preventive action. He found the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations truly feeble in terms of vision and effective operational aptitudes and feared the consequences for peace and stability going forward. He, of course, was right.
Mr Moray Araujo, on his part, dissected the Latin American political ethos to conclude that statism was in the heart of all politicians. Accordingly, they would promote state intervention over individual initiative.
And as state intervention called the shots, the region would always be crippled by dualism. Dualism encircles in one country two societies: one poor and backwards and the other modern and continuously developing. The second would never absorb the first into a development wave because its economic blood is rent extraction.
In order to bring a society together, you need to create wealth. The United States is facing this harsh reality after the Clinton Administration opened the field to rent extraction by financial services by repealing the Glass-Steagall.
Both thinkers will be alive and well for the better part of this century as we read headlines that seem to demand the creation of a new balance of power and a focus on wealth creation.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday May 29th, 2017.