Polio is a proxy for chaos | 

polio vaccine

Sanofi Pasteur

The polio virus, as it is frustratingly inclined to do, has rebounded again despite the ongoing, determined effort aimed at worldwide eradication.

Like the game whack-a-mole, polio is popping up again in locations that we thought had gotten rid of it for good – like Israel or eastern Europe.

This happens because the virus is good at cloaking itself, sickening only about 10 percent of those infected and spreading primarily due to poor sanitation or hygiene (i.e., the highly unappetizing path of transmission known as the ‘oral-fecal’ route). But that’s the purely epidemiological, health-focused explanation.

The main driver, arguably, for the recent surge polio cases is conflict, instability and, of course, ongoing poverty. Continue reading

Israel’s leader and cartoon diplomacy | 

It’s not clear if one should laugh or cry watching how a world leader made his case — for military intervention, no less — at the United Nations this week. Below is the actual photo of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN talking about the threat posed by Iran’s reported efforts to build nuclear weapons.


Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu explaims complex geopolitics

I was not alone in immediately thinking of Wile E. Coyote’s attempts to destroy Road Runner, a comparison which apparently occurred to almost everyone else as well, such as these reports by the Times of Israel and the Atlantic (which seems to have confused the story line by making Bugs Bunny the target of the wiley coyote….)

Times of Israel

The Atlantic

But perhaps the best perspective on Bibi’s cartoonish approach to geopolitics was provided by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show who summarized a number of bizarre comments made by world leaders at the UN this week – scoring Netanyahu as best of the bizarre: