When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 March 2008

52 stars on the US flag?

Thomas P.M. Barnett thinks he's figured out how the Union will next expand:

- Once Fidel Castro finally croaks and brother Raul gets to run things for a bit on his own, watch the practical brother experiment with markets while allowing some serious infusions of cash from "trusted" sources like China.

- Fast-forward a year or two, and tired Raul is replaced by some national unity committee that reflects the growing splits within the next generation of leaders over how far market reforms should proceed.

Meanwhile, the money seeping in from Miami's Cubans grows to a flood as travel restrictions are radically reduced in response to popular demand.

- Within five years, Cuba holds its first roughly free presidential election, and one or more candidates, with pockets bulging with greenbacks, stump openly for American statehood.

- Once that match gets lit, watch Florida hold every subsequent American presidential candidate hostage to the Cuba-statehood plank.

Once we move into that political territory, the pairing most likely to unfold is Blue State D.C. joining the Union alongside Red State Cuba, and I've got my first two new stars on the flag.

Barnett: The 51st State: Huge Upside-Down Question Mark (2 March 2008)

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