World issues and their impact here at home

Each of us has experienced inflation at one time or another that required us to review and change our spending habits. 

 However Venezuela with its currency, the Bolivar, has entered uncharted territory.  Last week Venezuela reported inflation for their national currency had hit 32,714 percent annually.  

The government’s solution was to announce that a 100,000 Bolivar bill was now worth 1 Bolivar. That posed a serious economic problem for the nation and a major math problem for residents.  

For example, paying in the old currency, a cup of coffee in a restaurant would now average 2 million Bolivars. I guess you would need a backpack of currency, if you wanted a donut with the coffee. Perhaps we should be grateful for single digit inflation at home.

 China at the same time is experiencing a significant problem with an ethnic minority. The Chinese want to punish a Muslim group called the Uighurs.  

According to UN human rights experts, the Chinese government’s response was to place more than 1 million of the Muslim Uighurs in internment camps. There are another 10 million Uighurs in China awaiting their fate. 

Restrictions on religious activities in China have increased significantly in recent years. Punishment of Chinese Christians seems to be increasing as well.

U.S. officials that track Russian political activities continue to express concern about Russian activities in the upcoming U.S. elections.  

Some experts speculate that the purpose is to undermine confidence in the American democratic system. Simultaneously, President Putin has pushed to reduce the presence of U.S. intelligence officers assigned to report on such activities. 

Simultaneously, members of Congress of both parties report a serious increase in Russian “hacking” targeting conservative groups in the United States.

California, as most of you have noticed, has recently experienced a longer and more devastating wildfire season.  

Until fairly recently, this season lasted only a few months. Recently, it has been year round. There are ongoing debates as to how much of this devastation can be attributed to global warming and, regardless of the cause, what can be done to control it.


(John Reppert is an Anna native and former editor of The Gazette-Democrat. He served in the U.S. Army, rising from the rank of private to brigadier general. He earned a PhD in international relations and taught at the University of Maryland. He also served as the executive director of research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. He can be contacted by email at

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