Diarrhea Planet & Herzog @ Skully’s
There were two striking pieces of business news this week from America’s leading technology brands. On the one hand, Google unveiled a prototype of an autonomous car that, if it can be made to work at scale, promises to end mass automobile ownership while drastically reducing car wreck fatalities and auto-related pollution. Meanwhile, Apple bought a company that makes high-end headphones.
From Obama’s perspective, the beautiful thing about this is that the US doesn’t have to take any big risks to punish Russia for its aggression, because Russia is being punished by the impersonal forces of the global economy (this has the added benefit of not giving Putin a propaganda tool, which US sanctions would do). Maybe even better is the fact that Putin can’t cleverly negotiate his way out of these effects or try to game the system, and he now knows this will happen if he tries something like the Crimea annexation again. It’s like someone built one of those electric shock fences around Russia’s borders; Putin can cross them again, but he knows he’ll get a shock, and he knows it’s painful enough to not be worth it.