With Foreign Affairs, I looked through the U.S.'s transformation into a hub for the shell companies of kleptocrats, crooks, and extremists writ large:
Washington has provided the world with some of the foremost tools for combating crime and grand corruption. Its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, for instance, has frozen some $3 billion in ill-gotten wealth since 2010. Yet over the past decade, a handful of states—primarily Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming—have undermined the federal government’s efforts by making it easy for people such as Bout to use U.S.-based shell companies to protect their loot. The United States’ domestic stability has helped these states attract kleptocrats and criminal groups from around the world.
Thanks to the efforts of these states’ governments to turn their locales into offshore havens, the United States has become one of the most important destinations for offshore ownership vehicles, enabling tax evasion, corruption, and crime. In the first decade of this century, Delaware even hosted anonymous shell companies that had helped siphon off millions of dollars of international aid meant to help maintainSoviet-era nuclear facilities in Russia and eastern Europe.
Over with the Houston Chronicle, I also checked in on Russian actors' attempts to stir Texas secession:
If there are those in Texas who'd actually, honestly want to tear up the United States, or prefer Vladimir Putin over Washington, D.C., fine. Say it. Let us see you, so the rest of us can push back as much as we can - or at the very least make you move to Oklahoma.