The reason is Thabo Mbeki.
When I began The Chinese Century, then The American Diaspora, I was trying to distance myself from the reality around me, and building (in my mind) a different kind of utopia on a foreign shore. I recognized that from the start, but it didn't stop me. When I picked up The Duke of Oil it was with the intention of finishing that story out, embracing the idea of a different energy future and tracking the fall of the Bush Administration characters who had brought us to this end.
But as I wrote the idea of a South African utopia, as opposed to the dystopian reality, became less and less possible to me.
The reason was Thabo Mbeki.