Monday, April 18, 2005

Still not agreeing

I have never read any of Robert Wright books, but I liked his old Slate article and "Non-zero" is just a plain, cool name. I also saw him speak at Chicago, and I felt he came across as being foolish and naive. That has not changed.

Wright agrees with Bush that lack of integration in the broader global economy enables countries like Saudi, N Korea, and Pakistan to be crazy terrorist producers and belligerents. But, Wright says that instead of invading them and creating democracies, the US should instead trade with them to integrate them into the global economy.

I wonder if Wright has ever been to these countries, or bothered to learn anything about them at all. Saudi's economy is deeply integrated with the world economy -- they export almost all of their production and import almost all of their consumption. Their land is mostly populated by foreigners. All their media is imported, although it is censored at home. N Korea has chosen not to trade, which makes Wright's idea a non-started. And Pakistan, for all its flaws, is precisely as outward looking as you would expect a small nuclear armed nation next to a 1B nuclear armed giant rival next door to be.

All of these countries are well aware of the outside world. But that is precisely the problem. In fact, it is a feeling of frustration with the outside world that is at the root of their belligerance, a frustration that cannot be put to constructive use through a democratic political process so instead finds a home in aggression.

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