Wednesday, January 7, 2004

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Let the people read the links

Looking for more on today's TNR Online article?

I'll break these links down into theory vs. empirics:

Theory: The Thomas Schelling quote comes from his pathbreaking book, The Strategy of Conflict, chapter two (p. 22). Robert Putnam extended Schelling's analysis in an article for the Summer 1988 issue of International Organization entitled "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-level Games." It's reprinted in a 1993 book devoted to the article, Double-Edged Diplomacy, edited by Peter Evans, Harold Jacobson, and Putnam.

A good book on what happens when revolutionary/radical groups seize power is Stephen M. Walt's Revolution and War.

Empirics: I've blogged recently about both Pakistan (click here as well) and Saudi Arabia. On Pakistan in particular, here's the latest story on their role in nuclear proliferation, and today's good news about warming relations in South Asia. Pakistan's role in nuclear proliferation. On Saudi Arabia, Michael Doran's analysis of Saudi internal politics can be found online at Foreign Affairs.

Max Boot ripped the Bush administration for coddling both states in this Los Angeles Times op-ed.

The Samantha Power quote came from her review of Noam Chomsky's book in the New York Times Book Review:

As for Iran, NRO has a nice story on popular attidues towards the regime -- and towards the United States -- in the aftermath of the Bam earthquake. One section:

Though the European aid workers are treated with respect, they also receive a great deal of aloofness. The arrival of a U.S. colonel and his aides in Hercules C130 military transport planes, however, proved to be a raging success. Iranians had gathered in the Kerman airport to greet them with arms full of flowers, shouting, "AMRIKAAYEE...KHOSH AMADEE" (American, you're welcome). Iranians hugged them and hung on to them as if their "saviors" had come. Departing Americans were met with pleas from the crowd, begging them to stay. One of the American aid workers involved said that she was shocked and deeply moved to receive such a reception.

Khatami and Khamenei's visits to Bam, however, lasted no more than a scant hour each. Though they were surrounded by "walls" of bodyguards, they could not be shielded from harangues and insults hurled at them. "It is your fault this happened to us," one woman cried. "You knew that this could happen and you liars never warned us." The hatred for the regime reached a fever pitch as it became clear that, in fact, all the information about the seismic activities and dangers of the region had been made available to the clerics for years, and they had simply ignored it.

Finally, in response to James Joyner's request to flesh out "a policy of aggressively supporting democratization," I'm talking about a menu of choices that include linking security assistannce, intelligence-sharing, foreign aid, and market access to improvements in human rights and democracy-building.

posted by Dan on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM


Look, Dan, if you really are serious about promoting democracy you have to have a message that reaches the people. Your "menu" of linkages touches only on contacts between the American government and the governments you are anxious to change. Linkages have their place -- it's not that big a place -- but public diplomacy is much more important. This would involve money and institutions, like Radio Free Europe and the Department of State.

Even if promoting democracy everywhere is wise (and as I've argued elsewhere I don't believe it is) there is no reason to think it can be done on the cheap.

posted by: Zathras on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Interesting that you should mention TNR. It just so happens that Easterbrook's anti-semetic incident was just rehashed over at the Columbia Journalism Review. Perhaps you've read it, Dan?

I found the most interesting part to be the paragraph that reads "On October 18, Easterbrook did just that, sending out an all-points e-mail to a network of media contacts asking them to come to his aid. It recounted the hits he had taken in the media and expressed concern that Eisner was out to destroy his forthcoming book, The Progress Paradox, by keeping him off talk shows, blocking a serialization deal, or even prevailing upon Random House to kill the book outright. (The e-mail also made clear that Easterbrook suspected Eisner was behind the push to fire him from"

That, as you may not, sounds surprisingly like the email that Power Line posted that you subsequently said Easterbrook told you he had not sent.

Dan, did Easterbrook deny sending the email? If he did, why does the CJR detail him sending the email? Perhaps you should ask him.

posted by: Hipocrite on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Even though the heyday of laissez faire in economics is long gone, it lives in politics. We assume that a democratic election will be a basically unregulated one in which all sorts of parties are permitted to form and compete. Dan's piece, which advocates support for democratization in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia despite what he sees as a risk that virulently anti-American, bin Laden type parties may do well, is a good example of this assumption.

My line: Laissez faire isn't necessarily right in politics any more than it is in economics. In some countries at some times, it is better to regulate by precluding ethnic or nationalist or anti-democratic parties. Germany after WWII is one place where this was done, rightly in my view. A number of Islamic nations like Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia are in my view now good candidates for regulated elections that would include religiously traditionalist, "rant against Western cultural modernism" parties, but only if these parties are pro-capitalist on economics and committed to democracy. (And similarly would allow economically Third Worldist, "rant against globalization and MNCs" parties, but only if they are culturally modernist and committed to democracy.)

More on this at my blog,

posted by: Wayne Eastman on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Well, I'm talking about building Fort Powell, just off highway 71 West west, past the new Diwaniya Women's Rights Center - home of the newly re-activated 1st ACR. A whole 'regiment' of choices.

posted by: Tommy G on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

“Still, the case of Iran, whose leadership seems increasingly out of step with its younger, pro-American generations, suggests that radical elements will experience difficulties retaining popular support over the longer run.”

I want to share Dan Drezner’s optimism---but I currently find myself unable to do so. Our host may be engaging in a lot of wishful thinking. My guess is that the odds are only about 50-50 that the students can eventually wrestle power away from the Mullahs. The latter can become very blood thirsty if they ever feel truly threatened. The question that I’ve not seen adequately answered is this: is the Islamic establishment comprised mainly of Mafia like thugs who merely desire to life the good life---or might they be instead tempted to opt for true believer nihilism?

“It all depends” is my standard response to specific questions regarding the advancement of democracy in particular circumstances. A one size fits all policy seems naively foolish to me. Democracy requires that a region’s institutions evolve sufficiently to handle the inevitable challenges. Should I be more blunt? I am utterly convinced that much of Africa is a hell hole because utopian liberals encouraged the colonialists to leave long before the indigenous populations could maturely take care of their own political affairs.

posted by: David Thomson on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Dan -- Your TNR article has an error. The Jamaat-i-Islami did not win the NWFP elections, the Muttahida-e-Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) did. It's a union od a bunch of religious parties, most of whom tradtionally hated each other. They united after the US-Afghan war, but it remains to be seen if they can continue to do so.

Also, the Jamaat-i-Islami is an urban party. The popular Frontier islamic parties are the JUP and the JUI (I think), and they are very different beasts.

You work at a University (U chicago?) so you can easily find an area-studies scholar who knows all this. For Frontier politics, some discussion of the failures of the Awami-National Party would also be useful to know, to provide context. Do discuss the prospect for democracy in PK, you should think about the current relative popularity of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif.

Also, I don't know much about Saudi, but I wasn't that thrilled by the Doran article -- had much of the flaws of old kremlinology. Always looking for the good communist. And needlessly personalizing foriegn policy (Gorby is good, Yeltsin is bad, no, Yeltsin is good). There are no good guys and bad goys, just Saudi guys and American guys.

posted by: Ikram on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

The generally pro-american attitudes one finds among the Iranian population have been noted before.

One other factor regarding Bam must be noted: Per the Economist's coverage, Bam's population is vitually 100% Baluchi, with few if any Persians. So this is another tribal region that does have warm feelings for the ruling ethnic group.

posted by: Calvinist on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

I'm dubious as to whether the first graf of the quoted article is all that representative of the situation in Iran. It sounds a little too similar to the neo-con wet dream that was supposed to happen in Iraq.
The second graf could be interpreted two ways, since Khatami won 77% of the vote in the 2001 presidential election. The ppl of Bam are not representative the wider electorate, or the Iranian electorate is as fickle as hell. Prolly the first, I'd guess.

posted by: Factory on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Dear Factory,

I'm dubious as to whether the first graf of the quoted article is all that representative of the situation in Iran. It sounds a little too similar to the neo-con wet dream that was supposed to happen in Iraq.

Agreed. While, it is possible that there can be genuine welcome for outside intervention inside a closed society (one is reminded of the crushed Lithuanan and Polish freedom movements behind the Iron Curtain), it must be remembered that the reports of American welcome in Iraq were similarly exaggerated to put it kindly. It was not merely exiles, but constant newsfeeds about the suffering of the people of Iraq, their complaints, their 'disappeared' and WMD'ed victims, and the private pleas of Iraqis under Hussein for salvation from abroad.

The citizens of Bam devastated by their loss are unrepresentative- they are not only the survivors but they've survived a tremendous tragedy. There are alternate explanations for their glee at Americans that are less optimistic. One is that similar to the Iraqis they held an unrealistic view of what life under American occupation would be like in both civil progress and economic improvement. Maybe they just hold less romantic views of Europeans, but swoon over how they expect Americans to wave a magic wand and improve their lives.

The denoument and resulting disappointment with the less than omnipotent powers of America to transform Iraq, as well as this blog's arguing over whether Iraqis such as Salam Pax are sufficiently grateful, is instructive. We should be careful about believing tales of welcomes of open arms and roads littered with tossed flowers. The honeymoon period can be shorter than one imagines and gratitude can have a short shelf-life.

posted by: Oldman on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]


"There are no good guys and bad goys"

Was your reference to the goyim (gentiles) intentional?

posted by: David V on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

On a slightly different take. Are there any conservative thinkers working on the possibility that in Ten Years Iraq may be democratic, stable, econically prosperous, regionally dominanting, anti-semetic to the core, and the number one threat to long-term Isreali security?

From since before the war this always struck me as at least a plausible outcome of a "successful conclusion" to this affair as the Bush Administration had laid the thing out (given the various timetables for withdrawal in particular). I'd say the way things are moving are pushing this outcome closer to truth and not further away and I'm wondering if any thoughtful conservatives have worked on such a scenario.

posted by: Michael Carroll on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

Mr. Caroll,

To my knowledge some have pointed out the possibility, but no one has seriously considered it. As you point out, they should. While defenders of the GWB Administration may attack France and Germany for being anti-Semetic and anti-USA, they forget that these two are democracies that we helped reconstruct after we invaded. By the logic of their own reasoning, there is not less but more reason to conclude that a free and democratic Iraq will be highly anti-Semetic. It would also be difficult to argue against them acquiring nuclear technology for "peaceful" purposes. Why should they be different from Pakistan or India in that regard they will say. And doesn't Iran have "peaceful" nuclear technology? Aiyee! As a conservative I have to say ... I'm ashamed of most of those whom claim to be conservative "thinkers" nowadays.

posted by: Oldman on 01.07.04 at 03:53 PM [permalink]

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