Saturday, October 5, 2002
IS NORTH KOREA THE MODEL
IS NORTH KOREA THE MODEL FOR IRAQ?: Hans Blix’s support of a tough new UN Security Council resolution reminded me that Blix headed the International Atomic Energy Agency during the early 1990’s inspections crisis with North Korea. During that situation, Blix was a rarity among international organization heads; he was results-oriented rather than process-oriented. The contrast with Kofi Annan could not be starker.
Blix’s appearance in both the Iraq and North Korea crises raises an interesting question – why hasn’t the current debate over Iraq invited more comparisons to the North Korean crisis of 1994? God knows, commentators have been making silly comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis; why no reference to the North Korea episode? I think the answer is that the way that crisis unfolded and was resolved poses vexing questions for both sides in the debate.
For the anti-war crowd, the problem is that the history of that bargaining episode shows the limits of what negotiations, sanctions and embargoes can accomplish. For over two years, the U.S. tried to reach a resolution that would get the North Koreans back into the IAEA regime. The North Koreans only gave ground when it seemed that a sanction was imminent. They only indicated a willingness to cut a comprehensive agreement after it was clear that the U.S., Japan, and South Korea were ready to impose sanctions and respond to North Korean provocations with force.
For the pro-war crowd, the problem is that this case suggests that it is possible to cut a deal with Hussein. Despite what Jeffrey Goldberg has said, the North Korean regime is just as nasty as Hussein’s Iraq. Over the past four decades, North Korea has kidnapped citizens from other countries, engaged in terrorist activities (including blowing up airplanes), repeatedly tried to subvert and provoke South Korea, preferred starving its own people to reforming its economy, actively developed weapons of mass destruction, and proliferated missile technology to other state supporters of terrorism. All that said, the 1994 deal to trade inspections for reactor technology has essentially held. New York Times op-eds to the contrary, the regime is still pretty nasty. But the U.S. was able to contain the proliferation of nuclear weapons without regime change. Simply put, coercive bargaining can work [Coercive? Didn’t the North Koreans get a whopping $5 billion carrot out of the deal?—ed. They got a promise of that investment, yes, but they only agreed to it because the alternative was economic and possibly military coercion.]
It’s possible that Saddam Hussein will decide that he prefers war to “coercive inspections.” If he permits the inspections, however, those who favor the use of force will be split into those favoring regime change at any price (Rumsfield) and those who care about eliminating the weapons of mass destruction first (Powell). I’m not completely sure which side of this fence I sit on – there are compelling arguments for both.
The North Korea case suggests that those who favor negotiation at any price are fools – but it also suggests that those who are bound and determined to change the regime in Iraq are underestimating the power of coercive bargaining.
UPDATE: Aziz Poonawalla has an interesting take on the potential faultlines among the pro-war crowd -- link via InstaPundit [Duh.--ed.]
INSTAPUNDIT GETS RESULTS!: Thanks to
INSTAPUNDIT GETS RESULTS!: Thanks to Glenn, I've been deluged with responses to my question of why the far left is considered more intellectually respectable than the far right:
Reader Thomas J. suggests two additional explanations: First, "Nazis were more 'open' with their intentions - be it 'Endlosung' or 'Lebensraum'. On the other hand, commies - starting from Comrade Uljanov - were always more aware of PR." Second, "You had to be Aryan to be Nazi... on the other hand commies were more open - no racial pre-requisites required." This second explanation is certainly consistent with Brad DeLong's original hypothesis. [I thought you said DeLong was a Socialist --ed. I meant to suggest that Brad's vision of utopia was socialist. I think the was I phrased it in the original post was too strong]. Another anonymous professor chimes in with a similar explanation: "What made fascism somewhat unattractive in the US was its EXPLICIT hierarchical nature--that some people and some countries are naturally meant to rule. Like Communism, fascism was collectivist to its core, but its utopian collective was not egalitarian but based on dominance and subservience."
Reader George B. suggests that "hatred of the rich and resentment and envy of successful business and commercial people by intellectuals provides the main
For those interested in the general relationship between intellectuals and power, I can think of no better starting point than Mark Lilla's essay "The Lure of Syracuse." It's a chapter in his collection of essays, "The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics."
BLOGGER RESPONSES: Parapundit offers up Robert Nozick's explanation for why intellectuals dislike the capitalist system. It's a compelling argument but a bit off point, since the question is about intellectuals' treatment of fascism vs. communism, not capitalism. And Nozick himself notes in the essay, "This opposition to capitalism is mainly "from the left" but not solely so. Yeats, Eliot, and Pound opposed market society from the right." And as I argued above, I think the intellectual opposition to capitalism is fading over time. Part of this may be because as capitalism has evolved, there is a greater emphasis on human (or intellectual) capital rather than physical capital. Robert Reich has also made this argument with regard to "symbolic analysts." [You're agreeing with Reich?--ed. Well, I'm agreeing with this version of Reich. It would actually be impossible to assemble Reich's collected works and divine a coherent rationale-- except self-aggrandizement.]
Both Alan K. Henderson and John Jay Ray argue that fascism has been misunderstood and is a product of the left, not the right. It is true that fascism was a collective ideology, and it's also true that some prominent fascists (Mussolini) started out as communists. This is a pretty weak argument, however. Inasmuch as ideologies can be placed along a single left-right continuum, fascism belongs on the far right.
Friday, October 4, 2002
Preemption, prevention, and surprise
In an effort to counter Michael Walzer’s argument that an attack on Iraq would be an unjust war, Max Boot argues that the U.S. has a long tradition of acting pre-emptively. Boot is right on the history, but that doesn’t necessarily undercut Walzer’s thesis. Just because states have a history of pursuing a particular activity does not mean that the activity is therefore a good and just one. I’m not saying Walzer is correct. If you look at U.S. actions in the region for the past two decades – tacitly and not-so-tacitly supporting Saddam, stationing large numbers of troops in Saudi Arabia, leading an embargo that Saddam has allowed to devastate the Iraqi people – America has a moral obligation to fix the problem. I’ve said this before, but Andrew Sullivan says it today with a louder megaphone [What about Kristoff’s argument that the Iraqi people will resist Yankee imperialists?—ed. I’m shocked, shocked that under the current regime Iraqis are making anti-American noises!! Why, it could be like Nicaragua or Afghanistan all over again.]
This debate about preemption vs. prevention confuses a key point, however. A key difference between the cases that Boot and other anti-war critics cite and this case is the element of surprise. What makes many uncomfortable is the notion of the U.S. attacking without provocation and warning. And there’s no question, the bar should be pretty high for the U.S. to engage in those types of attacks. What’s being debated now is whether there is sufficient provocation; I think there has been, but it’s not a settled question. However, the framing of this debate has led pro-attack commentators like Boot to rely on historical cases of surprise attacks to defend their position.
That’s a mistake, because no one is going to be surprised if the U.S. attacks Iraq. It’s not going to happen before a Congressional resolution passes, and it likely won’t happen without U.N. Security Council action as well as a consultation process with key allies that has lasted at least six months. Allegations that the Bush administration is acting like a unilateral, gung-ho cowboy are absurd; the Iraq question will have had as much due process as any decision to wage war in modern history.
If anti-war commentators want to argue that there’s insufficient provocation for an attack, fine, make that argument. But no one should insinuate that this will also be a surprise attack.
MORE WEIRDNESS INVOLVING NORTH KOREA:
MORE WEIRDNESS INVOLVING NORTH KOREA: The New York Times reports that China has arrested the man North Korea selected to run their proposed special economic zone. His problem appears to be with the Chinese authorities, but the story makes it clear that Pyongyang won't be reforming anytime soon.
Thursday, October 3, 2002
THAT'S MY LINE: Instapundit makes
THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS:
THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS: What makes it tough to gauge our success against Al-Qaeda is that we don't know whether their attempts to follow up on 9/11 have been foiled, or that they haven't tried yet. If it's the former, we've been successful; if it's the latter, we've been lucky.
If I'm correctly reading this CNN story about what John Walker Lindh told his interrogators, it appears that we must have thwarted Al Qaeda attacks. The key graf:
"He [Walker Lindh] told his interrogators that one of his former instructors said that 'this was the first attack' and that a second wave would come at the beginning of Ramadan, in mid-November, and 'make America forget about the first attack.' The instructor also talked of a third wave, in early 2002, but provided no details."
It's way past early 2002, and neither the second or third waves have happened. I'm not saying that Al-Qaeda has been completely neutralized, but isn't this pretty good evidence that they're not punching in the same weight class?
UPDATE: This AP story has much more detail.
Wednesday, October 2, 2002
Globalization benefits the poor... but there's a caveat
This is kind of a good news, bad news sort of post. The libertarian in me thinks this is great news; the scholar in me is a touch more skeptical.
The bad news is that this does not really test the argument that anti-globalization advocates make, which is that pro-globalization policies lead to greater inequality. To properly test this argument, the proper "unit of analysis" is at the policymaking level, not the individual level. What's driving the good results is the massive reduction of poverty in only two states -- China and India. And while these countries clearly adopted more globalization-friendly policies over the past two decades, Dani Rodrik and others are correct in pointing out that neither of them is the IMF poster-state for laissez-faire development policies.
So are the anti-globalization folks right? I don't think so, because their results have even bigger flaws, which I'll get to in a later post. The key thing to realize for now is that the claims of rising global inequality are bogus.
SOON, THEY"LL BE MORE LIBERAL
SOON, THEY"LL BE MORE LIBERAL THAN.... BELARUS: This NYT piece suggests exactly how North Korea is strictly limiting it's "opening" to the rest of the world. The article is funny/depressing, but then there's this bizarre graf:
"The evident discipline and presumed political reliability of the North Korean rooters is not the only reason to suspect they have been specially chosen for what would have been an unimaginable foray south even a year ago. Anything more than a quick glance — and wherever they have appeared here, crowds have been gawking — reveals them to be as esthetically pleasing and perfectly matched as a strand of pearls."
Somehow I don't think the New York Times would have used that language for, say, a Unificationist mass wedding.
"SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM....": I've
"SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM....": I've changed the "contact me" line on the left, not because I want to make it more difficult for readers to e-mail, but to avoid the spam that is infesting my inbox.
Now I can't get that Monty Python sketch out of my head.
TWO BITS ON GERMANY: The
TWO BITS ON GERMANY: The forecast is for light blogging for the next 36 hours, as I have to read through job candidate files for a search my department is conducting. Two thoughts on Germany for the day:
1) More evidence that Germany is trying to smooth things over with the United States (link via InstaPundit). The money graf:
"The German business community has been piling the pressure on Gerhard Schröder, the Chancellor. German exports to the US are already suffering from a strong euro-dollar rate and weakening American demand. Now there is the fear of a consumer boycott."
I actually suspect this fear is greatly exaggerated, but over the long term, this is an interesting phenomenon [What the hell does "interesting" mean? Don't you just say that when you're trying to avoid writing a fuller explanation?--ed. Fine. It's interesting because while it suggests that U.S. market power will exert a powerful influence on other countries, the more you think about it the more you realize that the constraint cuts both ways. If (big if) there were mass European protests close to military action against Iraq, I could easily see U.S. businesses with extensive European operations/markets lobbying the administration to back down. Look at U.S. corporate behavior towards China/Cuba as another example. The libertarian argument is that free markets will produce democracy. Maybe. It's undeniably true that corporations dislike political change because it leads to economic uncertainty. What U.S. firms want in these markets is economic access and the maintenance of the status quo.]
2) Victor Davis Hanson has a Commentary piece echoing the Bob Kagan line, but Hanson's piece is much weaker than Kagan's. First, he notes: "What seems beyond denial is that, from the Atlantic coast to the Balkans, there has been a rise in the level of truculence." Oh, no, not truculence! Why, we've never had that in the post-W.W. II transatlantic relationship, except for the Suez crisis, CoCom, Skybolt, France pulling out of NATO, Vietnam, the collapse of Bretton Woods, the nuclear freeze, the Soviet gas pipeline.... you get my point. Truculence is the norm in transatlantic relations, yet every time it emerges, analysts are surprised anew.
Second, Hanson argues that the transatlantic rift will be permanent because of Americans' long historical memories: "Forgotten in the present anguish over European attitudes is our own age-old suspicion of the Old Country, a latent distrust that once again is slowly reemerging in the face of European carping. It helps to recall that, for millions of Americans, doubts about Europe were once not merely fanciful but often entirely empirical.... At family dinners, “Europe” never meant vacations or the grand tour but evoked gruesome stories about poison gas, “rolling” with Patton, or having one’s head exploded at Normandy Beach."
I applaud Hanson for being in touch with his historical roots -- I seriously doubt whether other Americans are as connected to theirs. As Hanson notes in the same essay, the genius of America is that it allows its citizens, particularly its immigrants, to reinvent themselves. The historical memory that Hanson relies on for his argument should be most powerful among the policymaking elites, but those are the very same people that Hanson acknowledges are bucking the trend of Euroskepticism.
Must read files. Talk amongst youselves.
Tuesday, October 1, 2002
BACK TO IRAQ: Slate under
BACK TO IRAQ: Slate under Jacob Weisberg is having a rollicking good debate on the Iraq question. Some highlights and responses:
-- Tim Noah considers how a war with Iraq would erode the cooperation of Muslim states in the global war on terror. The most damaging argument is the effect it would have on Pakistani cooperation and, potentially, Pakistani stability. He also acknowledges that the quicker the war goes, the lower the costs in terms of lost cooperation. However, Noah doesn't discuss the possible political benefits of eliminating the U.N. embargo and reducing U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia to U.S. standing in the region.
-- Anne Applebaum and Steve Chapman have contributions on whether Hussein is rational enough to be deterred. Their debate is couched in terms of whether Hussein is as "rational" as Western policymakers. Actually, that misses the point. Hussein is clearly rational; the question is how well-informed he is of the actual state of the world. As Ken Pollack has pointed out, Hussein has structured his rule in such a way that no one has a real incentive to deliver the bracing truth to him. In 1991, this meant that Hussein was way too overoptimistic about his chances during the Gulf War. The $64,000 question for today is whether Hussein believes he could survive an American attack against him. You could argue that in this situation, you want Hussein to be overoptimistic, since this reduces the chance that Iraq would use its unconventional weaponry.
TORCHING THE DEMS: Kausfiles and
TORCHING THE DEMS: Kausfiles and Sullivan both believe that Toricelli's withdrawal from the New Jersey Senate race is an underhanded way for Democrats to gain the edge against Republican candidate Douglas Forrester. That was my first instinct, but my second says this strategy won't work. Here's why:
1) Forrester can already claim a significant achievement. The New York Times editorial disses Forrester noting, "until now [he] has focused almost entirely on Mr. Torricelli's ethics." Hey, that turned out to be a pretty relevant issue! And it forced out the Torch. New slogan: Forrester gets results!! Did Lautenberg, Bradley, or any of the other would-be substitutes raise this?
2) Forrester can run against the Senate leadership. As blogger John Cole points out, as of last week Tom Daschle was encouraging voters to look past Toricelli's ethical lapses in order to keep the Democratic hold of the Senate. Forrester can campaign right past whoever the Dems put up and ask voters whether they would really trust a party that wanted a sleazebag to represent them? [Wouldn't the Republicans have sone the same thing?--ed. Possibly, but you could actually make the case that Karl Rove had decent taste in candidates this election season. In retrospect he was right to back Richard Riordian over Simon in the California gubernatorial race, and he also helped unseat Bob Smith in the New Hampshire Republican primary.]
3) The Democrats had their chance. There was a primary election, yes? Toricelli's ethical lapses were public knowledge way before that primary, yes? It will be pretty easy to dig at the Torch's replacement for a Johnny-come-lately attitude towards the voters of New Jersey.
New Jersey is a Democratic state, so I'm not saying this will be an easy campaign. And as ABC's The Note poiints out, no matter what happens in New Jersey, the decision frees up more resources for other races. But it will be very tough for the Democratic party to wipe away the Torch's slime.
UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini makes my general point, but actually knows something about New Jersey politics.
SPLIT? WHAT SPLIT?: Six weeks
SPLIT? WHAT SPLIT?: Six weeks ago, the European Union was threatening to deny EU membership to any country that signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. exempting American soldiers and officials from prosecution for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. Yesterday, the EU jointly agreed to such an exemption. What to make of this?
1) Schroeder is still on the defensive. Germany is rarely on the losing side of an EU decision. Their willingness to go along with this decision indicates that Schroeder is still paying penance for his anti-American election campaign.
2) A looming core/periphery divide. The countries on the periphery of Europe -- Spain, Italy, and the UK -- were the ones pushing the agreement. France and Germany -- the core of the EU -- were the most opposed. This isn't the only issue that will provoke this sort of ideological divide. Imagine what will happen when Poland, the Czech republic, and other U.S.-friendly Eastern European states enter the European Union?
UPDATE: Chris Caldwell has a less sanguine view of where Germany is headed.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Economist has the latest, which suggests that the Bush administration is not budging.
READER RESPONSE: Reader Trent T. replies:
“The real implication here isn’t a ‘looming core/periphery divide.’ It is a French/German one.
The Germans are now a ‘Normal Nation’ with Schroeder as prime minister. The Germans will no longer support the French using the Germans to extend French influence in Europe or elsewhere. The French foreign policy is now in ruins. It has no counterweight to the American ‘Hyperpower,’ even in Europe.
This turn of events is the result of the Euro currency. The reality of the Euro is that European nation-states have lost control of their economic destiny, so the European national leaders are grasping at any straw they can find in order to distract people from holding them accountable for a bad economy.
Schroeder was merely the first Euro-leftist to get there with regard to Anti-Americanism.
He will not be the last.”
Monday, September 30, 2002
Far left vs. far right
Brad DeLong has a fascinating post on why commentators tend to treat public figures and thinkers associated with communism with more respect than those associated with fascism. DeLong admits this is true even though some argue that communism was responsible for more loss of life than fascism.
DeLong thinks it's because:
Actually, I think that statement says a lot more about DeLong's politics than anything else -- I very rarely hear "If only we could live according to Gorbachev's vision" these days. The year I lived in the former Soviet Union, I never heard any praise for Gorbachev.
I like Tony Judt's answer better: intellectuals are drawn to power. Fascism lasted only a generation and was crushed. Soviet-style communism existed for over seventy years. Communism was on the winning side of World War II. The Soviets were able to stand toe-to-toe with the United States for 45 years during the Cold War. The means were repugnant, but the "successes" were long-lasting enough to register in the mind of many an intellectual.
I'd entertain other possible answers.
UPDATE: Reader responses (and my responses to them) are here.
REUTERS GETS RESULTS!!: According to
REUTERS GETS RESULTS!!: According to this Reuters story, entering the phrase "go to hell" in the Google search engine spits back Microsoft as the most accurate link. The story also notes that "The official home pages for AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America Online division and for Walt Disney Co. also come in among the top five results under the "go to hell" query."
The story was posted today on CNN's web site at 12:33 PM EDT. Less than three hours later, I just tried "go to hell" at Google and got none of those sites on my first page of results. The #1 site was hell.com. Google must have fixed the "glitch."
P.S. Out of curiosity, I also entered "heaven" and got this site as the most popular, which suggests that maybe the Web has yet to outgrow its geek origins. [Not that there's anything wrong with that!!--ed.]
PAGING THE FOREIGN ECONOMIC POLICY
PAGING THE FOREIGN ECONOMIC POLICY TEAM! STAT!: In the early days of the Bush administration, it seemed that policymakers recognized that our foreign economic policy matters were inseparable from our overall foreign policy. Both Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell made it clear that they intended to play a greater role in these issues.
This was a promising trend. When the U.S. realizes the link between our security and our trade, aid, and finance policies, the result has usually been the introduction of visionary policies that pay long-term dividends. Bretton Woods, the Marshall Plan, CoCom, NAFTA, and the WTO are powerful examples of this sort of vision. These economic policies enhanced our security because they bolstered our allies and laid out a clear message to the rest of the world: play by the rules and reap the rewards.
Unfortunately, this initial spark of interest does not seem to have lasted. Indeed, since 9/11, our foreign economic policy has not been pretty:
1) We maintained trade barriers against imports vital to the Pakistani economy;
If our national security strategy is devoted to the building up of weak states into open economies with strong governments, our foreign economic policy seems designed to thwart that goal at every significant opportunity.
Who’s to blame? The latest issue of Time magazine suggests Karl Rove, who clearly affected the steel and agricultural decisions. But that’s too easy – Rove is just doing his job. No, the blame lies with the heavyweight foreign policymakers who, as the Time article indicates, are firm about denying Rove input into security decisions but seem less perturbed by his interference in equally vital economic matters. Blame also rests squarely on Paul O’Neill, who is either unwilling or unable to be the lead Bush spokesman on these matters.
Politics can never be divorced from foreign economic policy. But as we're waging a global war on terror and trying to attract allies for dealing with Iraq, how about a trial separation?
UPDATE: The Economist on the underwhelming Bank/Funds meetings (link via Brad DeLong)
IRAQ AND DETERRENCE: The money
IRAQ AND DETERRENCE: The money graf in Bob Leiber's op-ed on why Saddam Hussein is not deterrable:
"To keep his nuclear program alive, Hussein has defied no fewer than 16 successive U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding his compliance with inspections. Iraq has forfeited some $150 billion in oil revenues because it has refused to meet its disarmament obligations. If U.N. economic sanctions, periodic punishment by U.S. and British airstrikes in the no-fly zone, and the heavy costs of noncompliance have not persuaded Hussein to abandon his nuclear program, why believe that he can be deterred once he actually has obtained the weapons?"
Food for thought.