Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Making the World Unsafe For Democracy

I've never heard of the concepts of "pacing yourself", so here's a third post. A lot of people more sanguine about the prospects for war in Iraq than myself (a quick reminder: I personally support a war against Saddam Hussein, but only once the Democrats are in power1) think that the post-war reconstruction of Iraq will be made much easier by the fact that there are masses of the populace who have been denied the sweet fruit of democratic rights, and will gladly co-operate with the US Army because they see the prospect of enjoying the freedoms taken for granted by us in the West. Extreme versions of this theory have the entire Arab world erupting into joyous revolution in sympathy with the victorious Americans, rather in the manner of Eastern Europe in 1989. I'm less than convinced.

Let us take the case of Vietnam for example (terrible taboo, I know, but it can't be completely swept under the carpet). The Americans were in control of South Vietnam for a long time. There were elections; a bit corrupt, perhaps, but certainly more democratic than the Communist Party was proposing. There was more free speech, freedom of association, opposition parties, etc, etc. There was also much freer availability of extremely pure heroin, but that's a topic for a different day. The South was also much more materially prosperous than the North, and the Americans would have been more than happy to extend these benefits to the whole of Vietnam. The USA would also have made a much better ally against the historical enemy of China than an always parlous and semi-detached relationship with Soviet Russia.

Did the Vietnamese population realise how good they had it? Did they hell. At the end of the day, the appeal of the VietCong was simple; they were Viets and the Americans bloody well weren't. I could multiply examples throughout history, but the point is always the same. People, in general, value basic rights and freedoms a lot less than they value their national pride, where "national pride" means in operational terms, giving a lot of grief to people who aren't the same as themselves. Even without the added factor of religion, I don't see any future in which the majority of Iraq's oil production is owned by non-Iraqis, as a future which holds any peace for anyone anywhere. People could set my mind at a heckuva lot more rest if they could reassure me that this wasn't the plan ...

In semi-related news, thinking about Vietnam reminds me of a point I'd like some views on from any passing neoliberals. Under the Vietnamese Communist administration, a decent primary education is provided to the majority of Vietnam's children. That means, operationally, that when you open up a sweatshop, you're not taking children out of a gutter, or out of worse employment. You're taking them out of school. Would someone like to find fault with this argument, or am I correct in saying that in the specific case of Vietnam, "globalisation" in the form of Nike and related factories, is potentially a very great developmental evil, whatever its pros and cons elsewhere in the region>

1 No, really, this is a serious opinion. I'm convinced of the case for removing Saddam. But I'm not convinced that the world will not be made a much less safe and worse place if the United States of America decides to become an Empire, particularly if it tries to do so semi-consciously, with no real domestic political support for the expense or manpower commitment involved. That's why I think that the French are playing an absolute blinder diplomatically, slowing down the rush to war and insisting that things take place on a multilateral basis, so that the aftermath of war doesn't just look like a US colony complete with viceroy and disgruntled populace. I think that the temptations toward Empire are considerably greater for Bush (it is impolite to mention the word "oil" these days, but what else do you use to grease a slippery slope) than they would be for a US Administration with less obvious and deep-seated connections to an industry which (in a post-war environment) benefit greatly from an imperial US presence, so my compromise position is that I'll support regime change in Iraq once we have a regime in Washington that can remotely be trusted not to fuck up the aftermath.

0 comments this item posted by the management 2/05/2003 10:52:00 AM

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Bitch : Lab
Aaronovitch Watch
Brad Delong
The Robert Vienneau blog

Political and philosophical heroes

Subcomandante Marcos
Will Rogers
Boris Vian
The English Svejk

RSS Feed:
This seems to matter to a lot of people

If you liked this "Daniel Davies" website, you might be interested in

"Danux", the web developer
The martial artist (and fan of extremely annoying Flash intros) from Blackburn
The Welsh political journalist
A Scouse computer programmer who collects Soviet cameras
"Danimal", the heavy metal drummer
Canada's finest recorder of radio jingles
More of the same, at the Guardian
A tailor's in Lampeter where Jimmy Carter once bought a hat
An advertising man who has written a novel about dogging (I think we sometimes get each other's email)
An award-winning facilities manager in Dubai
The son of the guitarist from the Kinks Update: he is apparently "balls-out motherfucking shit-dicked exxxstatic" to be included on a Kerrang magazine giveaway CD of Iron Maiden covers, which is nice.
"Fritz Gretel" from the Ramones film "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
The former presenter of the leading politics talk radio show on the Isle of Man, now a business change manager in the Manx government secretary's office
An aquarium curator in Sussex who keeps on scoring home runs like this (this is the first stable link I've found, but he is constantly kicking ass in acquarial terms)

If you didn't like this "Daniel Davies" website, then don't give up on the Daniel Davies industry completely!

An American "Christian Political Analyst" who has the same name as me
A student at Patrick Henry College
these two might be the same guy ...
"Scatter", the deceased Liberian gangster
A naked man stuck in a chimney in Wigan
A thug in Barrow

This blog has been going downhill since ...

August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
November 2003
December 2003
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011
November 2011
December 2011
January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
December 2012
February 2013
April 2013
June 2013
July 2013
August 2013
March 2014
April 2014
August 2014
October 2015
March 2023