J. Bradford DeLong

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2002-06-04: Philip Habib and Ariel Sharon

<The Permanent Link to This Will Be: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TotW/Daily_Journal_2002_06.html#2002-06-04-habib>

My friend John Boykin has just finished a book [John Boykin (2002), Cursed Is the Peacemaker (Belmont, CA: Applegate Press: 0971943206)] about American diplomat Philip Habib, and his attempt to stop the 1982 Beirut Massacre (which in the end did not happen). It is turning out to be a very timely book, for Habib's principal antagonist as he tried to carry out the mission that Reagan had assigned him was then-Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, the prime mover behind Operation "Peace for Galilee," Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon to expel Yasir Arafat's PLO from the country and to try to install a pro-Israeli government in the country. John says (p. xv) that he "neither knew nor cared about Sharon" when he started the book, and "simply followed the most interesting vein of the story wherever it led." In this context it is interesting that the person who comes off worst of all in the book is Alexander Haig, the person who comes off second worst is Ariel Sharon, and the third-worst impression is made by the soldiers of the IDF--the Israel Defense Force.

Alexander Haig, then American Secretary of State, makes the worst impression of all. In the months leading up to Sharon's invasion, Sharon had repeatedly told Haig that the PLO's armed presence in Lebanon was intolerable, that the security of Israel required that it be ended, and that he--Sharon--was going to do the job. Sharon interpreted what Haig told him back as a green light for the invasion--that Haig understood Israel's problems and requirements, and that such an operation would be acceptable to the United States if it was carried out in response to a sufficiently bloody and brutal provocation. Sharon and his Prime Minister Menachem Begin took the attempted assassination of Israel's Ambassador to Great Britain as such a provocation, and launched its invasion.

But Haig had, apparently, not told Ronald Reagan or anyone else in the White House about his conversations with Sharon, or failed to understand how Sharon would interpret them. When the Israeli invasion of Lebanon began, the White House's first reaction was to summon Special Presidential Envoy Philip Habib to meet with Reagan, and to send him off to the Middle East to stop the war--to find an acceptable political solution. But Alexander Haig (and Ariel Sharon) had a very different view of what Habib's mission was. As John Boykin (pp. 60-61) writes, Habib found it "...very strange, like having two different mandates." Reagan's instructions had been, "Go over there and get this thing settled." Haig's had been, "Go over there"and, as Boykin tells it, more or less go through some motions. Habib was Reagan's representative, but reported to Reagan through Haig, who had "in fact blessed this [invasion] without telling anybody.... [T]hat put [Habib] in a very strange situation."

Reagan's instructions had been based on Reagan's and his immediate circle of advisors' view of the world, which was primitive and simplistic. As Boykin tells the story (pp. 57-58), "Habib always knew what Reagan wanted: for him to keep people from killing one another and to get them talking. That wasn't terribly sophisticated guidance, but it was clear. It suited Habib fine.... Reagan had complete confidence in Phil Habib because he liked him and because Habib came highly recommended and seemed to know what he was doing.... The disadvantage... was that [Reagan] had little understanding of the problems Habib was trying to solve.... He thought Syria's missiles in Lebanon were aimed at the heart of Israel, that the troubles of Lebanon were stirred up by the Soviets, and that the PLO was an instrument of the Soviets.... Habib found Reagan... a man 'who couldn't remember detail from one minute to the next'." As Haig described Reagan (p. 59): "He wasn't a mean man. He was just stupid."

Haig's view of what should happen was very different (see pp. 84-5). Haig thought that a good outcome would see the Israel Defense Force--the IDF--smash the PLO's military capability, send its political leadership running for whatever safety they could find, and in the process destroy whatever of Hafez Assad's Syrian military got in the way. This would, he thought, gut Soviet influence in the Middle East. If it were demonstrated that the U.S. client (Israel) could easily whip the Soviet client (Syria), then more countries would want to be U.S. clients and the U.S. would have won a victory. It was almost as if Haig saw the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. as the fans of rival sports teams, each taking pride and joy in its team's victory.

But it was far from clear that a full-scale military clash between Israel and Syria accompanied by Syria's decisive defeat and withdrawal would "gut Soviet influence" in the Middle East. Leonid Brezhnev had warned Reagan that the Soviet Union would intervene if Israel was not restrained. Soviet airborne troops were already on alert. A Brezhnev anxious to demonstrate the Soviet Union's commitment to its allies might have been willing to base a Soviet Motorized Rifle Army in Syria. A Hafez Assad terrified of what Israel might do might well be willing to accept such a basing--even if it did mean that his independence from Soviet control thereafter would have been... limited. It seems to me (and seemed to almost everyone at the time save Alexander Haig) that a major clash between Israel and Syria would increase the Soviet Union's influence in the Middle East, not decrease it.

Haig thus comes off very badly: not a team player, not able to keep the rest of the administration informed of what was going on beforehand, not willing to tell anyone in the White House why Sharon was so confident during the invasion, hoping that Reagan's special envoy would fail in his mission, and having little sense of what the national security of the United States required--which was not a confrontation between Israeli and Soviet tanks on the road from Beirut to Damascus.

But the rest of the U.S. government comes off little better than Haig. At one point Habib finds that the PLO agreement to terms he thought he had achieved had slipped away because the PLO was no longer frightened of the IDF. Why not? Because (pp. 95-96) "U.S. Vice President George [H.W.] Bush and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, attending the funeral of Saudi King Khalid, had told the Saudis that the U.S. would pressure Israel not to enter Beirut. That news had the effect of telling the PLO that they were not about to be destroyed. So why should they budge?" George H.W. Bush and Caspar Weinberger gain some points with the Saudi regime. In the process they make Philip Habib's task of defusing the Lebanon crisis harder, and thus put an obstacle in the path of achieving America's national security goals.

However, the second-worst impression is left by then-Israeli Defense Minister and now Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon successively betrays everyone he deals with. He betrays the Israeli cabinet at the start of the 1982 war by concealing from them the magnitude of the operation he has planned. He betrays Phlip Habib by breaking ceasefire commitments made to him in the early days, before the siege of Beirut begins. He betrays his boss Menachem Begin by launching large-scale attacks on Beirut on the eve of the final settlement--as Boykin writes (p. 233-4), the "August 12 blitz 'was the straw that broke the camel's back with Begin's view of Sharon', says Lewis. Begin was furious with Sharon about it and deeply embarrassed.... He forbade Sharon to take any further military actions without his approval.... The Cabinet divested Sharon of his authority to activate the airforce..."

Moreover--and this is the coup de grace--Sharon breaks his commitments not to seek to harm Palestinian civilians left in Lebanon. As Boykin writes (p. 271), "As Sharon tells the story [of the refugee camp massacres], the problem was not that hundreds of people got killed. It was just that too many of the wrong people got killed. The Phalangists just 'went too far', he says, killing too many civilians when they were supposed to be killing only terrorists. To Phil Habib and most of the rest of the world, the problem was that no such operation should have happened at all.... Phil Habib... was devastated.... It wasn't just that everything he had worked for all summer had now gone down the toilet. It was that he was the one who had promised the civilians' safety. 'I had signed this paper which guaranteed that these people in west Beirut would not be harmed. I got specific guarantees on this from Bashir and from the Israelis--from Sharon'. He said he 'had been given assurances... that no action would be taken against the Palestinians remaining in the camps.... On the basis of those assurances we had given our word. We had been deceived.... Sharon was a killer, obsessed by hatred of the Palestinians,' Habib said. 'I had given Arafat an undertaking that his people would not be harmed, but this was toally disregarded by Sharon whose word was worth nothing.'" The refugee camp massacres that Sharon masterminded stained the honor not just of Israel but of the United States as well, for it was President Reagan's personal representative who had guaranteed the safety of Palestinian civilians left behind after the PLO's evacuation of Beirut.

The third-worst impression is left by the soldiers of the IDF. Even after all the agreements for the PLO's evacuation from Beirut had been set, they still rolled their tanks up to positions from which they could shoot at evacuees. They spit on U.S. Marines. They smeared their own feces all over the Beirut Airport before they turned control of it over to the U.S. Marine detachment.

That these three--Alexander Haig, Ariel Sharon, and the soldiers of the IDF--come off worst in Boykin's book is very interesting, for if one were to make up a list of the villains who have made the Middle East into the ratf*** it is today, Alexander Haig, Ariel Sharon, and the soldiers of the IDF would not rank high on a list that would include the Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasir Arafat, Hafez Assad, Bashir Gemayel, and a host of other more sinister characters. The IDF is the best-behaved, best-disciplined, and most scrupulous army in the region: the people most likely to be concerned not to harm civilians through their use of force. Alexander Haig is an intelligent, hard-working patriot, even if he does think that victory consists in winning a battle rather than in convincing someone not to be your enemy. Ariel Sharon is trying to find a path to peace and security for Israel in a context in which his enemies command the killing of Jews--any Jews--as pleasing to God, or remind their followers repeatedly about how the Prophet Mohammed broke his truce with the Quraysh and conquered them even though he had sworn it for ten years, and eight years of that time span still remained.

I think that the fact that these three come off as the villains of the peace is an index of Boykin's success. He set himself the task (p. xvi) of "convey[ing] how the world looked through Philip Habib's eyes and tell[ing] the story from his perspective." And these three--Alexander Haig, Ariel Sharon, and the IDF--were the three principal obstacles to Habib's mission of stopping the fighting and keeping Beirut from becoming an abattoir. Thus they loom large as negative forces keeping the protagonist from achieving his goals: they are the villains of the piece. But if you step backward and examine just how limited Habib's goals were--ceasefire, end of the siege of Beirut, evacuation of the PLO fighters to Tunisia--and are led to think about just what were the forces that kept Habib from thinking he could even try to attain larger goals, you will, I think, be led to a different set of villains...

2002-06-04: Chubais. Someday I'm going to have to figure out the motivations of Anatoly Chubais. How to understand the change from the Chubais of late 1991--who wanted, more than anything, an honest and fair privatization process--to the Chubais of late 1993--who said that the privatization process needed to assign huge numbers of shares to "red directors" to recognize the realities on the ground if anything was going to happen--to the Chubais of late 1995--who believed that the government should give away the rest of Soviet industry for a song (for otherwise it would soon be stolen anyway) and in the process create strong plutocrats who would be powerful political allies for the government?

2002-06-04: Funny: http://poorman.blogspot.com/2002_05_26_poorman_archive.html#77196914

Friday, May 31, 2002  

Search engines up, counters down. Yeah, that's how I do it here - where the only thing you should expect ... is the unexpected! What am I, the king of HTML, throwing up all kinds of fancy gadgets like it ain't no thing? Could be.

Recently, the NR's "The Corner" was crowned the 3rd-best right-wing blog in a lavish ceremony presented by the Right-Wing News. The Poor Man did not rate, perhaps due to the fact that it contains no news, or that I'm not right-wing, or perhaps because this page sucks Satan's left nut like it's on a mission. In any case, I'm not going to ignore a successful formula, so I'm launching a special Corner-esque feature, where I try to Corner-ize my content to increase my synergistic B2B click-through. As near as I can tell, this involves having incredibly long and tedious minjing sessions where you dispute the hit counters of more successful or ideologically impure commentators. Without any further ado:

The Cornier

I think that conservative students on college campuses are the unsung heroes of modern America. They are forced to put up with dirty looks from white people with dreadlocks and very wide trousers. Not to be overdramatic, but isn't this really exactly as bad as Blacks had it in the segregated South? Didn't they get their student newspapers burned by hippy anarchists or something? Aren't Universities the new plantations, Professors and long-hairs the new slave masters, and acceptance letters to B-school the new lynching? Anyway, I think we should think about some kind of reparations for the abuses that Young Republicans have had to put up with all these years. Perhaps a national fund that could be used to buy them gift certificates to Tucker Carlson's Maison de Bow-Ties. What'd'ya think?
Posted 3:55 AM | [Link]

I became an American citizen hoping to escape the tyranny and oppression of my home country of Great Britain. Hoping to breathe free, out from under the Stalinist yoke of the NHS and the semi-nationalized rail system. And yet, people in this country seem to take these freedoms for granted, even denegrating the people who gave them these freedoms, like Richard Nixon. He gets a lot of bad press, but ever notice how you've never hear about what Bill Clinton was doing at the time. Actually, have you ever seen "Deep Throat" and Clinton in the same room? And Bob Woodward looks suspiciously like Chelsea, if you drink six bottles of sherry and squint. And I do. Liberal media cover-up? Yes.
Posted 3:00 PM | [Link]

I don't think Mickey Kaus' hit stats are really true. Just a feeling I have. I don't actually know if he keeps stats, but he seems like the kind of person who would engage in nefarious schemes to inflate them. I mean, I'm not "player-hating" here, but he is on Slate. Comments?
Posted 2:27 PM | [Link]

MEC-KA-BOOM![John Whaleburg]
When we nuke the holy sites of Islam, should we use ICBMs or Stealth bombers? Neutron bombs or high-yeild H-bombs? Hypothetically.
Posted 1:37 PM | [Link]

Can you believe that Andrew Sullivan claims to have gotten 1,231 unique hits last Thursday. Um, Andrew ... I visited your site twice, from different computers! So why don't you try 1,230 on for size. You deceitful ex-pat traitorous liar!
Posted 1:20 PM | [Link]

Slate claims to get 3 million different hits a year. Well, I'm certainly not one to begrudge another's success, but whoop-dee-doo-da! I mean, Slate just gives away all their content free! I mean, so do we, but Slate gives it away on a Microsoft site. If The Cornier was on Microsoft, we'd get like 3 million hits every single day! Probably half the people who go there are fat middle-aged housewives trying to go to MSN's Special Valentine's Day Soft-Focus Soap-Opera Porn Sex Quiz, but too drunk off of Arbor Mist lemon-lime Chardonney at four in the afternoon to hit the right link. And Mickey Kaus is gonna regret it when MS goes under and he lives in a box under a bridge. Maybe he can write his blogs on a cardboard sign he uses to panhandle traffic on the interstate! Try THAT information superhighway, sell-out! Not that I'm jealous at all. And not that there's any such thing as homelessness.
Posted 12:13 AM | [Link]

I was in the Walmart the other day, pricing flags (nothing fancy, just a mid-range one-handed model for discreet waving, such as at cocktail parties or in church), when I noticed a jigsaw puzzle on the discount table. It depicted cute kittens playing with a ball of yarn. Can't get more wholesome than that, right? Wrong! The side panel bore the legend "500 PC PUZZLE - Ages 5+". That's right - 500 PC! In our own discount mega stores, children as young as 5 are being exposed to the corrupting influence of Politically Correct East Coast humanities professors, whose "deconstruction" of a cute image of kittens is merely a gateway to a life of promiscuity, intravenous drug use, Beat poetry, cross-dressing and moral relativism. Maggie would never have let this happened.
Posted 11:41 AM | [Link]

TAP THAT ASS [John Whaleburg]
TAPPED recently has been bragging that they got 10,000 "hits" on May 17th. Yeah, they got "hits" - bong hits! Or maybe hits on the head with the Liar Stick! Pshaw! I'd as soon read that blog as buy the Hillary Clinton All-Nude Oil Wrestling Calendar! Zing! Bang! Whaa-whaa-whaa-zooooooooo!!
Posted 11:11 AM | [Link]
posted by Andrew Northrup | 5:11 PM

2002-06-03: Indignities

I got a paper cut on my finger. And then when I got into my car and put on my sunglasses, I burned my nose. The sunglasses had been lying in the sun, you see. And even though the air temperature was only in the low seventies, the metal part of the sunglasses's nosepiece and the air had not reached thermal equilibrium.

Yet another lesson in how fierce the radiation environment of San Francisco is in the month of June. We're not *that* far north of the Tropic of Cancer, after all. We in San Francisco have this enormous heat source/sink called the Pacific Ocean kept at between 55 and 60 degrees all year round. It dominates our air and ground temperatures (and our water temperature!). But we still have the summer sunshine of Spain's Mediterranean Coast.

2002-06-03: European Monetary Policy

<The Permanent Link to This Will Be: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/TotW/Daily_Journal_2002_06.html#2002-06-03-interest>

The Economist reports that "...there is a real risk that the European Central Bank will feel it has to raise interest rates" this summer, and blames it on two factors: (i) the European Central Bank's statutory obligation to keep inflation below two percent per year, and (ii) the failure of European governments to undertake steps that would reduce the unemployment rate at which inflation begins to creep upward. Even so, I find it hard to see raising interest rates today as anything but unwise.

The Economist would prefer--no surprise--to attribute blame to "structural rigidity" instead of (or in addition to) a central bank that doesn't seem to understand its mission. In the Economist's view, it is "...
But on the substance of policy, the bank’s predicament is real. Again unlike its American and British counterparts, its statutory obligations relate only to the maintenance of price stability. It has no direct role in fostering economic growth (though economists would generally argue that low inflation is a necessary precondition for sustainable growth). Some economists argue that the bank made a rod for its own back in the way it chose to define price stability. America's Fed has no publicly announced target. The British government gives the Bank of England a target which is symmetrical—2.5% plus or minus 1%. This means equal weight is given to fluctuations either side of the central target.

The ECB went for an asymmetric target. Success in achieving its objective means it must bring inflation in at no more than 2%. It has given itself no flexibility to cope with occasions when economic weakness might justify a lower level of interest rates than is compatible with meeting the inflation target. This opened the ECB to considerable criticism last year, when the Fed was slashing interest rates at monthly intervals to stave off recession and the ECB was stubbornly resisting a similarly aggressive monetary policy.

The ECB’s critics might now argue that Europe is paying the price for this. Far from being immune to the global downturn (as some European leaders publicly argued at the beginning of 2001), the euro area has shown it is at least as vulnerable as anywhere else. It is also struggling to recover economic momentum—especially when compared with its transatlantic partner.

governments resistant to the reforms which they have pledged to make" that are at fault: "Europe's labour and capital markets remain much more regulated than those in America: and European economies are now paying the price for that."

Yet, even so--even given the slowness of European governments to undertake structural reforms to reduce the NAIRU, and even given the European Central Bank's statutory obligation to price stability, polic is strange. It is remarkable that the European Central Bank has cut interest rates by only 1.5 percentage points since the end of 2000. Without inflation clearly climbing above two percent, it is hard to justify raising interest rates as a strike--preemptive or otherwise--against inflation. And until there come to be signs of rising wages and shortages of skilled workers, it is hard to see how unfixed "structural rigidities" would enter the European Central Bank's decision-making process.

Besides, there are at least some economists--Olivier Blanchard for one--who seem to think that structural reform has already been accomplished, has not yet paid its NAIRU-reducing dividend, yet is about to...

From the Economist:

The European Central Bank meets to decide on its interest-rate policy this week, amid growing speculation that European interest rates might rise earlier than America’s. Could the tension between inflation and economic growth endanger Europe's weak recovery?

PRICE stability. It’s the mantra of the European Central Bank (ECB), but it is also, in the view of some economists, the bank’s Achilles heel. As the members of the ECB’s governing council get ready for the monthly discussion on interest-rate policy on June 6th, they face a dilemma. Europe’s economic recovery is, at best, feeble: compared with the euro area, America is now surging ahead. Yet there is a real risk that the ECB will feel it has to raise interest rates well ahead of its American counterpart. What has gone so badly wrong?

The short-term problem is straightforward. Economic growth in the euro area as a whole is barely discernible. Figures released on May 30th show growth of only 0.2% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the last quarter of 2001. And revisions to the figures mean that the euro area actually contracted, by 0.3%, in the last three months of last year, compared with the previous quarter. Dismal indeed. But inflation is not nearly as subdued as the ECB would like. According to the figures published on May 31st, euro-area inflation fell to 2% in May, the first time it has been within the bank's target range (2% or below) since December. That slightly bigger-than-expected drop might buy the bank some breathing space: but it might not enable it to postpone raising rates for long.

It is easy, and thus tempting, to blame the bank itself for all its woes. It certainly bears much of the responsibility for attracting blame. Since its inception, a few months before the start of economic and monetary union in January 1999, the ECB’s public relations have been little short of disastrous. There is an alarming lack of transparency in the way the bank decides policy—in sharp contrast to America’s Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, the European institution publishes no records of its discussions.

At the same time, members of the council have been too ready to have their public say—and too often have appeared to contradict each other. Perhaps the worst offender is the bank’s president, Wim Duisenberg, whose incautious remarks have, more than once, sent the euro plunging on the foreign-exchange markets—and this at a time when the bank was trying to talk the fledgling currency up. Unkind critics note that Mr Duisenberg’s previous experience of running monetary policy, as head of the Dutch central bank, was to take orders from the German Bundesbank.

But on the substance of policy, the bank’s predicament is real. Again unlike its American and British counterparts, its statutory obligations relate only to the maintenance of price stability. It has no direct role in fostering economic growth (though economists would generally argue that low inflation is a necessary precondition for sustainable growth). Some economists argue that the bank made a rod for its own back in the way it chose to define price stability. America's Fed has no publicly announced target. The British government gives the Bank of England a target which is symmetrical—2.5% plus or minus 1%. This means equal weight is given to fluctuations either side of the central target.

The ECB went for an asymmetric target. Success in achieving its objective means it must bring inflation in at no more than 2%. It has given itself no flexibility to cope with occasions when economic weakness might justify a lower level of interest rates than is compatible with meeting the inflation target. This opened the ECB to considerable criticism last year, when the Fed was slashing interest rates at monthly intervals to stave off recession and the ECB was stubbornly resisting a similarly aggressive monetary policy.

The ECB’s critics might now argue that Europe is paying the price for this. Far from being immune to the global downturn (as some European leaders publicly argued at the beginning of 2001), the euro area has shown it is at least as vulnerable as anywhere else. It is also struggling to recover economic momentum—especially when compared with its transatlantic partner.

This is true. But at least some of the blame for Europe’s lacklustre performance lies with governments resistant to the reforms which they have pledged to make. Europe's labour and capital markets remain much more regulated than those in America: and European economies are now paying the price for that.

In fact, the ECB has been remarkably willing to tolerate inflation above its target range. For the past two years, inflation in the euro area has been above 2%: and in spite of the encouraging May figure, many economists doubt that it will fall much further, if at all, during the rest of this year. Monetary growth, which the bank has tended to explain away on technical grounds, remains stubbornly high. Wage settlements in several of the larger economies, including Germany, France and Spain, are high. And German consumers have put their government on the defensive, claiming that the introduction of euro notes and coins in January pushed prices up.

The ECB is still in the process of building credibility for itself. It has made price stability the test of this, and it has yet failed to deliver. It might not be able to postpone raising interest rates for much longer. Ironically, the current weakness of the dollar, and the corresponding relative strength of the euro might yet dampen inflationary pressures in the euro area. But if sustained, of course, a stronger euro will also make life more difficult for European exporters—and could itself hamper recovery. It’s an uncomfortable predicament for the policymakers of Frankfurt.

Recent Entries:

| Philip Habib and Ariel Sharon | Indignities | European Interest Rate Policy | Republicans: The Really Stupid Party |

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|May | World Population Distribution | Google Is My Other Brain | Russia in the 1990s | Nightly Business Report II | Trust, but Verify? | Thinking About Unemployment | Why Has U.S. Growth Been Relatively Rapid? | Freedom to Innovate? | The Silence of the Priests | Free Pants! | Jean Dreze Sounding Neoliberal | McCarthyite Nutboys in the OEOB | Dan Kennedy on Bush Foreign Policy | The Private Sector and Repairing One's Laptop

| April | Krugman too Partisan? | We Are Californians | Does It Matter That George W. Bush Is Dumb and Lazy? | Why There Will Be No Peace in Palestine | Tax Day | Nightly Business Report | Cognitive Anticipation | Dealing with Robert Skidelsky | Indian Retail Politics

|March| Twirlip of the Mists | Laptops Outside | Steel Tariffs | Trade Deficit | David Brock

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Recent Entries:

2002-06-03: Distance Is Dead, But Are Personal Networks Alive?

From: "Ahmed Zameel" <ahmedzameel@hotmail.com>
To: delong@econ.Berkeley.EDU
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 20:48:45 +0500
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 31 May 2002 15:48:45.0517 (UTC) FILETIME=[A59B8FD0:01C208BA]
Status: O

Can you help me by briefly explaining the required assumption that should be taken into account for the discussion of equilibrium level of national income under Keynesian economic model?

I am a student who just started my first year in degree. This is my first time studying in English medium, which follows a UK degree program

It would be kind of you if you can tell me some web sites where I can go through for further understanding of Keynesian economic about how he had explain the equilibrium level of national income

Books want be a good idea because it would be really difficult to find one. Because I live in a third world country which is not so rich in English books, even in a library it would be hard to find more than 3 books under one subject
And by the way it is not easy for me to log in to Internet at any time I want. Because I have to go a cyber café to log in. and it cost around US$1 per every 10 minute, which is a big amount for me or most of the people in my country. Because with US$1 I can have a good meal in other words I sacrifices a lot of good meals just to use the net

It would be kind of you if you use simple English because my English is not so good. I am happy to say that my spoken English is the best in the class. I improve my English by talking to tourists, as that is what I do as a part time job (a tour guide) through them only I got hold of internet and one of them actually showed me this site and told me to e-mail my questions, he helped me to open my e-mail address

I think I have told more about my self then what I want

I be checking my e-mail in around 3 to 4 days time hoping that I will have a reply.

My own attempt to create some interesting web materials on how Keynes thought about the equilibrium level of national income is at: <http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/macro_online/simple_animations_library/sa_library.html>.

Tell me if it is useful: tell me if it is the kind of thing you are looking for...

2002-06-03: Republicans: The Really Stupid Party

I can't stand it. I just can't stand it. I can't believe it...

From: Doug Henwood <dhenwood@panix.com>
Subject: Bush to Cardoso: you have blacks too?
Sender: owner-lbo-talk@lists.panix.com
Reply-To: lbo-talk@lists.panix.com

[Translated from Der Spiegel. Original at



Do you have blacks in Brazil?

It is said, that, before September 11, George W. Bush thought the Taliban were a Bavarian brass band. Now, thanks to his comprehensive knowledge, the most powerful man in the world has got into hot water again.

Washington - It was Condoleezza Rice, national security advisor, who helped her boss out of the embarassing situation. During a conversation between the two presidents, George W. Bush, 55, (USA) and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, 71, (Brazil), Bush bewildered his colleague with the question "Do you have blacks, too?"

Rice, 47, noicing how astonished the Brazilian was, saved the day by telling Bush "Mr. President, Brazil probably has more blacks than the USA. Some say it's the Country with the most blacks outside Africa." Later, the Brazilian president Cardoso said: regarding Latin America, Bush was still in his "learning phase".

2002-05-31: The World Population Distribution

The Permanent Link to This Will Be: <http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/Daily_Journal_2002_05_late.html#2002-05-31-population>

I'm tired of maps of world population that lazily represent a country's population as evenly distributed throughout its territory. Who in India lives in the Thar Desert? How many people in Egypt live outside the Nile Valley? The map below--with each dot representing ten million people--is an attempt to show the real human population distribution in 2000.

The first thing that jumps out at you just how much humanity today is still concentrated in the old river-valley Eurasian agriculural heartlands: the Ganges-Indus and the China Coast-Yangtze-Yellow River regions, plus secondary population concentrations in Honshu, Java, along the Nile, and the Rhine-Thames (plus the mouths of the Niger, the Hudson, and the southern coast of Brazil.

Perhaps the most curious thing from the long-term structure of human population history is the Middle East. The quadrilateral from Greece to Ebypt to Iran to the Caucasus held perhaps half the human race 7000 years ago. The other earliest civilizations--India and China--have maintained their relative demographic weight. What happened to the Middle East?

U.S. Feels the Pain of Steel Tariffs
As Prices Rise, Supply Is Reduced


WASHINGTON -- Less than three months after the Bush administration suggested its stiff new tariffs on steel imports would have only a limited impact on prices, the levies are sending waves of pain through America's manufacturing sector -- including steep price increases, supply shortages and layoff threats.

"The Bush administration just assumed that people could eat this -- that it would be no big deal," says Charles Blum, a consultant who advises U.S. middlemen who buy and sell steel domestically. "But it has become a big deal very fast."

Mr. Bush's advisers, watching the effects warily, now concede that they have been taken by surprise. Along with their own studies, they point to the advice the steel manufacturers offered before the tariffs were announced on March 5. Thomas Usher, chief executive of U.S. Steel Corp., told the Senate in February that the levies "will only result in modest and reasonable price increases."

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick played down concerns then about prices, saying they "might go up over time," but "without any significant effect on the economic recovery and growth."

But Thursday, the Commerce Department's top trade official said the current market might extend into the fall. "The president has advised us to keep track of this," said Grant Aldonas, undersecretary of commerce for international trade. The administration hopes it is just "a temporary blip," he added. The intent of the tariffs "wasn't to create any windfall profits."

The tariff decision unleashed a barrage of withering international criticism and reprisal threats, but it now appears that President Bush also may pay a domestic political price. Anger is spreading across the Industrial Belt as manufacturers complain that the president's bid to help one industry is hurting hundreds of companies that employ far more workers.

"What we're facing now is entirely because of decisions in Washington," said Frank Mehwald, chief executive of Atlantic Tool & Die Inc. in Strongsville, Ohio, a 450-employee supplier of automobile parts. In recent weeks, all of Mr. Mehwald's steel suppliers have increased prices by 20% or more, breaking existing contracts. He now spends much of his days scrambling to find the steel he needs.

"This has never happened before -- people are breaking contracts all up and down the supply chain," said Richard McClain of Chicago-based Metalforming Technologies Inc., a 1,400-employee concern that makes automobile parts. He said that last week most of his middlemen voided existing contracts and raised prices by more than 30%. He is also having trouble getting enough steel. "If we can't get steel, we'll have to cut jobs," he said.

Some steel buyers already are cutting back production. Bloomfield Manufacturing in Middlesex County, N.J., now staggers its skeleton crew at scrap-melting plants that make mesh and wire. The company now works with eight employees, almost half that of last year.

The real crunch may be a month or more off, when manufacturers find out whether they can pass along increases. In Minnesota, Erick Ajax runs a company that makes freezer hinges that sell for about 30 cents each, with steel costs well over half that. Since May 1, his steel costs have jumped 20% and suppliers have warned him of bigger increases to come. But "manufacturers are making it clear that they have other possibilities for suppliers," says Mr. Ajax. "There is Canada, Mexico, and of course China. This could be the start of a real rush to China."

The U.S. steel market was tightening even before the tariffs were imposed. There was a wave of domestic steel-mill closures last year, including Cleveland-based LTV Corp. In all, plant closures had taken 20 million tons of steel off the U.S. market by year's end. Moreover, inventories built up by buyers when prices were extremely cheap last year began running low earlier this year. In the first quarter, prices for hot-rolled steel, a benchmark, rose about 10%, or by $20 a ton.

The administration's intent in imposing three-year tariffs of as much as 30% was to curb imports without ruffling domestic steel users. But the Commerce Department's Mr. Aldonas conceded Thursday that during deliberations over the tariffs the administration was unable to estimate for sure what would happen to prices.

The picture is clearer now: Buyers boosted purchases even before the tariffs went into effect, causing prices to jump an additional $40 to $75 a ton. With imports plunging by more than 30% in response to the tariffs, the market is at its tightest in at least 15 years. Hot-rolled prices are now at about $300 a ton, compared to $210 late last year.

Analysts expect modest increases into the third quarter and beyond, though many companies are reporting quotes from sellers that would make steel as expensive as in the early 1990s. After seeing prices steadily drop for several years, steelmakers are seeing how much they can charge before buyers cut back on purchases.

Administration officials suspect some of the spike can be blamed on increased demand from companies stocking up before prices go higher, tactics they hope will trail off as renewed imports and increased U.S. production ease the crunch.

LTV's mills have been purchased by International Steel Group, which plans to add about four million more tons of steel to the market this year, compared with the seven million tons LTV had been producing. Others are hoping to follow suit. Moreover, with many steelmakers in bankruptcy proceedings and free from certain debt obligations, there is opportunity to undercut competitors' prices.

Write to Neil King Jr. at neil.king@wsj.com and Robert Guy Matthews and robertguy.matthews@wsj.com

Updated May 31, 2002 12:19 a.m. EDT


White House Seeks Cheerleaders
To Boost Economic Sentiment


Bush advisers are "a little nervous" that business pessimism could stall growth, one says. But "the administration has no economic spokesman -- none," says a GOP strategist, alluding to widespread griping about Treasury Secretary O'Neill, Commerce's Evans and adviser Lindsey.

Cheney may stand in for Bush at a coming speech to the national small-business lobby. But a new SEC inquiry into Halliburton Corp.'s accounting while Cheney was CEO casts a cloud. His office insists that questions go to Halliburton, not Cheney.

Bush has said CEOs should lose bonuses for "grossly inaccurate" financial statements; Cheney got $2.6 million during his tenure.

KENNEDY FALLS SHORT on votes for post-Enron pension changes.

The bill faces a "partisan showdown" on the Senate floor, spokesman Jim Manley acknowledges, with the GOP set to filibuster and "one or two" Democrats opposed. Pension-industry lobbyist Ed Ferrigno says "at least 10 Democrats" tell him they don't support Kennedy.

The GOP and businesses object to the bill limiting how much company stock can be put in employees' retirement-savings plans, among other things. Finance Committee Chairman Baucus still plans to draft a bill "that can pass," an aide says, hewing more closely to a pro-business House GOP bill. His goal is June.

BUSH HEAVIES lose late bid to reward Turkey for antiterror cooperation.

Cheney, Powell and others called Senate leaders in the final hours of debate on a "fast-track" trade bill last week, seeking trade benefits for Turkey. Under their plan, Turkey could create qualified-investment zones to produce duty-free goods for the U.S., in line with Bush's January promise to Prime Minister Ecevit.

Senate Democrats say last week's move was too late and risked upending the trade bill. "It was pretty amateurish," a staffer says. Turkish diplomats say they are thankful the administration tried.

With hot elections ahead in textile states, Bush's plan wouldn't give benefits to Turkish textiles.

ZINNI FINI? As CIA Director Tenet and State Department official Bill Burns arrive in the Mideast to try to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, another U.S. envoy fades out. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who took three unproductive trips as U.S. special Middle East envoy last year, told administration officials he doesn't want to return except on a clearly defined mission with some chance of success.

TERROR INSURANCE remains in a partisan bog. GOP Sens. Gramm and McConnell offer a compromise on limiting tort lawsuits, to break the stalemate on the bill providing federal insurance for terrorist attacks. A Gramm aide calls it "a good-faith effort to break this logjam." But Senate Leader Daschle's spokeswoman says the offer "doesn't get there" enough to please Democrats.

HAITIANS STILL WAITING: Florida Sen. Nelson Thursday announced he had persuaded Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar to visit INS centers in South Florida; that's where about 240 Haitian refugees seeking asylum are being held. But an INS spokesman says Ziglar recalls no such pledge. Nelson retorts: "I will refresh his memory."

RADIOACTIVE AT ENERGY? Nevada Sen. Reid, seizing on ammunition to block a nuclear-waste dump at his state's Yucca Mountain, fires off a complaint to the Office of Government Ethics. He alleges the No. 3 man at the Energy Department, Robert Card, "appears to have worked on matters involving his former employer in violation of the conflict of interest guidelines." Reid cites a Wall Street Journal report. Card's former firm, CH2M Hill Cos., is a leading nuclear-waste cleanup firm.

WHERE'S ROSY? The GOP wants to change economic models, and economists.

With deficits' return, conservatives again push for "dynamic scoring" of budgets so tax cuts are credited with spurring economic growth, and don't look so costly. Revenue forecasts are now expected to plunge with midyear updates in July, increasing political pressure to freeze future phases of the Bush tax cuts.

Congressional Budget Office director Dan Crippen, a Reagan veteran, resists dynamic scoring, angering House GOP leaders. Crippen won't seek another four years when his term ends this year. A possible successor: Supply-sider David Malpass of Bear Stearns. Meantime, supply-sider J.D. Foster takes over from Amy Smith, a former Sen. Domenici staffer, as chief economist at Bush's budget office.

House Democrats press Sen. Daschle to force the GOP to vote on raising the federal debt limit.

MINOR MEMOS: No dope? Treasury Secretary O'Neill praised a South African Ford factory, oblivious to workers smoking marijuana on break. Traveling companion and Irish rock star Bono caught the scent, "but I was getting off on the diesel myself," he tells the secretary. ... House Minority Leader Gephardt delivers an address Tuesday on transforming the military, billed as the first on the topic from 2004 Democratic presidential aspirants.

Write to Jackie Calmes at jackie.calmes@wsj.com

Updated May 31, 2002

2002-05-30: From David Reed: Did You Try Google?...

Thursday, May 30, 2002

DPR at 4:55 PM [url]:

Did you try Google?

It happened again. I told a friend about a new program. He wants a URL. I say "Did you try Google?" and he says "oh ... yeah." He doesn't need a URL.

Maybe it's just that we're used to having difficulty finding information about things. So few people have absorbed that Google creates a shared context that is bigger than all of our brains, so we humans don't need specific pointers most of the time anymore. We're slow learners.

But now when I sit in a meeting where I have an Internet connection, or conferencing on the phone in my office, I'm Googling all the time. The context it creates is immense and useful. Somebody might make an allusion to some literary idea - and I'm no longer in the dark. Somebody might mention a product or service - and I can order it immediately, or bookmark it.

When someone can't remember a fact or a name, I can usually get it quickly enough to be useful.

Google is my other memory. If it isn't yours, it probably will be eventually.