December 27, 2003

Stupid and Cruel

At times I am puzzled by Unqualified Offerings:

Unqualified Offerings: ...I'm still inclined to the view that the Bush Administration has handled Pakistan almost as well as it could. The big faux pas was reneging on the textile import pledges.... That was stupid and cruel, but apparently not a back-breaker.

If we can be "stupid and cruel" while still handling a situation "almost as well as it could" be handled, it seems to me that the bar of possible handling has been set too low.

Posted by DeLong at December 27, 2003 04:01 PM | TrackBack

Comments

My guess is that this is an outcome-based metric, rather than a proces-based metric. I.e., despite being stupid and cruel, we really didn't come off all that badly.

Our power lets us get away with quite a bit of crap, and there is a lot of stupidity and cruelty to go around throughout the world.

Posted by: jens on December 27, 2003 09:45 PM

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My guess is that this is an outcome-based metric, rather than a proces-based metric. I.e., despite being stupid and cruel, we really didn't come off all that badly.

Our power lets us get away with quite a bit of crap, and there is a lot of stupidity and cruelty to go around throughout the world.

Posted by: jens on December 27, 2003 09:46 PM

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My take on Henley is that he is NOT an apologist for the Bush Administration. Failing to keep the promises to Pakistan --the faux pas ( regarding the textile import pleges), in the face of mounting domestic pressure was 'not a back-breaker'. Nor a jewel of foreign policy execution.
"stupid and cruel"? --just blatantly pragmatic.
So Pakistan will survive (apparently) and domestic textile interests too. And the next 'Promises' will be treated with the sneer quotes.
'bar too low?' At the risk of being an apologist for Henley, he does state "almost as well as it could" --ie any other performance would be a surprising improvement.

Posted by: calmo on December 28, 2003 12:05 AM

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"Almost as well as it could":
If it had only been cruel or stupid but not both I suppose that would have been as well as it could.

Posted by: i dunno on December 28, 2003 01:48 AM

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The key word here is "it," which refers to "the Bush Administration." That is, the Bush Administration handled the Pakistan situation almost as well as the Bush Administration could.

When you put stupid and cruel people in charge of policy, you get stupid and cruel policy. The best you can hope for is a minimum level of stupid cruelty, which doesn't end up being a back-breaker.

Posted by: Chad Orzel on December 28, 2003 05:46 PM

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