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 04:01 PM

September 03, 2002
Fareed Zakaria Thinks the Islamic Fundamentalist Moment Has Passed

Fareed Zakaria argues that the Islamic Fundamentalists' moment has passed--that people recognize that "Islamic fundamentalism has no real answers to the problems of the modern world; it has only fantasies." But he also thinks that "the new generation is just as angry, rebellious and bitter" as "he youth of the 1970s and 1980s, who came from villages into cities and took up Islam as a security blanket." This, however, does not necessarily seem to me to be good news. If they are "angry, rebellious, and bitter," what do they think that they should do? washingtonpost.com: The Extremists Are Losing: ...Compare the landscape a decade ago. In Algeria, Islamic fundamentalists, having won an election, were poised to take control of the country. In Turkey, an Islamist political party was soon to come to power. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak's regime was terrorized by groups that had effectively shut down the country to foreign tourists. In Pakistan, the mullahs had scared Parliament into enacting blasphemy laws. Only a few years earlier, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini had issued his fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, who was still living under armed guard in a secret location. Throughout the Arab world, much of the talk was...

Posted by DeLong at 11:57 AM

June 28, 2002
Salman Rushdie: Where Are the Muslims Against Terrorism?

A nice plea from Salman Rusdie for the world's Muslims--politicians, intellectuals, whatever--to figure out who their real enemies are and where the real threat to their descendants' lives come from... washingtonpost.com: Gods and Monsters | Salman Rushdie | ...Some of us have been listening out for something else: the emergence of a genuine Muslim polemic against the harm the terrorists are doing to their "own people." The war against Islamist terror will only be won when Muslims around the world begin to believe that fanaticism is a greater evil than that which they believe the United States to embody -- an evil, moreover, more damaging to Muslims, more socially, economically and politically destructive, and possessed by the nightmare vision of the Talibanization of the planet. After nine months during which it has been repeatedly stressed that most Muslims are not terrorists, but ordinary, decent human beings, it would be good to point to the birth of an international Muslim movement against terrorism. Unfortunately no such movement has emerged, nor is there the slightest indication that it may yet do so.... But if, indeed, most of the world's 1 billion Muslims want nothing to do with terrorism, as we are constantly...

Posted by DeLong at 02:25 PM

May 20, 2002
What Can an Economist Say About 911? McKenna Lecture at Claremont-McKenna College, April 30, 2002

What--if anything--does a professional economist have to say about September 11, 2001? The terror-attack on the World Trade Center, its destruction, and the loss of life in the atrocity are the domain of political scientists, military strategists, students of religious fundamentalisms, and of researchers into psychological pathology. What does an economist--this economist--have to add?

Posted by DeLong at 02:35 PM