The Next Step

StrategyPage has a good pece by Austin Bay about what the next steps should be in the war against terror. We’ve made important military victories and debilitated al-Qaeda through military and police action, but even that doesn’t allow us to be complacent.

While the operational victory is extraordinary, strategic victory in the War on Terror requires focused and sustained military, political and economic efforts.

The formula for Hell in the 21st century, the linkage of terrorists, rogue states and Weapons of Mass Destruction, still challenges civilized states. Reforming rogue states, curbing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and killing terrorists is an involved and intricate process.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be invading any other countries anytime soon. Iraq in many ways is the linchpin to a plan to put increased economic and political pressure on the Middle East. Already the Arab world is taking notice of what goes on in Iraq. The next and most crucial step towards truly undercutting terrorism will come from making Iraq better than its neighbors.

If the people of Iran and Syria see the prosperity of their Iraqi neighbors, it will only highlight the reason for the Middle East’s endemic poverty: not the US, and not Israel, but the corrupt and autocratic regimes that have taken hold in the region. If we do well in Iraq, the need for further military action should only decrease.

(Via InstaPundit)

6 thoughts on “The Next Step

  1. And let me guess…the new Iraqi utopia will be a product of predatory American-based manufacturers putting all of Iraq’s nine-year-olds to work 120 hours a week in sweatshops right? This is clearly what many on the right have in mind for Iraqi “freedom,” and you have spoken numerous times about the infallability of lawless capitalism, so I’m assuming this is what you have in mind for making Iraq “better than its neighbors” as well, but if we don’t do better than this,it’s hard to see how the Arab world will view the US any more favorably than they do Israel now.

  2. You seem to be reading more what you want to hear than what I’m actually supporting. "Lawless capitalism" is an oxymoron. Capitalism is predicated on a series of rules for preserving transparency and supporting individual economic and personal freedom. Those states that attempt to maximize personal economic freedom are the states that have traditionally been sucessful – and that is the model that must be applied to Iraq.

  3. Capitalism is by its nature lawless and that’s why it’s stigmatized with more than two centuries of failure in creating a liveable society. In the year 2003, there is only one economy on the globe of any relevance – Hong Kong – that adheres to laissez faire dogma. Many others, including the United States a century ago, tried it and watched it fail miserably.

    Thus your assessment couldn’t be more wrong in present context and historical context. It’s the states that are constantly willing to interject regulations on the marketplace that have been successful. Capitalism is a system that creates great wealth, but also creates great monsters, ranging from Standard Oil a century ago to Enron and WorldCom today. The more leverage that free-market ideologues who are married to Adam Smith and Milton Friedman textbooks give to these monsters, the more difficult it becomes to slay the monsters once the adults finally take charge to clean up the mess.

    As we move back towards a political and economic climate that embraces theoretical capitalism and all of its flaws, expect to see the nearly cataclysmic consequences of the 20th century repeated when we last thought such a corruptive system could work with little or no checks-and-balances. How soon we forget.

  4. Looking at the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index there’s a clear correlation between economic freedom and quality of life, which explains why not only Hong Kong, but Singapore, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ireland, and Denmark are all states with high standards of living and high levels of personal economic freedom, and Communist states like Vietnam or the DPRK have low standards of life and low levels of personal economic freedom.

    The notion that capitalism = exploitation is one that belongs in the 19th Century. Economic liberty, not statist intervention is the surest path to national success.

  5. Of the nations you mentioned, only Hong Kong is a significant player in the global economy. Many of the others, including Ireland, have only recently transitioned to the same economic values that brought them the Industrial Revolution and all of its ruinous inequities 150 years ago. Even Communism took 60 years to fail completely. Capitalist economies generally fall even sooner than that because the governments are usually not police states (although Singapore is dangerously close), making them easier for an unsatisfied peasantry to overthrow either in the voting booth or charging the castles with pitchforks.

    Your fierce loyalty to a flawed ideology blinds you to history, even history as it pertains to the last 18 months. Enabling capitalistic interests to pursue profits with as few checks-and-balances as possible destroyed the lives of Enron and World Com employees in the 21st century just as much as it oppressed employees in the 19th century. For you to have the still-present economic consequences of laissez-faire economics staring you right in the face and telling me that markets should prod along unchecked really strikes a blow to your credibility.

    As I stated in a previous post, there is no expiration date on bad ideas. Capitalism is not a bottle of wine that improves with time. The fact that the Earth has made a few more rotations around the sun since the last time capitalism failed to produce liveable societies throughout the globe doesn’t make the dogma any more credible than it was 150 years ago. The same inherent dysfunctions of capitalism, or at least your brand of unchecked or loosely-regulated capitalism, brings out the worst in the human spirit and will always collapse from in its own excess save for a few isolated regions such as Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.

    Communist states do have low standards of living, but the two examples you used are actually closer economically to your brand of capitalism than anything in the civilized world today, including America. Successful economies of the world have recognized that there is a better way than capitalism or communism to grow a liveable society and have been doing just that for several decades now. It’s too bad so many people like yourself and Enron executive robber barons long for the glory days of the Gilded Age.

  6. I don’t really know what to say,but hi everyone.I’m from Delaware(Wilmington)that is.My name is Tiara, y’all will see me one day. I’m going to be a star.

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