Quote note (#159)

Thomas Friedman doesn’t dig very deep, but he gets it 80-90% right (the title alone — whoever chose it — deserves to win some reality points):

Asian autocrats tended to be modernizers, like Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, who just died last week at 91 — and you see the results today: Singaporeans waiting in line for 10 hours to pay last respects to a man who vaulted them from nothing into the global middle class. Arab autocrats tended to be predators who used the conflict with Israel as a shiny object to distract their people from their own misgovernance. The result: Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq are now human development disaster areas.

— that’s the bread and butter, but here’s the jam:

Egypt may send troops to defeat the rebels in Yemen. If so, it would be the first case of a country where 25 percent of the population can’t read sending troops to rescue a country where the water comes through the tap 36 hours a month to quell a war where the main issue is the 7th century struggle over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad …

(Also grimly relevant.)

April 6, 2015admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :World

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23 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    On the initial part of the modernity curve, “modernizing” alone provides advantages.

    What comes next is the hard part, as Japan found out in the 80s.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “Japan or Yemen?” isn’t much of a dilemma.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 2:24 pm Reply | Quote
  • Quote note (#159) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Quote note (#159) […]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 2:30 pm Reply | Quote
  • Chris B Says:

    “It said the Arab world suffered deficits of freedom, knowledge and women’s empowerment, and, if it did not turn around, it would get where it was going.” Ok. Because they don’t have the Spice Girls their country has turned to shit. Of course, nothing to do with being inbred Arabs.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That would be the “doesn’t dig very deep” part.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 4:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Nick B. Steves Says:

    Arab autocrats may be shit tier, but they outperform Arab democracies by a very wide margin. Even on the metrics that Democracy Enthusiasts like.

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    In fact there may be some Iron Law at work: Autocracy will outperform Democracy in virtually all social metrics (except democracyness) in proportion to the square of the general quality of the people.

    You need an autocrat. If you suck, you need an autocrat EVEN MOAR!

    [Reply]

    Nick B. Steves Reply:

    Ah, I guess I mean in “inverse proportion” there. Oops… I guess I suck.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    To a degree, but if you suck, however you organize your society it will probably suck.

    [Reply]

    Peter Blood Reply:

    Case study: Zimbabwe.

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 4:32 pm Reply | Quote
  • Irving Says:

    That the Arab world will continue to undergo turmoil, and will probably soon experience a significant population reduction through war, disease and famine, is clear. What I think is naive, though, is the assumption that their problems can be contained in their part of the world. That is the impression that I get from Friedman — that he thinks that it is all over for the Arabs, and that from here on out it is just a matter of watching this process play itself out. In my opinion, he will find out that he is wrong, and that sooner rather than later .

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    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    O Ham, are you not his conjoined twin; sons of Abyssinia, sons of the Ethiopians, and those of Nubia? Does a fire on dry grass not spread? Pray that the season of rain is early this year, O Africa.

    [Reply]

    Irving Reply:

    Strange — what is this supposed to mean? I will add as an aside that being of ‘Abyssinian’ origin myself, my interest is especially piqued.

    [Reply]

    E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Reply:

    I’m aping old Esaias; but it should be obvious that the fire of ‘middle east’ conflict can spread as far as the easy travel of groups like ISIS allows. Africa, with its few effective walls and vulnerable populations with a high degree of Islamization could easily ignite.

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 4:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • Ryan Says:

    If Tom Friedman’s take on Yemen has filled your stupid quota for the day and you’d like some actually correct information, may I highly recommend the Caspian Report on the conflict:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VGo92WWeJ4

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    More detail, but not much more depth that Friedman.

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    Zimriel Reply:

    The takeaway is at &t=155. The Zaydi population runs northeast into Saudi-occupied Arabia, namely Zahran and Najran (yes, *that* Najran, the site of the holy Christian martyrs).

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 5:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • Frog Do Says:

    My uninformed prior would be to expect some disaster in at least one of the groups mentioned as demographically exploding in the next 40 years by Malthus. Is there some reason this won’t happen? How have long term (defined as multi-decade) demographic predictions fared in the past?

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    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 5:53 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    @

    “Brazil or Indiana?”

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 6:01 pm Reply | Quote
  • forkinhell Says:

    Worried about the rising number of Muslim children in our schools? Then you should hope they pass their exams, go to good universities and get well-paid jobs. Especially the girls. Really, turn more Muslims into fully paid-up members of the Waitrose-shopping, Audi-driving, Boden-wearing middle-classes and their values will take care of themselves.

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    Zimriel Reply:

    Please tell me you don’t believe that rot.

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    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    That has been the standard punchline here in Europe since what… the 80’s? Do you still believe?

    Some of them will be able to reach university, some of them will integrate into Western society. Yes, they are great.

    The problem is the rest. Many will refuse to learn, or stay behind the curve. It’s not just the language barrier. Repression of women starts from very early age, education does not succeed in altering this even a bit. Besides that, neither education nor intelligence implies Western values. Schools are not as effective at brainwashing as religion.

    The reasoning you quote came from the essentially correct idea that if there were only a few, they would feel the pressure to go along and integrate. But the sheer number means they can cluster together effectively in an expanding Sharia bubble.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 6:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Irving Says:

    @Irving
    Strange — what is this supposed to mean? I will add as an aside that being of ‘Abyssinian’ origin myself, my interest is especially piqued.

    [Reply]

    Posted on April 6th, 2015 at 7:04 pm Reply | Quote

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