Calling Coyotes by Cross-Country Communication in all Counties

Friday, October 07, 2005

Refusing to oppose loose nuclear weapon development at all costs does not an anti-nuclear crusader make.

“At a time when the threat of nuclear arms is again increasing, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to underline that this threat must be met through the broadest possible international cooperation. This principle finds its clearest expression today in the work of the IAEA and its director general.”

Or the nuclear ambitions of Iran. The only reason that ElBaradei isn't exiled to Zimbabwe is that North Korea withdrew from the NPT, making it none of the IAEA's problem. When Iran has nuclear weapons a year from now and you see the beginning of the complete nuclearization of the Middle East, this will look like giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Neville Chamberlain.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

One Day All My Comments Will Come Home to Roost
Ep. 1

On this post I left a comment about this article which I am reprinting here not because I think this is a complete critique of the article (it definitely isn't), but because I think that this is likely not a case of an idealogically-biased professor, but more likely a professor who set off to prove a point empirically and found out about halfway through that it is very difficult to make an argument for or against his hypothesis on empirical evidence. However, momentum continues to move an object in the absence of an opposite sustained force, so the result of his labors was the Foreign Affairs article. Also, the final paragraph is my theoretical justification for the hypothesis that democracy in the Middle East will reduce terrorism.

I read that article. On the first reading it sounded like it might be true, on the second reading I saw that a lot of the statistics were interpreted to be more general in conclusions than they actually were and not much effort was made to discuss any contradictory evidence.

A big problem was that the author failed to really describe what sort of terrorism he was trying to show was not reduced by (or the spread of? Another vaguity.) democracy, in that he focused a lot on domestic terrorism, while ignoring international terrorism, and assumes that all terrorism can be viewed as equivalent regardless of ideology and history (Thus he references studies that deal mainly with terrorism in the '80s and does not consider whether the results are applicable to terrorism today). He also views terrorists as if they were a static ethnic group rather than a fluid organization.

The author also incorrectly connects anti-Americanism with support for terrorism, and assumes that just because democracies are antri-American, they are more likely to directly support terrorism, which is clearly not the case with Germany and France. In my opinion, the most significant problem with his article is the failure to look at whether democracies are less likely to be sources of financial support and manpower for terrorist organizations that commit attacks mainly outside that nation, due to vigorous anti-terrorist law enforcement by the government.

I say all this about his article, but I do not think the author has an ideological axe to grind. He supports democratizing the Middle East, cites statistics showing that arabs support having democratic governemnts, and gives some unrealistic suggestion on how to (slowly) promote liberal democracy.

I think it is likely that, given that he is a political scientist, he saw the common idea that democracy in the middle east will reduce terrorism, and he decided to try to disprove it. Along the way he realized that actual detailed research on this is sparse, which he actually says in the article, and ends up grasping at straws to build his case. He doesn't give up on the paper because of all the time he has already spent working on it, and ends up with a loosely-supported paper arguing his initial hypothesis. However, he does write PolSci papers well, so even though his argument is not strong, the paper appears good. What I'm saying is that I think that if you were to ask him two years from now if spreading democracy will reduce terrorism, he would tell you that he's not sure one way or the other.

By the way, I'm not sure there is any evidence to generalize that democracy will always cause less terrorism, but I can't see how the publc in a truly open democracy in any Muslim nation, given a true look at terrorist organizations operating in that nation, will tell their government to do anything but stomp the mother******s. Why I say this has nothing to do with whether they think the US and Israel is right or wrong and everything to do with the fact that in general, people that haven't been deluded into thinking that black is white by people of authority will take a look at what the terrorists in their midst have done and see that the people behind al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda in Iraq, etc. are simply psychopathic murderers, and every one of them should be killed.

Also, this is the first part in a continuing series. Really, it will be different than my Kerry-Bush internal poll series.