Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Success of Ron Paul

Glen Reynolds thinks that Ron Paul is doing well because, despite Paul's lack of political talent, his libertarian principles are resonating with a large audience. Sorry Glen, I don't think that's right. Sure, most of the devout libertarians side with Paul. Beyond that, however, I suspect Paul is getting the support of a broad swath of "paleo-con" isolationists who are unhappy with the war but can't bring themselves to vote for a democrat.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reason to Dislike John Edwards

One: "Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one: One America that does the work, another that reaps the reward. One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America - middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command. One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a president."

Two: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

Three: "When I'm president, I'm going to say to members of Congress, and members of my administration, including my Cabinet, I'm glad that you have health care coverage and your family has health care coverage. But if you don't pass universal health care by July of 2009, in six months, I'm going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you."

Example one is obviously veiled Marxism. Edwards is waging intentionally devisive class warfare.

Example two and three are the worst kind of pandering.

I especially like example three. If taken literally, Edwards is saying he will revoke a passed law. So apparently he thinks the president has the legislative power and the veto power? Or apparently thinks the veto applies to all passed laws retroactively forever? And you thought Bush claimed a lot of executive power!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Choice for No Choice

Unfortunately, Utah has decisively rejected vouchers. I suppose this shows that Utahans simply do not understand the basic economic principle that competition creates efficiency. They don't understand that principle because their public education has failed them. Unfortunately, because they have rejected vouchers, they will never get a good education, and they will never realize that their current education system sucks. It's a vicious cycle.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Pakistan Policy

What will Americans think about U.S. policy in Pakistan in 20 years?

This article lays out Pakistan's current political turmoil, and discusses the different possible outcomes. President Musharraf is friendly to the west, but is a dictator, pitted against both pro-democratization forces and islamic extremists.

If we prop up Musharraf, we are working against democratizing forces. A democracy, of course, will probably bring greater freedom and civil rights to the people of Pakistan. A democracy will also likely be an ally for the U.S. Unfortunately, democracies are difficult to "pull off." That is, they are unstable and, therefore, promoting democracy in Pakistan may be considered unwise. It also is not clear whether the people of Pakistan are ready submit to democratic rule. The extremists in Waziristan will likely cause trouble in Pakistan regardless of who runs the country, as long as it is not them.

The Bush doctrine is to support democracy at the expense of stability, but no one is happy with Afghanistan or Iraq. We have our hands full with our current projects in the middle east and probably cannot manage another broken country or fledgling democracy. Furthermore, while the U.S. is usually allied with other democracies, Musharraf is already our ally, so we have nothing to gain if he is replaced by pro-U.S. democracy. Most importantly, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Luckily, Musharraf can be mostly trusted to not use them. The same cannot be said of the Waziristan Muslim extremists. Therefore, from a self-interested perspective (often called a realist perspective), The U.S. should support Musharraf.

But if we do that, will we look back at Pakistan in 20 years, like we now look back at our dealings with 1980s Iraq, and say, "what were we thinking?" Unintended consequences in foreign policy abound. Whatever happens, the anti-American groups will be able to blame U.S. foreign policy for any bad outcome.