Reality Check

Friday, April 19, 2002

Thought Experiments
Encouraging Real Thinking About the Current Crisis
Thought Experiment #2: The Futility of Negotiating the End of the Berlin Blockade with Stalin

It is fascinating how blithely some will assert that Israel "should" be able to negotiate an end to its conflict with Arafat and the PA.

What if the West had followed that advice in dealing with Stalin in the "dispute" over Berlin after WWII?

Or: what if the West had originally had control over ALL of Berlin after the war, with Stalin's armies surrounding the city, and Stalin's agitators inside East Berlin? Knowing what they later understood about Stalin's aims, would the West have ever withdrawn from the East?

In a more true-life parallel, would the West have ever permitted Stalin to reach Berlin first, if they had known what he planned to do?

Would it have been considered reasonable to demand that the West cede control over East Berlin to Stalin's local goons? And what if the West, once East Berlin had been mainly turned over to Stalin, responded to his efforts to blockade West Berlin purely by negotiation?

What if?

And then we remember the Berlin Airlift.

Negotiation with Stalin never worked, because his ideology never changed, and thus his goal never changed...not just control over the Soviet Sector in East Berlin, but control over all the sectors controlled by the West. And he would do ANYTHING, not limited to deceit and sabotage, to achieve his ends. No amount of negotiation made a whit of difference. The only thing that made a difference was the West's heroic commitment to the Airlift, against all odds. And strangely enough, it wasn't until the West understood that Stalin's real objective was to conquer all of Berlin, and that no "peace" would be achieved by negotiation, that they understood that the Airlift was the only way. It was when the West understood that negotiating with Stalin was a con that they turned to the Airlift, in the nick of time...a military supply effort, backed with force in West Berlin, that FORCIBLY prevented Stalin from succeeding.

Arafat is no less instransigent then Stalin, no less animated by an ideology and a goal whose essence can not be negotiated away. It all comes back to ideology.

If we gave up negotiating with Stalin, why do we expect to succeed with Arafat?

Thought Experiments
Encouraging Real Thinking About the Current Crisis
Thought Experiment #1: the Absurdity of Jews Negotiating with Nazis in 1930's Germany

What if...the Jews had Proposed a German Jewish Homeland in Germany to Stave off Persecution Before the Holocost?

Imagine that in part of Germany, Jews had proposed a German Jewish partition. Imagine they had said, OK, give us this small silver of the German territory, where we will be the majority and thus safe from persecution. If we can but have this small sliver of land, say, marshlands and sand dunes that are sparsely populated by any ethnic group, then all Jews in Germany will leave their houses and property voluntarily and move to the small sliver of territory.

Does anyone for a moment think the Nazis would have accepted it?

They would have rejected it, crying "no German land shall be ruled by the Jews!"

If the Jews had fought for and established such a state within "German lands," does anyone for a minute think that there wouldn't have been constant incursions across the borders? Does any one for a minute think that, as long as Nazi ideology prevailed in the rest of the region, that the Jewish enclave wouldn't forever be in jeopardy?

Sound familiar?

Indeed, it is hard for even the most blinkered the forget that the Nazi program was eternally focused on recapturing, first, "historic German lands" from the other countries where some German-speaking populations resided.

Of course, that program was but the first step to extending Nazi "Aryan" rule over the countries around them, in order to obtain more "living room" for those "Aryan" peoples. Recovering "historic German lands" was only the beginning.

The parallels with Islamicist ideology are painfully obvious. Islam has never tolerated the rule of non-Islamic governments or majorities over "historic Arab lands," be those non-Islamic majorities Jewish, Christian, or Zoroastrian. In a hoped-for resurgance of Islam, recapturing "historic Arab/Islamic lands" is logically the first step of renewing the world-wide spread of Islam. Just as recapturing "historic German lands" was but the first step to extending the "destiny" of the "Aryan peoples" to rule over all others.

The inconvenient truth is that a significant aspect of Islamic history has been governed by the desire to bring all lands under the rule of Islam, with minorities (sometimes) more (or less) "tolerated" (that is, not exterminated). In that sense, the Islamicists are "color-blind" to whoever the occupier of their "historic lands" might be. And, as the recent NY Times story on Hamas demonstrated, this is exactly the ideological root of the "homocide bombers'" campaign: forcibly put the land back under Islamic rule.

The dead giveaway is this: if freedom and democracy were the desire of the "Palestinians," Israel's problem would be the same as that of the U.S.: illegal aliens whose only wish is to work and live as Israelis, in the only democracy in the region, Israel, just as we are a magnet for Mexicans who want to live and work here, as Americans. They would want more territory to be added to Israel, and taken away from despots like Arafat and Assad. But the truth is the opposite: they want Israel territory to be governed by this case, Islamic despots.

One only has to consider the sad history of the Crusades to understand the deep roots of the Islamicist "will to power." If the Crusaders were brutal in "recapturing" the holy lands, that is their evil, but it was Islam that first conquered those lands and the non-Islamic residents, who were forcibly converted. It was the Islamic conquerors who built Mosques directly on top of the holy sites of the Jews. (Later, in the 20th Century, the Mufti elevated Jerusalem to its artifical status as a top Islamic holy site to advance his political campaign against the Zionists). It was the Crusaders who (albeit sometimes employing brutal means) were responding to the heavy hand of Islam over historic Jewish and Christian sites. And so, as indefensible as the Crusaders were in their own acts of brutality, the first sin was with the Islamic conquerors.

So...If a "Jewish partition in Nazi Germany" would have been an absurd proposition, then why is a peaceful "negotiation" with Middle-eastern Nazi's any less absurd?

Consider: What if the Nazis had conquered England. What if, in a thousand years, descendants of Winston Churchill were to recapture England, driving out the Nazis. Would we consider it an injustice to the Nazis? How valid would we see their claims to England as "historic Nazi lands," and how would we regard the "sacredness" of the Nazi temples built on top of Parliament?

The direct descendance from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, ally of Hitler, through to Arafat, is only the most pathetically obvious proof of kinship between the "Northern" or Germanic Nazism and the "Southern" or Arabic Nazism. The West may have broken the Axis during WWII, but the "fourth wheel" of that Axis was left to keep on spinning.

The "Southern" Nazis never left the Middle East, they never stopped teaching vicious propaganda to their children in schools, they never stopped treating their own people as cannon-fodder against the enemies of the Islamic "volk." WWII is still unfinished in the Middle East, and we are letting our one ally in the region fight the embers of that war alone. Embers that may very well flare up into far worse.

It all comes back to ideology. Would one demand Sharon negotiate with Hitler? And when will the scales fall from the eyes of those who can not see that Arafat is at least the Goebbels of the Middle East?

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

THE REAL ECONOMY: An Ongoing Report

or, Keeping an Eye on the Recent Babblings of Krugman

In his continuing effort to devalue economics commentary, Paul Krugman has tried to top his fraudulent news on the actuarial status of the Social Security "system." (Real Newsflash: the typical statistical adjustments that result in annual changes to insolvency projections puts bankruptcy of the system three years further in the future than last year's projection, still at around 40 years). Recently he blessed us with this glittering insight into the causes of the 1979 oil crisis:

"The Third Oil Crisis? Economists have never reached a consensus about what happened in 1979, but my interpretation is that it was similar to the recent California electricity crisis. In both cases the key was the combination of a tight market and demand that wasn't very responsive to price. Under those circumstances, individual producers — power companies in California, oil-producing countries in 1979 — have a lot of market power. That is, it is in each producer's interest to cut back production to drive prices higher. The result is a price surge, even though there is no real capacity shortage."

Dr. Krugman (degree awarded by a devalued economics academe) is offering an "interpretation." That is bad enough in a field that should consist of identified laws rather than guesses or "reading of tea leaves."

But the "interpretation" he offers is only primitive, pre-Adam-Smith hand-waving - closer to superstitious animism than part of the history of economics as a science. On top of that, he writes as if his readers will all pretend that something called price controls weren't part of that well-remembered history. "[the] Market...wasn't very reponsive to price..." Well, I think it's clear that "Dr." Krugman isn't here employing a euphemism for price controls; rather, he's trying to ignore the 800-lb gorilla sitting on the oil market of the time. Krugman must assume that no one checks these things, because here he is once again trying to con us once again with an obliteration of the facts...

Price controls gave the cartel the power to hurt us, Dr. Krugman...they did not allow price to adjust demand to supply! We had shortages because of the distortion of market signals caused by government intervention. People bought out artificially cheap gas; non-OPEC suppliers couldn't use the temporary profits to increase supply and offset OPEC's actions; non-OPEC suppliers had no incentive and means to increase production; we had lines around the block.

Lastly, forget about "consensus." Economics, if it is a science, is certainly not an opinion poll. For the best analysis of the entire 70's oil crises, read the work of noted economist Dr. George Reisman, in his The Government Against the Economy ( Reisman is the preeminent student of the late Ludwig von Mises).

All-in-all, another fine example of Krugman Econo-babble. We await another epistle with baited breath.