Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Racial violence is relatively rare in the Core, but occurs in microgaps, such as parts of Los Angeles and federal prisons.
Racial/ethnic violence is a form of insurgency, attempting to replace the State with "primary loyalties." Race warriors should therefore be classified as insurgents, and (except for those who wear racial/gang insignia) unlawful combatants, as well.
Hate crime laws are probably a good idea, but msinamed, as they fight not crime, but war.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Who will survive? And what will be left of them?
Pygmy activists from Congo have demanded the United Nations set up a tribunal to try government and rebel fighters accused of slaughtering and eating Pygmies who are caught in the country's civil war.
Army, rebel and tribal fighters - some believing the Pygmies are less than human or that eating the flesh would give them magic power - have been pursuing the Pygmies in the dense jungles, killing them and eating their flesh, the activists said at a news conference yesterday.
There have been reports of markets for Pygmy flesh, the representatives alleged.
"In living memory, we have seen cruelty, massacres, genocide, but we have never seen human beings hunted and eaten literally as though they were game animals, as has recently happened," said Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of the Mbuti Pygmies in Congo.
The other part of the argument is that all observed pygmy populations have a short life expectancy. Indeed, this, according to Dr Migliano's hypothesis, is the crucial evolutionary pressure. Of the six groups of pygmies for whom data exist, two have a life expectancy of 24 years and the other four about 16 years.
Deep in the jungles of northern Congo, it's still easy to find slave owners. Davila Djemba, the teenage niece of the country's minister of forestry, is eager to show off some of the 100 Pygmies her family owns.
She laughs and chatters as she makes her way along a footpath toward her family's estate in this growing logging village. She's eager to play hostess, since she doesn't get many foreign visitors.
Djemba walks past typical scenes of African peasant life. But the bucolic setting masks an ugly truth, one that surfaces as Djemba considers how to entertain her guest that night. As she nears her family's home, surrounded by half a dozen Pygmy huts, Djemba gets an idea. "We can make them sing and dance for you, if you want," she offers.
(Hat-tip to Half-Sigma.)
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Economist has a good article about the rise of ethanol (plus better diets,and other factors) increasing the price of corn and other food throughout the world. Of course, this is a good thing.
Africa needs one thing: infrastructure. Africa needs a system of roads to transport, police to prevent crime, courts to adjudicate disputes, machinery to amplify the productivity of labor, and rules to guide economic development.
Unfortunately, Africa does not have infrastructure. And the greatest infrastructure-building effort of all time ended in failure, following the bankruptcy of the European states caused by the World Wars.
Fortunately, the increasing cost of food will naturally shift production to Africa, and interested parties will begin to provide the infrastructure Africa needs. Of course the reasons will be largely selfish: the Core needs the roads to transport the food, the police to ensure production of food, the courts to ensure the delivery of food, the machinery to harvest and perhaps mill the food, and the larger rules to make sure all these steps happen smoothly.
But unlike oil, diamonds, or other goods that impact only a small part of a country's land and workforce, food production is a job for the whole country. The benefits -- not just increased income, but increased infrastructure -- are felt by half or more of the country's population, and throughout all arable land.
Mark in Texas points out that corn will give way to other crops as a source for ethanol. Indeed, corn isn't an end in itself. But the rise of corn-based ethanol in the United States develops the infrastructure to use ethanol: it develops the infrastructure to develop the infrastructure for Africa.
And that's a good thing.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
China's growing stake in Africa changes the calculation of our relationship with Taiwan, and our Big War force in general.
"Hedging" against Chinese aggression to Taiwan by maintaining, and publicly emphasizing, our naval deterrent is important. China invading Taiwan would be a disaster similar to Germany invading Belgium in 1914: whether there is a response or not, a stable world system ends.
That said, China's investment in Africa essentially means that Beijing is opening up a "second front" against the Gap: not only is globalization not Americanization, the globalization of the gap will not primarily be because of Americans: it will be because of new Core powers like China.
Clearly, the worst thing that could happen would be if Chinese and American influence in Africa turn against each other, and lead to the destruction of governments in the way that American influence took down the Soviet, British, French and French colonial and neocolonial regimes. Thus, we need to be careful that our "hedge" around Taiwan doesn't become a "wedge" in the shrinking of the Gap.
Diplomatically engaging China over absurd or wrong policies is good, but the military should not be part of the toolkit. Pressing Beijing over its persecution of political dissidents, religious minorities, and others is good: pushing China in a way that alters her posture in Africa is not.
All talk of a "hedge" against a rising China must be balanced against the concern of putting a "wedge" in our efforts to shrink the Gap.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Economist has an obituary for Ian Smith, the leader of the fourteenth colony to declare independence from the United Kingdom. Smith's rise a product of Britain's fall: the bankruptcy of Her Majesty's System Administration Force, necessitated by Britain's disasterous entry into two disasterous World Wars. Pressured by the majority of the population below him, the Parliament above him, and anti-British Boers to his side, and his own mistakes, Smith's Southern Rhodesia would fall. Because of his failure, Zimbabwe is now the nightmare it is today.
In a better world, that great war would not have been fought, the Core would have been able to afford a century of capital investment throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and men like Smith would have lived very different lives. But we don't live in that better world.
At least, not yet.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
If I could change just one thing per continent...
The first four seem easy enough...
- Europe: Ukraine admitted as a full member-state of the European Union (consolidation of Europe against Russia)
- Asia: "Berlin Wall" moment as Korean DMZ becomes the conduit for a mass exodus (End of Kim Family Regime)
- Africa: Zimbabwe as joint South African - Chinese Condominium (UN starts outsourcing its colonial administration)
- North America: Cuba joins NAFTA/USA (End of Castro Family Regime)
But what should change in Australia? South America? Antarctica?
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Enterprise Resilience Management Blog has an excellent article about the proper way to help Africa. The best paragraph:
Part of the Development-in-a-Box flexible framework involves investment in human capital. After all, unless local workers can sustain development by themselves nothing but economic colonialism can be achieved. Kaberuka concludes with arguments that echo Ghani's: "Lastly, Africa must be given a chance to meaningfully integrate into the global trading environment in order to sustain growth performance." Perhaps the strongest "no" comes from James Shikwati, the founder and director of the Inter Region Economic Network and CEO of The African Executive business magazine. As a businessman and entrepreneur myself, I certainly find myself in sympathy with what Shikwati writes.
Steve (EMRB's writer) and Bradd (the blog's editor) hit the nail on the head.
African developmetn has to focus on three broad areas: human capital, sustainability, and globalization.
Human capital is relatively straightforward. To over simplify the situation, general intelligence, along with economic system, is an excellent predictor for national wealth. Conservative estimates suggest that sub-saharan Africa's mean IQ can be raised by 15 points merely be reducing disease, starvation, and other environmental factors. Programs that feed the hungry and inoculate against disease are not just humanitarian niceties, but vital components in raising sub-Saharan Africa up.
Sustainability is a must. Indeed, sustainability is the watchword behind my concept of a Sysadmin Industrial Complex. Any system that relies on continued goodwill to keep running will run into failure, because that goodwill will eventually be lost, either out of boredom or outright reevaluation. Real engagement with Africa needs to transcend charity and politics, so that the solution is "locked in." Working with China to build up the infrastructures of countries where Beijing acquires natural resources, for instance, is a sustainable mode of development.
Likewise, without globalization no true progress is possible.The world economy not only allows countries to keep compounding their wealth, but it also locks them in to sane economic management. Thomas Friedman refered to globalization as a "golden straightjacket" which brings wealth and removes freedom of action.
Human capital, sustainability, globalization: the prescription for Africa.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Tom's recent post about enaging China on building Africa is a must read. I already commented over at this blog.
The Gap is essentially composed of the African and Islamic states in the world. However, the challenges we face in those theaters are remarkable different. In Africa, we're essentially building from weak foundations across the board. A difficult job, but a combination of Chinese money and American will can go a long way. In the Islamic world, however, we face intelligent, organized, and modern foes with not just allies, but actual compatriots among the Left.
To me, this implies that we should focus on constructive engagement with Africa , and destructive disengagement with the Islamic world. That is, the flow of labor and capital should increase between the world economy and sub-Saharan Africa, while American and her allies should focus on destabilizing the system of the Islamic belt and otherwise walling ourselves off. This may be "civilizational apartheid," but it should not serve to increase the positions of either the current regimes or the worst of their opponents.
Monday, October 29, 2007
China today looks like the U.S. of the 1920s to Marc Faber, a well-known money manager based in Thailand. He notes that just as Chinese investors are confident about their economy, the U.S. economy was surging on hopes about technological changes like the radio and about the rise of a consumer class.
Of course, the 1929 crash set in motion a host of new rule sets in America, prompting “the creation of basic investor safeguards that strengthened the market and probably limited fallout from later tumbles.”
Not “probably,” I would say.
So like I say, China will learn from scandals and crashes. The key for us, is how we mentor them in this process, because we’ve been there and done all that before.
But you look at all that uncertainty and looming new rule sets that the Party knows full well it’ll have to adopt as the country matures and moves through all these inevitable crises, and it’s little surprise to me that China has no desire whatsoever to stick its neck out on the Burmas and Darfurs and Irans and North Koreas of the world. Why pick up the quagmire when you got this much going on at home?
The rest of the Core needs China to do three things:
- Do not attack attack Taiwan or otherwise threaten the security of another Core state
- Develop a civil society
- Bring security to Africa
The first goal is achieved through making it quietly but profoundly clear that the Communist Party could not survive a war with Taiwan. From encouraging the nuclearization of Japan and Taiwan to deepending military relationships with India, America has many tools to complement her navy and air force.
The second part is achieved through economic and cultural openness, both by encouraging civil society organizations to develop within China and convincing China to drop protectionism against civil society organizations without. From Soros' Open Society Institute" to Ratzinger's "Catholic Church," large scale institutions are able and eager to replicate themselves within China.
The last goal is harder. China's deepending engagement with Africa is fueld by her need for raw materials. As this rebel faction or that group of thugs kidnap Chinese workers to gain cash, China will be forced to export security to Africa. It combined with American logistics and UN bureaucratization, a substantial part of Africa's security oversight could be removed from locals and given to the Core.
China is sometimes referred to as the "future of profit" or "future of threat." She may also be the future of Africa.
Monday, October 01, 2007
de Montesquiou, A. (2007). Rebel attack came at the end of Ramadan fast. Associated Press.
Facing a genocide, hard to fault the strategy (if what you are doing -- waiting for the teethless African Union to save you -- is not working stop doing it) of the Darfuri rebels.
The rebels overran the African Union peacekeeping outpost, seized six armored vehicles and fled Sunday morning when the Sudanese army arrived at the base on the outskirts of the town of Haskanita in North Darfur where 157 peacekeepers and support staff were stationed.
An Associated Press reporter who landed at the base hours after the attack heard bursts of sporadic gunfire in the distance.
"We were just preparing for dinner when the first rocket hit us," said one peacekeeper, a stocky man in his 20s with a sharp nose.
Another soldier, fighting back tears, said: "The fighting was terrible. I can't even describe it."
The AU peacekeepers at the base repelled the first attack after dusk, but the rebels returned and a fresh battle raged for hours. Surviving peacekeepers said the rebels used several armored vehicles and rocket-propelled grenades — an indication they possess heavier weapons than previously believed.
The move naturally discourages the international community from finding a peaceful solution. The rebels are hoping that even after the attacks, the world's hostility to Sudan trumps sympathy for Khartoum's "law and order" program.