Saturday, January 22, 2005

Further posting will have to be delayed until the evening as I am headed to a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for the Firstborn of Zenpundit to which a horde of kindergarten and pre-K age barbarians have been invited. Contemplating the use of earplugs for several hours of high-decibel shrieking.

"Let them eat cake".
Hi Mark!

You mean let them eat pie?

Guess you didn't get hit by the snow storm - we got 10" or more - now the kids have a huge snow fort.

Chuck E. Cheese is part of our annual migration - I look at it as time well invested when the kids are young, every moment I give them now will yield stronger family bonds in the future.
Isn't that the eighth circle of Hell? May God help you.
Isn't that what TASRers are for?

(only kidding)

Hi everyone,

Ha ! We were hit hard by the snow as well - had to drive back in whiteout conditions.

The Firstborn enjoyed the party a great deal while the Son of Zenpundit managed to somehow whip a skeeball up high enough to wedge into the metal cage wire of a neighboring game.
Fortress America may not be a viable option, but Fortress Core is. Dr. Barnett identifies four important flows as (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives/000032.html)

People from the Gap to the Core
Energry from the Gap to the New Core
Investment from the Old Core to the New Core
Security from the Core to the Gap

Imagine a world where we decide to fireall off the Core from the Gap, to ride out Islamism. Seam states with small or no Muslim minorities (say, Thailand) join the Core, while Muslim seam states join their brothers in the Gap. While some of these flows would be reduced, the resulting world would still be a Future Worth Living (at least for the Core)

There would be less people, but Japan has proven that a capital-heavy labor-light economy as possible. Growth would be slower in the Core, but the average wage would be higher (at least in the short term). Energy and Security would still flow, must as it does now. We get dictators' oil, we tople a stupid regime once in a while, life goes on. Investment flows in the Core unimpeeded.

I fear that it would not be too hard for European leadership to expel Muslim immigrants, if it decides to do so. Immigration is unpopular with the people, and European states have grown accustomed to a top-down decision making style. The choise is European leaders' to make.

It is not that this world is "impossible." It is that it is undesirable. It is better to take big deficits now, and more terror attacks now, and a lower average wage now, in exchange for higher growth, a safer world, and a better future long term. I do not know how the American public would decide the issure if it was clearly presented to them. I hope they would support ending world poverty and a better world tomorrow. They have not always been so wise.
It is hard to imagine Fortress Core.

The connectivity cat is out of the bag and like a child too big for a stair gate the firewalls can no longer contain the content. Even if the thugs were able to build a wall about the Gap to keep the population in - the things they fear most (thoughts of freedom, 'spiritual pollution', contempt for their authority...) can't be contained. Like the Soviet Union or Albania the rumors and technology will still keep slipping in. People are just too social. 'They' would have no choice but to try to defeat us and our walls couldn't keep them out either. The most it could do is delay the inevitable.

If this thing we have is like light then the darkness must flee, but if we would rather than we could extinguish it. I like what Barnett said about time - it is not on the tyrant's side.
hi Dan,

What Tom Barnett would say in response to the Fortress Core strategy you have posited [ the American Conservative mag ran something similar a while back as a feature article - unfortunately I can't recall the author] is that the two caveats to your premise are very significant:

a) While we eventually will move to more natural gas usage and eventually hydrogen tech which will reduce the importance of the ME oil producers to the Core, in the near term the rise in energy demand from China and India will ramp up the importance of the ME to the global economy to a level we cannot ignore.


b) Demographically, Europe will not stop immigration from the ME unless they can muster the political will to alter their welfare state political economy or to start policies that subsidize and result in a much higher native European birthrate.

Tom is a whole lot nicer about the Europeans than I am. I would add that for b) to change will require something on the level of a revolution in Europe.

The transnational progressive part of the EU elite are well aware of the unsustainable nature of current EU and some national policies over the long haul. Their addiction to statism is simply a civilizational death wish which is why they are laboring hard to construct political mechanisms that increase the " democratic deficit" and remove irrevocable decisions from popular input. The Dutch voters would have expelled Muslims en masse after the Van Gogh slaying ( an overreaction, to be sure but a likely one).

They would like to drag us down with them and I'm fully expecting, should they not be removed from power by this time, that circa 2010-2015 that this faction will be promoting a " Eurabian Compact" with the Islamists at home and abroad to buy time at our expense.

Fortunately, these trans-progs do not represent all Europeans, not even in France - if they did, they would not fear democratic accountability as they do. I am *not* anti-European. I would very, very, much like to see Europe salvaged politically and economically and saved from decline.

But we can't plan on hope alone. I think we will see a global security structure emerging in the next decade with the Anglosphere on one side and Russia-China-India on the other with the United States as the fulcrum- we're going to basically abandon Europe in everything but name. The simple reason being these particular Core states are the only ones capable of robust military action and a large stake in the stability and continued growth of the global economy.
I wonder what the economic benefit of each unskilled immigrant to Europe is, and especially the benefit of each unskilled Muslim (and thus presumably harder to integrate) immigrant.

I remember reading that while the American economy benefits from each job offshored, the German one is hurt because European economies are less flexible. I bet the average benefit of each immigrant is lower in the EU than the US. Could it be negative?
(Once again, I apologize if this comment is posted twice.)

I wonder what the economic benefit of each unskilled immigrant to Europe is, and especially the benefit of each unskilled Muslim (and thus presumably harder to integrate) immigrant.

I remember reading that while the American economy benefits from each job offshored, the German one is hurt because European economies are less flexible. I bet the average benefit of each immigrant is lower in the EU than the US. Could it be negative?
Since the Europeans are almost all entirely below the replacement level to stabilize their populations, Muslim immigrants will be needed as workers and tax-payers to support an aged population, at current levels of expenditures.

This may not seem obvious today, given the labor market rigidities and high unemployment that you can point to but in 2050 it will mean a great deal.

Given present trends of course. Best thing would be to alter these trends.
I agree that Europe's coming demographic crisis poses serious problems. But a very high unemployment rate among new immigrants also poses problems. Presuming Europe continues to offer new immigrants current-style unemployment benefits, at what immigrant unemployment rate does immigration become detrimental?

I have no idea, and I have never read on article on this. I agree with Mark's sentiments.
It seems to me that increasing diversity within our population (Muslim immigrants) strengthens our nation provided that these immigrants share our basic ideals (such as freedom and individualism - isn't that normally what atracts them?).

I am reading "The Island at the Center of the World" by Russell Shorto which details the enormous and largely forgotten contributions of the Dutch foundations of New York. He describes the high levels of tolerance and diversity that came with the Dutch colony (largely due to a lack of government) and how it caused this area to flourish.

I would also offer James Surowiecki's thinking in "The Wisdom of Crowds" which may be extended to say that more diverse thinking within a population makes it smarter.

Germany and others are failing to leverage this 'resource' and showing a lack of tolerance (do our dirty work but don't you dare affect our culture).
I agree with your thoughts. Immigration has definitely helped the U.S. Europe's statism and intolerance has kept it from assimulating new refugees. If they do not reform themselves, they are going to pull catastrophy from the jaws of growth.
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