October 18, 2007
Iraq: Lessons in Risk & Investment
I was amused to read this New York Times arty on US military "concern" over Iranian and Chinese contracting and investment in Iraq.
Aside from providing a certain amusing lesson in economic interest, there are two key lessons here:
(i) That in high risk environments, private capital is cowardly (and rightly so),
(ii) that the US has and still is trying to "do" Iraq on the cheap and without real effort - not national mobilisation despite the Good & Evil rhetoric and calls to Second World War Hollywood imagery. No, drip, drip in billions of just enough for the moment to give the semblance of serious effort to the domestic audiences.
It makes the failure in Iraq sadder, but also more amusing to have the Chinese giving lessons in risk. It also makes more ridiculous the various ill conceived and half baked "economic initiatives" the Americans have launched in MENA, and Iraq - driven more by ideological wishful and magical thinking about magic entrepreneurship and private initiative springing full-formed out of Zeus's head than real effort to drive change, their "key word" parroted constantly and tiresomely in every bloody conference they bloody show up at.
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no stellar investor, I: although it's interesting that Turkey, despite it's issues with the Kurdish north, has invested in Iraq as well;
today the NYT posted this simple, dry explanation of the Iraqi resistance, for those who haven't already figured out 'why they blow us up':
Posted by: dawud at October 18, 2007 08:54 PM
dawud -- A Kurdistan buff I know claims that one of the many reasons Turkey has been so reluctant to intervene in Iraq against the PUK/KDP (as opposed to just entering briefly to smack around the PKK), is that Turkish -- incl. Turkish-Kurdish -- companies have invested so heavily in the Iraqi north, that they would themselves be badly hit by it. Relations were much better before the US invasion, and of course during the PKK ceasefire. So lots of trade and regional contacts -- probably encouraged by Istanbul, to make the Kurdish region dependent on them. After that, he says, the two sides were so economically integrated that Turkey has been reluctant to even close the border as punishment, since they feel it would have unacceptable costs to their economy, esp. in the Kurdish regions.
All in all, a nice little trade -> peace morality for lovers of the free market.
Posted by: alle at October 19, 2007 12:27 AM