Monday, December 18, 2006

Political tidbits

Terrific piece from Doug Bandow contrasting Russia and China. Adopting slightly different versions of communism and authoritarianism, one continually flirts with disaster while the other is on the brink of superpower status. Bandow touches on the political and economic state of each nation while giving a description of their Washington based visa offices. Pity Russia:

The visa room is minuscule. Two chairs sit behind a small table. If you filled the rest of the room, the crowd would number about 20 standing shoulder to shoulder. There just aren't a lot of Americans seeking to jet off to Russia.
Hail China:

The Chinese have a genuine waiting room. Two or three dozen chairs are set in rows. Grabbing a number is a must; when I foolishly arrived on a Monday I found a mob scene, standing room only. The wait was more than an hour. The security guard suggested coming on Wednesdays, when the delay typically was shortest. At least the pick-up line moved more quickly.

Judith Stein offers a more detailed look at Russian economic practice.

This back and forth between Will Hutton and Meghnad Desai is interesting. Hutton argues that without certain freedoms, such as the right to own property or participate in civic audit, personal ambition will always be stunted and Chinese enterprise will suffer. Desai argues that China is just fine the way it is and it need not adopt Western values to become a success. Curiously, he takes a shot at America's relationship with Israel in his disdain for the West.

What would the world look like if America lost it's superpower status? Paul Starobin considers four interesting possibilities.

Victor Davis Hansen on his Bizarre Libyan Holiday. Brimming with facts from the archaeological to the political, it reads like a mini textbook on Libya.

Daniel Pipes, Tommy Franks and others on what to do with Iraq.


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