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June 08, 2004

Bluehats & The Grid

One of the harsh lessons of Iraq is that it is now a bit more difficult to expect a proper empire. Anti-Americanism is a lot easier to spread than one might have previously expected.

The Left pretends that they have solutions and they are half right, if Sally Struthers is any example. But Americans on the whole I think share a sense of responsibility for victims of tyranny abroad. We engage philanthropically in humanitarian relief and aid. Still I have a strong sense that our efforts would be so much more meaningful were we able to take ourselves to those remote places and live among the people we seek to help.

On the international grid, we could support a distributed empire. Everyplace that is FedExable, GSMable and ATMable could be a potential outpost for the largesse of the West. And why not? Do we not have Iraqis in America who repatriated? I wonder why it is we haven't heard back from them on NPR? Perhaps they are quite satisfied with the American engagement and therefore don't square with the program directors sense of outrage at Bush's 'aggression'. That aside, we do have Americans of every persuasion who have lived here in the nation that functions well. Who better to spread love, joy and endless commodities?

But there is the matter of security. Even before the sums of cash from Western investment assists the new third world economies of choice, there must be a stable government. And it is is in this shadowy time period that we find ourselves in Iraq. After the ceasefire and disarmament of militias and before the national army is in place. This is the time, under optimistic circumstances, that Americans somewhat less hardy than Halliburton roughnecks, Red Cross volunteers and Wackenhut mercenaries might sieze the opportunity to ply their trades in countries like Iraq.

Imagine what an American plumber could do in a land needing plumbing where the per capita income is $500 a year. Could he purchase a compound and ramp up a business? Could he stay on the international grid and with a translator demonstrate what know-how he learned in the good old USA? It seems to me that the answer is yes, provided there was security.

I don't know how to judge the effectiveness of the UN Development Program, whose job this is supposed to be. But we have reason to believe that it is full of corruption given what we've seen on the Oil For Food program. That's a shame. But sooner or later the edge of the Global Grid is going to encroach on every habitable part of the world and Americans are going to be there, not only just watching on television or following blogs.

This is the new empire; get used to it. What remains to be seen is why we use the UN at all and if they can be trusted with security.

Posted by mbowen at June 8, 2004 09:41 AM

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