State of the Planet
I'm aiming to put large-scale thoughts about the planet in one place. This is very incomplete for now.
The Green Revolution is greatly misperceived. Tractors and cheap oil leading to cheap fertilizer has revolutionized world agriculture. But the "efficiency" has often had as much to do with reducing the need for labor as with increasing yields. This is particularly so when the green revolution or genetic engineering revolution-to-be are compared with modern eco-farming. Eco-farming is vastly better for the long term health of the planet, of the soil and farms, the consumers, etc. It is less efficient merely in requiring more labor -- but paying people in poor countries to farm is a key way to keep them from being poor and hungry.
- Support for "our" authoritarian leader tends to be a disaster: the Shah, Saddam Hussein, Afghan Islamists, etc. etc.
- Creating space for other people's to have their own revolutions has been tremendously powerful. Obama didn't do much -- but this is the first time in a while that an American President wasn't doing much to interfere in internal Arab politics. And whammo, Iran is near revolution, Tunisia and Egypt and possibly Libya overthrown.
- Getting external influence out of the way faster gives more peaceful revolutionaries more power -- compare Iran where we helped the Shah stay too long (until the liberals were powerless compared to the right-wing Shah vs right-wing religious), with Egypt.
- "Realpolitick" is anything but. Our military in the Persian Gulf has been close to useless at a strategic level despite great sacrifice and smashing victories. Would we really exchange where Iraq is today, for what would be happening during the Arab Spring if we hadn't invaded?