October 25, 2008

Tom 2

Part 2 of our reading of an article by Thomas Brennan:

In 1977, (a year before Deng Xiao Peng revolutionized the country with his economic reforms) “Red China was FAR below the United States in term of economic influence. The “Cultural Revolution” of 1966 to 1976 was a colossal failure, and at least a few enlightened leaders came to the realization that they had to make some big changes or go broke.

Today, China is a full fledged member of the World Trade Organization, and our trade deficit with them is on the order of $200,000,000,000 a year.


Due to the fact that their economic future is so strongly tied to our economic future, China is no longer considered to be a military threat, as it was in the 1950‘s and 1960’s, when the “commies” provided a great deal of military assistance to both the North Koreans and the North Vietnamese.

Not every place in the Middle East is teeming with crazy radicals who are out to get us, for the same reason that China is no longer considered to be a threat.

On October 5, 2008, the Chicago Tribune ran a story with the lengthy title “Gulf states turn oil wealth into glitter at home, influence abroad”. If you’d like to read the entire article

The six nations that collectively make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Qatar, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates, now control $1.9 trillion in assets.


China is the only place in the world that controls more assets than that.

In other words, neither the United States nor the European Union controls most of the marbles. If you’ve been watching the news this past week, the marbles have been falling out of the bag pretty rapidly as of late, and there have been quite a few references to the crash of 1929.

It is estimated that the United States, as well as most of Europe, will transfer $600Billion to the region this year alone. While our national debt continues to skyrocket, and congress continues to fiddle with a $700 Billion economic rescue package, the gulf countries are continuing to rack up surpluses between 250 and 300 billion dollars a year.

Perversely enough, if you haven’t driven your Ford lately (because you can no longer afford the gas) it may make you feel better if you can understand the fact that our heavy dependence on foreign oil has actually helped the world become a safer place, not a more dangerous one.

The battle cry of ”drill,baby,drill” makes absolutely no sense, for a lot of reasons.

Due to the fact that their economic well being is tied so strongly to our economy, the enlightened leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council have come down hard on political dissent and religious radicals at home simply because all those crazy people just aren’t good for business.

Unlike the 1970’s, when oil wealth was squandered on fancy palaces and expensive cars (the sultan of Brunei is said to own 3000 cars, and a lot of them are Rolls Royces and Ferraris), today’s oil wealth is being invested abroad in projects that will help to diversify their economies. As a result, once the residue from those old dinosaurs finally runs out, there will be ways to pay the electric bill other than drilling for oil.

In addition to investing in projects that will bring in future income, Qatar (a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council) has been investing heavily in education.

On page 6 of Section 1 of the October 2 section of the Chicago Tribune was an article titled
Medill in the Middle East”, and it describes the expansion of Northwestern University’s school of journalism.

Qatar first approached Medill in 2006 about conducting journalism classes in their country, and the first classes started in August of 2008. Medill joins Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, and Virginia Commonwealth, who were also hand picked by the leaders of Qatar.

If you managed to make it all the way through my 17 page book report on the Koran (may Allah have mercy on you) you may remember that my key point is that education will almost always defeat brute force.

What is happening right now in Qatar is a unique experiment that will do us far more good as a country than anything else that we are doing right now.

The six countries that make of the Gulf Cooperation Council are 99% Muslim. If you don’t believe me, just read the attached link:

The reason that I read the Koran is that I wanted to try to understand why Muslims think the way that they do.

As it turns out, the Muslims are also trying to learn from us.

They’ve invited us to plant a garden in their back yard, and the seeds that are being sown there are the ideas generated by our universities, which we take for granted here.

Eventually, those seeds will grow and flourish.

In conclusion, if you’re waiting for the Janis Joplin connection, here it is:

Have a good day



Thanks Tom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're welcome !

I'm delighted that you enjoyed the article.

EVERY time that I hear "The Rose", I actually get goosebumps, so I'm glad that a few more people can enjoy what is definitely one of Janis Joplin's best songs