Sunday, October 18, 2009

The NYT does not like the Taliban

The NYT has recently published at least 3 articles that deliver pretty much the same message …

The message is that the modern Taliban have become inextricably linked to al Qaeda and Pakistan. There’s a less clear attempt to argue that Afghanistan is not a hopeless case.

I remember a similar NYT consensus in the build up to the invasion of Iraq, when the NYT jumped on the WMB and especially bioweapon bandwagon. In retrospect the Times was being played by their sources.

That’s not to say this consensus is wrong, but we’d be foolish to forget how this game is played.

I’m very glad Obama is doing his strategic review.


* My recollection is that in the early 80s Afghanistan was a poster child for impending ecological collapse. It’s a very fragile ecosystem, and the rapid development of the 1970s combined with severe oppression of women had led to extreme population growth and environmental degradation. Climate variation may have also played a role. By the late 1980s and early 1990s Afghanistan was in economic and ecological collapse.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any references that agree with my memory!

This is important. If the Afghan agricultural infrastructure is gone, then it has a very long road ahead.

See also Gordon's Notes- Lester Brown, Julian Simon, the UNFPA, Malthus, and, again, the Food.

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