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Thursday, December 29th 2005

The World is More Secure?

Slate links to an article which misinterprets the world situation once again. Chatterbox seems to have an issue in assuming cause and effect relationships. Then again, I do sometimes as well. But here they’ve screwed up again.

“Just about every geopolitical argument put forth since 9/11 has taken as its starting point that the world has become a more violent place.”
While the world as a whole may be safer if we take Mack’s arguments as is, the west may be much more in harm’s way today than it was in 1992. Mack’s op/ed doesn’t address, as I can see, the distribution of weapons or several other notable issues. For instance, it is not only arguable, but likely, that the world’s nuclear weapons are less secure today than 13 years ago.
When the west refers to the world as a more violent or less secure place, they obviously are solely concerned with the west’s security and that may well be less than it was in 1992. In the case of nuclear weapons, this is an issue that affects the west’s security far more than the third world’s.
Finally, I’m unsure about the causality Slate and Mack assume between policy and this belief in increased violence.
In many cases, a growing risk aversion and a growing intolerance for the world’s violence, not necessarily a belief that the world is actually MORE violent, is fueling policy. The end result for policy decisions is the same.
Why do I, as an American, care how violent the world is before 9/11? But after that fateful day, any perceived instability throughout the world is a larger threat to me, even if the level of that instability and violence is actually decreasing. That change in viewpoint may actually be accurate, certainly Mack’s op/ed has nothing to say about it.