Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Silver lining to the financial crisis?

Here's a link to my most recent piece for It argues that if there is a bright side to the world financial crisis, it is the falling price of oil, which means that several countries that have amassed petrodollars and used them to make mischief in the world at large -- notably Iran, Russia and Venezuela -- will have less money available and thus less capacity to create problems for others.

The Register ran an editorial today that made a similar argument. Coincidence? I think not. I'm afraid my former colleague John Seiler misunderstood the import of the editorial and attacked it in his own blog. We ran the editorial in part to undercut the idea that the United States needs to be actively interventionist overseas to counter these countries, because the threats are petering out of their own accord -- not only because of the falling price of oil but because that falling price exposes some inherent weaknesses in the economies of those countries. I agree with almost everything John wrote, in fact, except for the part where he said the Register had become economic nationalists, for heaven's sake. John and I will remain friends, of course.

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