14 thoughts on “Henley’s Autarky^3”

  1. Lurker:

    I can see that there’s a common thread betweem my blog an porphy’s, and a common Greek classical reference as well. I wonder if we resemble one another? (I’m not fat. Really. It’s just that I have phat little fingers.)

  2. This is why you should never blog after you start taking the med the doctor gives in preparation for a procedure. They said I couldn’t drive, but they’re walking distance away…

    …corrections and apologies underway.


  3. I feel terribly naive in asking this question but is it possible that Mr. Henley doesn’t realize that when we buy something from another country they receive dollars for the transaction and it’s quite difficult for us to restrict what’s done with the dollars after they have them? So, for example, they may buy stock in U. S. companies, T-notes, etc.

    Also, would it be possible today, right this second, for the Arab world to keep their oil fields operational without substantial support from the West? And that support implies pretty extensive trade–and the presence of Westerners.

  4. Scott,

    Your post is excellent, very insightful.

    I tend to agree with Dave’s comment above. Without working out the blow-by-blow details of the “what if” scenarios involving a hypothetical disengagement from Islamic societies, I see a very basic problem with the notion of disengaging.

    These societies are entirely dependent on Western technology and know-how. Their populations have increased four-fold in fifty years, unprecedented in history, and life expectancy and living standards have increased enormously. The very survival of these populations will depend on continued contact with the West and eventual adaptation of social, cultural, economic, political, etc. institutions to a modern technology/knowledge based economy. You can’t just go back. Slowing down this process strikes me as unrealistic, counterproductive and ultimately impossible. It could only aggravate the necessary adaptation. For them. They need engagement more than we do.

  5. au·tar·ky or au·tar·chy (ô“tär”k¶) n., pl. au·tar·kies or au·tar·chies. 1. A policy of national self-sufficiency and nonreliance on imports or economic aid.

  6. Diana –

    Because Henley has a profondly unrealistic idea of how trade works. He assumes that we can have a simplistic ‘trade oil for gold’ interface with the Islamic world, while withdrawing culturally, politically and militarily from the ME. Except for the going in and killing terrorists part, which I haven’t been able to figure out yet.

    More in a bit…off to play catch now.


  7. AL:

    OK, now you are saying ideas that are interesting. I look forward to hearing you develop your ideas.

    I am instinctively sympathetic to what you are saying because I disagree with Jim’s idea that we should continue to trade with the oiligarchies “same as we do now” probably for the same reasons that you are hinting at here.

  8. Scott’s piece is terrific, thanks for the pointer.

    Well over two years ago, Henley advocated not just opposition to Bush’s policy, but total pullout of the ME, including:
    Scrapping the sanctions vs Iraq
    Ceasing the no-fly zones.

    The consequences of this would be fairly obvious, namely:
    Saddam could rearm without hindrance
    Saddam could slaughter the Kurds and the Shiites
    He could eventually be in a position to threaten his neighbours.

    Apparently, that’s no problem for Jim because he is convinced that Saddam, while no doubt an evil man, was deterrable and rational.

    Well, this “rational” man has invaded two neighbouring nations at terrible cost to his military and economy. He continued to provoke the UN and the West by repeated breaches of the 1991 ceasefire and UN resolutions. Not very rational to me.

    I agree with some of Jim’s views, though, and would not describe his stance as autarky.

  9. Johnathan, I caused a fair amount of confusion with that; I meant (and obviously didn’t convey well) that Henley’s ideas would only work in a world where autrarky was possible – and that since it isn’t in this world, his notions don’t make a lot of sense.


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