In two paragraphs, this Reuters story is able to distill the stupidity and, ultimately, immorality of our Libyan excursion:
NATO-led forces are bombing Libya under a U.N. resolution authorizing them to protect civilians. The United States, Britain and France say they will not stop their air campaign until Gaddafi leaves power.
They have hit targets within Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound several times during the conflict, but deny they are targeting the leader himself.
Translation: We will continue to kill other people until you give up power.
Apollo posted this at 1:16 PM CDT on Thursday, May 12th, 2011 as Sic Semper Tyrannus, To the Shores of Tripoli
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Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, arguing that the proximate cause of the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt is a spike in food prices:
The immediate cause of this food spike was the worst drought in Russia and the Black Sea region for 130 years, lasting long enough to damage winter planting as well as the summer harvest. Russia imposed an export ban on grains. This was compounded by late rains in Canada, Nina disruptions in Argentina, and a series of acreage downgrades in the US. The world’s stocks-to-use ratio for corn is nearing a 30-year low of 12.8pc, according to Rabobank.
The deeper causes are well-known: an annual rise in global population by 73m; the “exhaustion” of the Green Revolution as the gains in crop yields fade, to cite the World Bank; diet shifts in Asia as the rising middle class switch to animal-protein diets, requiring 3-5 kilos of grain feed for every kilo of meat produced; the biofuel mandates that have diverted a third of the US corn crop into ethanol for cars.
Ethanol, you say? I’m as opposed to ethanol as the next guy, mostly because it’s an inferior fuel that reduces the lifespan of my car’s magnificent engine. It is also weird, I grant, that we’re turning food into fuel. This seems like an odd thing to do.
But let’s look at this expansion of ethanol production in the US. We produce 40% of the world’s corn, and if we’re pumping 1/3 of our corn into our cars that’s 13% of the world’s corn making me go vroom. Reading Evans-Pritchard’s story, this amount of corn (cultural food preferences being equal) would be more than enough to satisfy all the people left hungry (or priced out of food) by the Russian drought.
Why, then, are we engaged in such an evil policy? Why do global food prices rise while the wealthiest country on earth goes on joy rides using food for fuel?
Oh, yeah, it’s because OPEC, led by Arab countries, has been effing with the price of oil for the last decade. You want $100 oil? And you don’t like food riots overthrowing your neighbors? Tough-frickin-toenails. We’ll let you starve before we go broke to your monopolistic behavior. We’ll take food that your people could be eating, and we’ll put it in our vee-eights. And if your people don’t like it, well, I’m sure they know where to find rope and a lamppost.
Apollo posted this at 11:34 PM CDT on Sunday, January 30th, 2011 as It's Economics - Stupid!, Sic Semper Tyrannus
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