Tuesday, May 2

Foreign policy edition: Iran, Iraq, immigration (and agriculture)

+ Interesting proposal here on Iran: Consortium plus conditions, viewed through the lens of game theory .

+ I also liked this article, linked on Coming Anarchy: Why Al Qaeda Is Retreating From Iraq.

+ Over on my favorite place to comment, Paul has a post where he talks some about immigration and agricultural protectionism . I'll quote a chunk then repost my comment:

A connected event that no one in the media seems to be connecting is the WTO's Doha talks, which, according to an opinion piece yesterday in the WSJ, missed another deadline recently. Those talks are largely about lifting agricultural trade barriers and eliminating farm subsidies. "The World Bank estimates that full liberalization would boost the incomes of developing countries, which comprise two-thirds of the WTO membership, by up to $259 billion by 2015."

So, let's see. The US puts up agricultural trade barriers and subsidizes farming so that developing countries suffer in the one area in which they might otherwise compete with us. That makes people in those countries want to go somewhere else to improve economically, maybe to the US, legally or illegally. We are then called upon to liberalize our immigration laws and continue our lax enforcement, so that the protected industries can get cheap labor. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Sorry, Gloria.

(In fairness to the US, let me note that we seem to be on the side of the angels in the Doha talks, but why can't we just liberalize our agricultural policy unilaterally?)

My comment:

'why can't we just liberalize our agricultural policy unilaterally?'

just off the top of my head: 2 senators from each Ag state + representatives in populous states like CA and FL, Cargill, ADM, et al.

plus, though so few of us derive our livings from agriculture any more, this still seems to be an emotionally-fraught area, like we can't touch it without people going beserk.

Tom is wont to say that the DHS is like the D of Ag for the 21st cent. whereas there were two bureaucrats in the DoA for every farmer (exageratedly), there are [some huge number of] bureaucrats in the DHS for every terrorist.

i'm with you, Paul, on Doha: ugh.
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