December 30, 2003

Third World as "ethnographic zoo"

Wretchard puts this well.

...Thomas Barnett pointed out that Africa, in common with dirt poor countries of the Third World, has been detached from the stream of civilization. It remains on the planet only by polite pretense; but in practice under another sun, with different laws of gravity. Even arithmetic is different there, and the starvation of a hundred thousand counts for less newspaper space than the sexual scandals of a Hollywood actor. Yet in that outer dark lies the future of mankind. Barnett convincingly argues that "the real battlegrounds in the global war on terrorism are still over there. If gated communities and rent-a-cops were enough, September 11 never would have happened."

The truly dangerous thing about President Bush is that he wants to bring these lost continents back onto the planet. "And we believe that freedom -- the freedom we prize -- is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind." Even at the cost of making them like Americans, free, crass and prosperous. That is a less comforting proposition to the capitals of Old Europe than maintaining the Third World as an ethnographic zoo which pays graft to the zookeepers.

Posted by John Weidner at December 30, 2003 7:19 PM
Weblog by John Weidner