Moral hazard in geopolitica

If the existence of a nation-state is guaranteed by some external authority-whether by the United Nations or the United States-then one of its incentives to a realistic policy, both domestic and foreign, has been removed from play. To see this problem, think back to the old chaotic world in which the rules of realpolitik operated: there, if a state pursued a domestic or a foreign policy that was too grossly unrealistic, it would inevitably pay the price for doing so. It would be invaded, or annexed, or partitioned, as the example of eighteenth-century Poland made clear. The price of any nation-state’s survival was the cultivation of a heightened sense of realism.

This is no longer the case. Indeed, the current international arrangement might be compared to an economic system in which each business enterprise has been assured of not going broke by a guarantee of a governament subsidy in the face of financial insolvency. Would such a system be inclined to produce hard-nosed realism among the operators of these business enterprises, or would it rather induce them to pay less attention to the complaints of their customers or to the innovations of their competitors?

The principle of self-determination in a world of perpetual peace may not in fact be the panacea for mankind’s ills but rather a means for prolonging these ills unnecessary, by sanctioning a status quo of despotism and tyranny, by virtually underwriting the brutal caprice of petty dictators, and by furthering the fantasies of ruthless fanatics. Self determination at the level of the nation-state may entail complete loss of freedom and dignity at the level of the individual-and all in the name of liberalism.

Da Civilization and its Enemies di Lee Harris.

Da Wellington.

Il libro l’ho ordinato ieri e ho letto qui e là cose interessanti su cui tornerò. Sono perfettamente d’accordo con l’idea, comunque: un Bernanke in politica estera è ancora più pericoloso che alla Fed.

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