September 20, 2003

Krugman Watch You gotta read

Krugman Watch

You gotta read it to believe it (via Romenesko).

Money grafs:

"In it, Krugman describes how, just as he was about to send his manuscript to the publishers, he chanced upon a passage in an old history book from the 1950s, about 19th-century diplomacy, that seemed to pinpoint, with eerie accuracy, what is happening in the US now. Eerie, but also perhaps a little embarrassing, really, given the identity of the author. Because it's Henry Kissinger.

"The first three pages of Kissinger's book sent chills down my spine," Krugman writes of A World Restored, the 1957 tome by the man who would later become the unacceptable face of cynical realpolitik. Kissinger, using Napoleon as a case study - but also, Krugman believes, implicitly addressing the rise of fascism in the 1930s - describes what happens when a stable political system is confronted with a "revolutionary power": a radical group that rejects the legitimacy of the system itself.

This, Krugman believes, is precisely the situation in the US today (though he is at pains to point out that he isn't comparing Bush to Hitler in moral terms). [ed. note. Gee, great!] The "revolutionary power", in Kissinger's theory, rejects fundamental elements of the system it seeks to control, arguing that they are wrong in principle. For the Bush administration, according to Krugman, that includes social security; the idea of pursuing foreign policy through international institutions; and perhaps even the basic notion that political legitimacy comes from democratic elections - as opposed to, say, from God."

Folks, Krugman is a very talented economist. As he himself admits, the NYT likely hired him at the height of the 90's boom to cover the seemingly ever-expanding economy. Krugman would have been concentrating on issues like supposed labor productivity booms and so on. Instead the bubble economy crashed and 9/11 happened. Krugman is out of his depth commenting on matters foreign policy. I mean, this is the guy who thought Enron would have a greater effect on the course of U.S. history than 9/11.

And how can Krugman seriously contend that a "revolutionary power" in Washington has completely set aside the idea of multilateral cooperation and the "basic notion that political legitimacy comes from democratic elections"? This is absurd fare from the wacky extreme left. You don't expect it from a columnist who has been granted a lofty perch over at the NYT.

Posted by Gregory at September 20, 2003 09:05 AM

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