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evolution versus revolution

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 11:40:33 +0000 (GMT)
From: Tim Viles <>
To: Seb Wills <>
Subject: Re: CASI: newsletter

Something for discussion, please e-mail it to your list/people on your
list not likely to get irate.

I was recently at a debate in which I proposed the motion that sanctions
against dictators did not work.  I proposed this on the grounds that
evolutionary change (a la UK) brings better government than revolutionary
change (a la Iraq/Iran/Russia/France).  This is because and the gradual
embourgeoisement of society created by enriching and therefore empowering
a middle class who can, through the enrichment brought by trade, afford
mobile phones, internet connections etc which undermine totalitarian and
nationalistic ideas is far more effective than starving the poor and
providing a scapegoat for the said dictator to blame for every economic
and moral ill.

However, this only works if the benefits of trade reach people who are not
the cronies of the dictator.  If, say, the only thing that Iraq can sell
is oil and oil production is nationalised, that the money generated
through trade goes first to the dictator, his henchmen and his army.
Ultimately this money will 'trickle down' (dubious Thatchernomics), but it
will maintain and internally and externally oppressionist infrastructure
in the meantime.  Yes the poor will be fed in the short term, but they
will remain oppressed, the Kurds will continue to be gassed and Iraq will
pose and increased threat to its neighbours.  

I still think that sanctions are by and large bad, but so does Douglas
Hurd.  In the case of Iraq, things seem more complicated.  Can anybody

Tim Viles

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