Tuesday, January 11, 2011


In a stunningly ignorant article in today's WSJ, Bret Stephens calls for the re-colonization of selected countries:

"some new version of colonialism may be the best thing that could happen to at least some countries in the post-colonial world"

He's not totally specific; he names Haiti, Ivory Coast & Sudan, but also says "Post-colonial Africa has seen the future. As often as not it looks like Zimbabwe".


Then there's this:

"The colonialists of yore may often have been bigots, but they were also, just as often, doers. Their colonies were better places than the shipwrecked countries that we have today".

Holy Crap.

First, sub-Saharan Africa is actually improving on governance on the whole, not digressing. Second, colonialism helped create the conditions that plague the region like artificial borders, ginned up ethnic rivalries, diminished local capacities and so on. Third, "sure they were bigots, but they got things done"? Really? We are going to use "the trains ran on time" as a serious argument?

Finally, as to the colonies being "better places" than their current independent counterparts, I have to ask, better for who? Has Bret ever read about the colonial experience of the Congo? Has he ever heard of apartheid?

This guy should be fired, ASAP.

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