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On this Memorial Day, our thoughts are with our 145,000 troops in Iraq.

Unfortunately, as we’ve all learned since their great victory, the Department of Defense civilian brain trust made no realistic plans about what would happen in Iraq after they got their money shot of the toppling statue.

“Hey,” the American Enterprise Institute refugees in the Pentagon reasoned, “We’re The Proposition Nation, right? So, the Iraqis will love us for our propositions, and then … uh … well, they’lllive democratically ever after. Or something like that!”

I realize I’m being unconservative. After all, as we’ve been informed repeatedly over the last year, the essence of true conservatism is no longer Burkean prudence. Instead, it’s having the government plunge wildly into situations it knows next to nothing about based on abstract ideological theories.

At least one outcome of the war, though, was quite predictable: our current border problems with Syria and Iran. Contraband and people have been smuggled in from Syria. Iran has been allegedly whipping upethnic tensions within Iraq in an attempt to grab political power.

But UPI’s Richard Sale has reported (May 2) that Karl Rove vetoed an attack on Syria, since it didn’t fit in his meticulous plan for the President’s re-election. And the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has just revealed that that the Administration now plans to push by indirect means for regime change in Iran. (“U.S. Eyes Pressing Uprising in Iran,” May 25).

Of course, all the border transgressions that the Administration is so concerned about in the Middle East happen every day on our frontier with Mexico.

Drugs, illegal immigrants, and Mexican political influence flow northward. Mexican-American murderers escape southward.

But, that’s the nature of borders. They tend to be trouble.

The best solution to the Border Problem is to not have any borders. Instead, try being surrounded by oceans.

You’ll like it. There’s a reason that Australians have traditionally called their country the Happy Land. The U.S., of course, has been blessed with oceans on two sides.

In contrast, our new Mesopotamian satrapy, which borders six countries, is in a tough neighborhood.

The next best solution: have a neighbor like Canada—civilized, prosperous, and peaceful.

Of course, not all Americans are satisfied with Canada’s untoughness. In a cover story in last November 25th’s National Review, Jonah Goldberg concluded that, to make Canada less wimpy, the U.S. should blow up Toronto’s 2,000 foot tall CN Tower.

(Jonah later claimed he was being “sarcastic,” as if this was all some dry Andy Kaufman-type put-on. But, that’s not Jonah’s style of humor. He telegraphs every joke like Krusty the Klown, with an elbow in the ribs and a pie in the face. On November 15, four days after thisarticle came out, NR announced that Jonah was relieved of his editorship of National Review Online and kicked upstairs to Editor-at-Large. Does that mean Mr. Buckley still provides some adultsupervision now and then?)

Unlike Jonah, I’m not calling for America to stage military assaults on either of our neighbors. Clearly, though, the close parallels between our new troubles with Syria/Iran and our traditional troubles with Mexico are not coincidental.

There are three general ways to deal with the Border Problem.

  1. Conquer the country on the other side. There are a number of difficulties with this, but the major one is that it often doesn’t solve the Border Problem—it just shifts it outward, diluting the forces available to pacify the occupied lands and making them more vulnerable to infiltration, thus requiring theconquest of even more countries later. (See the history of Duchy of Muscovy over the last half-millennium for many grim examples.)
  1. Good fences make good neighbors.” Build a fence. That’s what the Israelis did around the Gaza Strip. It has almost completely shut off the influx of suicide bombers.Another example: If you’re an old-timer, you might remember the endless brouhaha in the 1970s over the Western Sahara. When Spain pulled out in 1976, the King of Morocco sent 350,000 civilians, Camp of the Saints-style, into that God-forsaken hellhole to seize it before the locals could vote in aU.N. referendum on their fate. Algeria then organized the Polisario guerillas to sneak in to Western Sahara, driving armed pick-up trucks. They soon had the Moroccan Army on the run. Morocco, though, struck back by building a thousand-mile wall of sand. Not too high tech, but enough to defuse Polisario. (Here’s War Nerd’s amusing account of Morocco’s border wars.)

    So let’s build a fence along the borders with Syria and Iran. This would have two good effects:

    A. Making additional wars less necessary.

    B. Providing an excellent precedent for building a fence along our Mexican border.

  1. “Diplomacy” i.e. carrots and sticks to persuade the bordering country to change. Secretary Powell has announced that he can get Syria to reform without war. If true, that would be nice.But a far more important—and far more promising—candidate for American-induced reform is Mexico. We need Mexico to get its act together so that Mexicans can make a decent living at home rather than having to sneak illegally into the U.S.

Mexico’s problems, severe as they are, are not as dire as the Muslim Arab countries. But Mexico has a much greater impact on us.

Recently, Mexico has made respectable progress in building a manufacturing base and in opening its political system to competition. (Also, Mexico’s rate of inbreeding is very low, so its people aren’t as foreordained as Iraq’s to be nepotistically corrupt.)

Further, a few Americans actually know something about Mexico. Do you know anybody who has ever even been to Syria?

Unfortunately, Mexico’s manufacturing economy is now being hammered by competition from China. And that country, 1.2 billion people with an average IQ higher than the average Americans, is only going to become a stronger competitor.

Mexico needs reform, which means it must assault its ancient traditions of corruption and elite favoritism and mobilize the talents of all its citizens, instead of sloughing its poor off on the U.S.

(Here’s my 2002 UPI interview with the celebrated Peruvianeconomist Hernando de Soto on how Mexico could prosper.)

Helping reform Mexico would cost us money. But just a fraction of the $75 billion the Bush Administration has requested for Iraq would go along way in Mexico.

Further, we could use smaller Central American countries like Honduras as test cases.

A billion dollars would buy a lot of carrots in Honduras.

Ultimately, our attempts to reform Middle Eastern societies will falter. The locals know they are on the other side of the Earth from the U.S. They believe we Americans are likely to get frustrated and go home, aswe did in Lebanon in 1983. So, they think, why cooperate more than the minimum?

But The U.S.-Mexico border is forever. We’re stuck with it – and we have to do something about it.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Middle East 
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[Peter Brimelow writes: I've said before that VDARE.COM IS NOT A FULL-SERVICE WEBSITE! We think immigration and the National Question are today's VITAL ISSUES!! We want to FOCUS on them!!! But our syndicated columnists keep straying off the reservation. So here we let a less anti-war member of our coalition off the leash – briefly.]

There’s something about the Biblical Lands that brings out the Apocalyptic in folks. Norman Podhoretz and Paul Craig Roberts see the situation in the Middle East as so dire that America should either

  1. Overthrow “at a minimum,” the governments of Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and “then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties” (Podhoretz’s modest proposal in Commentary Magazine, September 2002);
  1. Invite all five million Israelis to move to the U.S. (Roberts’ subtle counteroffer).

Personally, I believe our real problem with Saddam Hussein is one that Tony Soprano would understand perfectly. We made a deal with Saddam in 1991. He’s been spitting on it publicly. If we let this minor punk get away with it, tougher operations like China will get the idea we’ve gone soft. So to enforce a contract, we might have to take out a contract.

However, this relatively limited problem justifies neither launching what Podhoretz calls “World War IV” nor pulling the plug on Israel.

Anyway, neither Podhoretz nor Roberts would really be happy with their plans’ long-term impact on America.

Podhoretz fails to consider his plan’s inevitable side effect–“imperial backwash” – and its attendant dangers for American Jews. Imposing permanent reforms upon those ancient cultures would require at least a generation (if it could be done at all). These lengthy American occupations would inevitably bring a flood of immigrants to America from our new anti-Jewish protectorates – especially if Podhoretz’s anti-anti-immigration prejudices continue to dominate polite opinion.

(Fortunately, other Jewish leaders are reassessing their traditional support for mass immigration in the light of 9/11. Media mogul Mort Zuckerman, who recently slammed current policy, is chairman of the influential Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.)

Consider the cost that France is paying for once ruling Algeria. Jew-hating Algerian Muslim youths now hold the whip hand in many grimy French suburbs. The gendarmes and their political bosses worry that, if the Algerians are not permitted to run amok against the Jews, they’ll riot against everybody–as the Pakistani Muslims did in Britain last year.

Is this what Podhoretz wants for America?

Nor does Podhoretz consider how American foreign policy would naturally turn against Israel once our bureaucrats were responsible for running nine separate Muslim countries. (Including Afghanistan–so far we haven’t exactly shown we know how to make Madisonian constitutionalists out of the furious clansmen.)

Already, Podhoretz complains frequently about how the State Department (and the British Foreign Office before it) is too pro-Arab. Once we became the mentor of nine Muslim nations, the official urge to throw them a bone by reducing our support for Israel would multiply exponentially.

What about the Roberts plan? Personally, I believe America would, and should, take in the Israelis if their enemies succeeded in “driving them into the sea.” But this isn’t going to be necessary.

Still, importing 5.4 million Israeli Jews would contradict Roberts’ preference – expressed also by Podhoretz – for limited government. The high-IQ Ashkenazi Jews who dominate Israel, and who would soon play a major role in American institutions, have never been enthusiasts for free markets.

Today, Israel ranks a mediocre 56th out of 123 countries on the Economic Freedom index. Back in 1980, it was a miserable 93rd out 107 countries. [See Peter Brimelow's 1987 interview with an embattled Israeli free marketer here.] For that matter, Jews here voted for Gore over Bush 80%-17%.

Further, Roberts (and Podhoretz) should worry about the effect on American attitudes of a sudden influx highly-talented Ashkenazis. The median Jewish IQ appears to be higher than of the non-Jewish white population. This shifts the whole Jewish IQ Bell Curve to the right – with dramatic results on the right, high IQ, tail. By a very rough calculation, after such a population transfer, Israeli Ashkenazis would constitute one out of every five people in America with stratospheric IQs (160 or higher).

Morever, one big reason the media are so uncaring about immigration’s economic impact on their fellow Americans is that American journalists don’t have to compete against immigrants, except for the occasional arrival from the Anglosphere. But, if native-born journalists started losing their jobs to hard-working, brash, English-speaking Israelis, centuries of tragic history suggest this Olympian complacency might soon give way to anti-Semitism.

But none of this is going to happen. Israel is eminently capable of defending itself – with or without American help. Israel is almost as much the regional superpower of the Mideast as the U.S. is of the Americas.

And, as more and more Israelis are realizing, their vulnerability to suicide bombers who stroll in from the West Bank is a self-imposed problem, just like our own problem with illegal aliens crossing the Mexican border… And it has a simple solution: build a wall. A wall has already prevented terrorists from entering via the Gaza Strip.

Why didn’t Israel start work on a West Bank security fence before now?

Israel’s Left hoped to unite Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip into one happy-clappy multiculturalist polity. They saw building a wall as a repudiation of their “Why can’t we all just get along?” philosophy in favor of the immoral forces of prejudice and xenophobia. The Center thought that building a wall would undercut land-for-peace negotiations by unilaterally imposing a boundary. The Right, seeing the West Bank as part of the rightful homeland of the Jews, feared a wall would impede the settler takeover there. And business owners (as usual) wanted the cheap labor proved by the West Bank Palestinians.

After paying a terrible price in civilian deaths, the Israelis are learning that old American lesson: good fences make good neighbors. (Or, at least, non-homicidal ones, which might be as good as you can get in the Middle East.)

The U.S. should relearn that lesson about good fences too – and build our own version of the new Israeli wall along our Mexican border.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: IQ, Middle East 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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