Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Dumb Leading the Blind

As he's wont to do, Thomas P.M. Barnett cuts to the chase with an interesting overview of U.S. development efforts in Iraq. Barnett assembles a series of articles on the topic and brilliantly explicates for us:

This is classic stuff: the idealists and can-do types in DC constantly overridden by the realists and the not-invented-here types on the ground in Iraq. The former don’t realize what they can’t do and the latter know all too well all too much about all the things that will never--ever--be done in Iraq. This is the dumb leading the blind. Regional experts tend to go native, constantly telling you how “that won’t work here” for all these idiosyncratic reasons, while the functional experts assume their one-size-fits-all. Between them there’s almost no one with any serious private-sector experience making all sorts of decisions regarding market and generating business activity. How screwed is that?

He goes on to discuss the integration of the Iranian and Iraqi economies but draws conclusions that may ruffle the feathers of the know-it-alls:

Please don’t give me that crap about Iran “winning.” All this economic connectivity will change Iran more than Iraq, and the former will play Poland to the latter’s Russia.

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