November 06, 2007

Predicting Pakistan

Martial law, corruption in the military, and protests in the streets. Could civil conflict in Pakistan have been predicted? And why don't we see protests in the streets in Cuba or China when corrupt governments there tighten control during sensitive times?

Do tempers flare under Musharraf because of the youth bulge in Pakistan?

Does it Matter if we Agree?

Hotheaded teens and twentysomethings are willing to fight for dogma and pride, whether it is in the name of "resistance," "democracy," or "class warfare." Whether they are Islamists, Freedom fighters, Contras, or gang members, kids are willing to put down their homework and fill the streets of South Central LA, Communist Poland, and Pakistan, all in the name of an idea.

But a country dominated by moms and dads is different. The lives of older people are all about making tradeoffs. Old folks will make compromises to achieve prosperity and peace.

So we should see more success working with Iran and North Korea - demographically middle-aged countries - rather than countries full of youngsters such as Pakistan and Iraq. The question, it seems, is not what your people stand for, but how they stand. Do they talk, or do they fight? It does us no good to negotiate with the government of Iraq or Pakistan if they are always on the verge of being overthrown.

Does it really matter if we agree?

Posted by David at November 6, 2007 12:47 PM

While I certainly agree that youthful demographics causes higher conflict (and explain a lot of economics as well ... you must have seen Malcom Gladwell piece in the New Yorker some months ago?) you make it sound like a bad thing!

Wouldnt it be better if the youth in your country protested illegal arrest and torture a little more? I'd reckon the biggest difference between Vietnam and Irag is the age of the baby boomers.. no?

Posted by: at November 9, 2007 12:08 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?