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April 09, 2005



Perverse incentives. Leaving aside the fact that you'd have to demonstrate that you'd the bargain is credible (which, after the Spanish Judge pursued Pinochet across jurisdictions, looks a lot more difficult), and the fact that not all cases boil down to power/economics (it would work a lot better with weakling nations), you'd create an incentive for nasty bastards to take power and use it to earn a western-financed meal ticket.

This would likely destablise international relations. Most Third World dictators stick to their borders and abuse their own people these days. Under this strategy, they'd have clear incentives to make noise in the international system, and cause enough trouble to be bought off - the more trouble, the higher the price. And anyway, at what point do we make the financial offer? Is it better to buy them out when they're just nasty dictators (=lots of small payments, destabilising third world polities but with confined conflicts) or when they invade other countries (=a few large payments, destabilising regions where one country has political instability).

Instead of creating financial benefits to trouble, we should make sure to enforce harsh penalties. Sticks can work better than carrots at disincentivising misconduct. Incentive issues are central to an analysis of the Iraq war, by the way - which was why Kissinger was supportive, because it was a demonstration of power by America and her allies (few that we might have been).


On another site recently I suggested that we sell Shetland back to those rich Norwegians. If we were first to offer the fine folk of Shetland asylum on the mainland, and then fill Shetland up with our underclass, it could be very good business. Put another way, do you see such transactions as implying vacant possession, or does one have to accept the sitting tenants?


Good idea. I suggest also the U.S. buying Iraqi Kurdistan. It would benefit enormously of being part of the U.S. instead of Iraq. It could be a beacond of good government and freedom for the rest of the Middle East. And buying oil is better than fighting a war for it.

Robert Schwartz

IIRC, Bush offered to let Sadam leave the country and it was rummored that he was offered exile in Lybia and in Saudi Arabia. Now he lies awake at night and rages at the underlings who squandered his money without producing WMD.

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