How Cooperation Works

In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies,” by Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Samuel Bowles, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis, and Richard McElreath, American Economic Review, Vol. 91, No. 2, ,May 2001, pp. 73-78,

‘Machiavellian’ Intelligence as a Basis for the Evolution of Cooperative Dispositions,” by John Orbell, Tomonori Morikawa, Jason Hartwig, James Hanley, Nichlar Allen, American Political Science Review, Vol. 98 No. 1, February 2004,

Machiavellian Intelligence and the Evolution of Cooperation,” by John Orbell, Tomonori Morikawa, Jason Hartwig, James Hanley, Nichlar Allen,

Empathetic Neural Responses are Modulated by the Perceived Fairness of Others,” by Tania Singer, Ben Seymour, John O’Doherty, Klaas Stephan, Raymond Dolan, and Chris Frith, Nature, Vol. 439 No. 26, January 2006,

Three journal articles today, all focusing on cooperation. The most interesting is Orbell et al’s, where they ran a computer simulation with attributes of mind-reading and deceitfulness. They found a sudden increase in social cooperation as a result of a small increase in mind-reading ability: talk about a group-selection rule-set reset!

The Sudden Evolution of Cooperation

Further down, Singer et al demonstrates a mechanism to force honesty: empathy. The flip-side of everyday honest if justice, of course, and Singer finds that men enjoy justice more than women. In other words, men are competitive-cooperative. Last, Henrich et al attack the idea of profit-maximizing Economic Man and show that homo sapiens rationally relies on analogies, instead. The authors also have an interesting discussion of gift societies.

The notes themselves are below the fold.

“The incentives they confront must, somehow, be changed so that cooperation rater than defection offers the greater return. We now understand that this does not necessarily imply a centralized Hobbesian Leviathan, and decentralized mechanisms might be sufficient — for example, by the existence of “altruistic punishment (Boyd et al. 2003).” (Orbell et al 1)

“Although still hotly disputed (Reeve 2000), group selection’s capacity to promote cooperative dispositions requires that a group’s survival prospects be increased by members’ cooperative choices, with the cooperator’s fitness gains from the group’s success being greater than the fitness cost that individuals incur as a result fo their cooperative choices.” (Orbell et al 2)

“Our particular interest is in the cognitive mechanisms fundamental to the “Machiavellian intelligence” (Byrne and Whiten 1988; Whiten and Byrne 1997) hypothesis. In its broadest terms, this proposes that group living selects strongly for whatever cognitive capacities facilitate an individual’s successful negotiation of the competitive and highly complex social environment of the group.” (Orbell et al 2)

“Employing the terms introduced by Dawkins and Krebs (1978), the two fundamental “Machiavellian” capacities are (1) Sender’s capacity to persuade another group member to accept as true what it is Sender’s interest to have it believe is true — viz, manipulation — and (2) Receiver’s capacity to penetrate o the truth underlying messages from potentially manipulative others — viz, misreading.” (Orbell et al 3)

“Quite possibly, no two individuals will ever reach enough PC [Probability of Cooperating] to be seen as attractive partners to each other. In fact, as we have pointed out, transitions failed in nine of the 90 simulation runs we conducted.” (Orbell et al 11)

“This analysis suggests: Natural selection will “discover” levels of cooperative dispositions that are simultaneously high enough to ensure that prospective partners assess the expected value of entering PD [prisoner’s dilemma] games as greater than ALT [non-PD courses of action], but low enough to maximize the possibility of exploiting partners should a PD game be joined.” (Orbell et al 11)

“Rationality in action [means] individuals choose so as to maximize their private welfare — under a variety of constraints, most importantly, on information.” (Orbell et al 14)

“Rationality in Design [means] the adaptive fit between some designed apparatus and the environmental problems that apparatus is intended to solve — an idea usefully captured within an evolutionary context by Tooby and Cosmides’ (1992) metaphor of an appropriately designed key being one that opens a particular lock.” (Orbell et al 14)

“Nevertheless, our model does provide a basis for hypothesizing that sociality itself — a willingness to enter PD-type games coupled with a strong disposition to play such games in a cooperative manner — evolved to its highest levels when there were only marginal gains to be had from jointly cooperative actions in comparison with ‘going it alone.” (Orbell et al 14-15)

Another article was recently described by a grad student blogger, meaning I have competition in the world of bringing evolutionary psychology online…

“The perception-action model of empathy states that the observation or imagination of another person in a particular emotional state automatically activates a representation of that state in the observer.” (Singer et al 466).

“This analysis revealed that less empathic activity was elicited by the knowledge that an unfair player was in pain. However, there was also a marked difference between the sexes. In women, this reduction in activity was very small, whereas in men the knowledge that an unfair player was in receipt of pain elicited no increase in empathic activity in FI. And indeed, formal analysis revealed no significant difference for women when comparing painful trials for fair versus unfair players in empathy-related pain regions. However, men showed significantly enhanced activation in bilateral FI when observing fair compared with unfair players in pain (Supplementary tables 8 and 11)” (Singer et al 467)

“Figure 3c shows that men expressed a stronger desire for revenge than women (t(30) = 2.40, P < 0.05; Supplementary Fig. 3). As illustrated in Fig. 3d, regression analysis confirmed that men, but not women, who expressed a stronger desire for revenge showed a greater activation in nucleus accumbens when they perceived an unfair player receiving painful stimuli than when they perceived a fair player in pain (Supplementary Fig. 4).” (Singer et al 467)

“Our results suggest a neural foundation for theories of social preferences. These theories suggest athat people value the gains of others positively if they are perceived to behave fairly, but value others’ gains negatively if they behave unfairly.” (Singer et al 468)

The last article mirrors a recent report in The Economist

“In experiments with university subjects, offers are generally consistent with income-maximization, given the distribution of rejections. In our sample, however, in the majority of groups the modal behavior of the proposers is not consistent with the expected income-maximization.” (Henrich et al 75)

“The large variations across the different cultural groups suggest that preferences of expectations are affected by group-specific conditions, such as social institutions or cultural-fairness norms.” (Henrich et al 75)

“A plausible interpretation of our subjects’ behaviors is that, when faced with a novel situation (the experiment), they looked for analogues in their daily experience, asking ‘What familiar situation is this game like?’ and then acted in a way appropriate for the analogous situation.” (Henrich et al 75)

“We suspect that a proximate reason for these behaviors is that situations cue emotional responses which induce the behaviors we have measured. For example, many ultimatum-game responders from advanced societies, when facing a low offer, experience an emotional impulse to hurt the proposer for being unfair, just as the subject might in a real-life bargaining situation. Similarly, the New Guinea responders who rejected hyper-fair offers in the UG may have experienced the same anxiety that emerges when somebody gives them an unsolicited gift in everyday life.” (Henrich et al 77)

A Zionist’s Apology to Enraged Muslims

This may be the bravest post I have ever written

Ania Mendelshtam

After profiling the work of Amir Normandi, a photographer and a blogger, I received some constructive feedback:

fuck you all you fucking bastard on this website.. you want to spoil the reputation of islam by hiring those shit face girls……. your the shit and the most fucking and idiot assholes

and, also kindly

israel fuck you bastared

Clearly, some readers are concerned with subtle anti-Islamic messages in visual representations of Muslim women. Perhaps the reason thousands of Muslims throughout the Gap riot, kill, and leave hurtful comments is a rational, universal, human reaction to cartoons and such. Adam of The Metropolis Times and I responded to the Muhammed cartoon controversy by running holocaust cartoons. (Strangely, no Jews threatened to kill either of us, but presumably the Isaacian horde is approaching as we speak.) We try always to be fair.

Now I see that this was not sufficient, and photos of beautiful Muslim girls must be balanced by exploitative imagery of Jews, Israelis, and Zionists.

With a heavy heart, and expecting a IDF air strike at any moment, I accept this heavy burden.

I thank the somber folks at Jewlicious for pointing me to a fine example of Yisraeli carnal reparations, The Israeli Celebrity Source.

Katy Borinski

A New Middle East, Part III: Israel

The question is which is preferable… 2000

Israel Surrounded by Arab National-Seularist Regimes

or now

Rollback of Arab National-Secularism

The first map, the world as it was before George Bush and Ariel Sharon, shows an Israel surrounded by Arab National-Secularist regimes: Yasser Arafat’s Fatah-led PLO in the east, and two states controlled by the Baath party, Lebanon and Syria. The situation gets even worse down south, as another Arab National-Secularist regime, Egypt, borders Israel on the Sinai. The only half-way normal neighbor Israel had was the tribalist Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Arab National-Secularism was one of the worst products of the twentieth century, the intellectual offshoot of German National-Socialism and an ideology may have done less harm if it ruled for a few bloody years (as the NSDAP did in Germany) whether than perverting generations of minds.

If Arab National-Secularism merely left lifeless, frozen states in its midst, fine. But National-Secularism has done worse than freezing the cultures of the states it takes over, but it begins destroying the culture. Arab National-Secularism, by taking away the traditional meaning of life while not replacing it with economic growth, leaves behind a murderous rage. In states like Egypt and Syria it has so-far been contained by massacres and political repression. In countries where it can break free, such as Iraq and Lebanon, the consequence is state failure and civil war.

Israel’s greatest enemy has been the National-Secularism and, because of its wise actions, Israel is in the final phases of destroying Arab National-Secularism as a political force.

The recent Israel War in Lebanon did not succeed in destroying Hezbollah as a fighting force — it failed as a war in the context of war — but it succeeded in further rolling back the Arab National-Secularist block that has been Israel’s main enemy. The War in Lebanon succeeded as a War in the Context of Everything Else<. In the context of war, Isarel’s failure to disarm Hezbollah makes Hizbullah stronger. In the context of everything else, Israel’s failure to disarm Hezbollah weakens Syria (which was forced to stay out of the fight due to fear of Israeli retaliation and Muslim Brother reaction).

Lebanon is now even further away from Syria’s sphere of influence than before the Hezbollah War. All actors see yet another failure by an Arab National-Secularist government, and another success by a Shia Theocratic government.

Lebanon will now be contested between the country’s indigenous, globally-oriented, Catholic-Sunni majority, and a smaller but well armed Shia minority. It is important that whatever country leads the SysAdmin effort in that country, be if France, Italy, or someone else, that the Catholic-Sunni majority’s interests are favored. Yet it is a mistake to believe that just because Hezbollah won the war Israel must lose the peace. On the contrary, by further weakening its primary 4GW adversary, Israel is closer to “peace” than ever.

A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer

Foreign Prostitution in the Nation’s Capital?

“Sauna, body shampoo, table shower, body scrape, massage, private room” on top, followed by “New Management, “Spa 14K: We have really different choices,” “We take credit card.”

In a recent series of threads over at The Korea Liberator

James Na, Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Discovery Institute, and I have been discussing emerging global workplace policing trends, from FBI raids on a DC brothel to minuteman raiding of construction sites to the vagaries of educational visa travel enforcement. Eddie especially, who agreed with me on the legalization of prostitution and drugs, may be interested.

A New Middle East, Part II: Iran

First, a worse-case scenario:

Iran’s Maximal Objective

The above map shows the maximum extent of primary influence that is within Teheran’s grasp. The best way to explain this map is to compare it to the map of actual influence directly before the Iraq War

Iran’s Influence, 2003

Syria, while ruled by a national-secularist regime, is a client state of Iran when it comes to foreign policy. At the time of the Iraq War Lebanon was ruled as a colony by Syria, and so is also included. The origin of the Damascus-Tehran axis comes from both geopolitical necessity (Iraq was ruled by the territorially expansive Saddam Hussein) and natural sympathy (Syria, while mostly Sunni, is ruled by the quasi-Shia quasi-Muslim Alawite sect).

The Iraq War changed the region by throwing Iraq, a mostly Shia country, to Iran’s influence. Despite American attempts to contest Iraq, the natural sympathies of the Iraqi Shia combined with the violent nihilism of the country’s Sunni Arab population all but assure an orientation toward Tehran and Qom. A natural consequence of the liberation of Iraq is Shia assertiveness in East Arabia. East Arabia, the oil producing region of Saudi Arabia, is populated by Shia who suffer under the Riyadh-Wahhabi yoke. Iranian instigation of the local population, as seen in the recent “pro-Hezbollah” (actually, pro-Iran) rally, may blackmail the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia away form American influence and to a subject’s embrace of the Shia hegemon.

Yet, happily, merely be supporting the Bush doctrine for democracy we are able to address the honest aspiration of Shia while preventing such overpowering, regional country. As I already wrote, we should

Such a change would reorder the Middle East on democratic lines, allow Shia, religious Sunnis, tribal Sunnis, and global elements to live in a rational balance of power

A Democratic Middle East

Even the “Big Iran” scenario of the first map is a major improvement from the Arab National-Secularist sewer that existed before President Bush. But a democratic, rational Middle East still lays before us.

A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer

Purposeful Practice and Expertise

The Expert Mind,” by Philip Ross, Scientific American, 24 July 2006, (from Slashdot).

The Schizophrenic Symptom of Flat Affect,” by Michael Crawford, kuro5hin, 17 August 2006,

With Hugh MacLeod, Mark Safranski, and Francis Younghusband blogging on how to be creativity, two articles (one in a prestigious magazine, the other a quirky blog) that give a big hint: practice!

From a researcher at Scientific American, writing on chess:

The one thing that all expertise theorists agree on is that it takes enormous effort to build these structures in the mind. Simon coined a psychological law of his own, the 10-year rule, which states that it takes approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field. Even child prodigies, such as Gauss in mathematics, Mozart in music and Bobby Fischer in chess, must have made an equivalent effort, perhaps by starting earlier and working harder than others.

And a suffer of schizo-affective disorder, writing on getting a date and learning how to smile:

What made the difference? Practice: one can learn to express emotion through conscious effort. With enough conscious practice, affective expression can become unconscious and natural. However, even after all these years I usually seem stoic and unemotional. That is, except when I play music or write, or am incredibly overcome.

My therapist warned that it was likely to take some time to reach my goal, but she asked me to regard every attempt to attract a woman as practice towards gaining the skills I needed to succeed someday. And friends, that’s what I did: during some sessions she assigned me the task of chatting up a strange girl, and at the next we would discuss my experience, as well as how I could do better next time.

Of course, readers of tdaxp know this already:


(The adaptive trait of learned helplessness lets humans practice more in some areas than others, allowing highly productive experts to network each other and out-compete groups of generalists. Such intricate self-organization is a feature of complex adaptive systems, such as the market economy. This increasingly social, networked style of man may be way the human brain begin shrinking about 15 thousand years ago.)

Netroots on Insurgency

Flies vs. Hammers: How Asymmetric Warfare Works,” by Pericles, Daily Kos, 31 July 2006, (from Daily Kos).

An exceptionally (and I mean in the “Deviating widely from a norm” sense) good article on Kos on asymmetric warfare. Some excerpts:

In a successful insurgency, warriors are only the tip of a large iceberg. Even though the number of active warriors may be small, a much larger segment of the population is at some earlier stage of recruitment. Some sympathize with the insurgents silently; they know who the warriors are, but chose not to tell the occupiers. Some help in small ways, by delivering messages, holding money, or even hiding weapons. Some harbor warriors and help them hide from the occupiers. Some will not fight, but will act as look-outs and report the movements of occupying troops. A successful insurgency is always losing warriors (sometimes by intentional suicide attacks), but the pipeline of recruitment is full of people moving to ever greater levels of commitment.

All effective anti-insurgent strategies involve drying up the supply of recruits by isolating the insurgents from the larger population.

In order to disrupt that supply, the occupier need not be loved. It need only convince the population that ending the occupation is not worth dying for.

Think about it: Suppose the insurgents sat on their hands for a year while they waited for us to withdraw. Iraq, in other words, gets a year of peaceful governance and reconstruction. Roads and power plants are built. Businesses are started. Pipelines transport oil without interruption while tens of billions of petrodollars flow into the country. People rebuild their homes, get jobs, enroll their children in school. And most of all, old wounds recede ever farther into the past.

What happens to the insurgent recruitment pipeline during that year? It collapses. In the course of that year, many people who thought they were willing to die would realize they had something to live for. No insurgent leader could allow it.

Read the whole thing. (The companion article on asymmetric politics is good, too. Of course, it cribs tdaxp…)

Love and Loss, but the greatest of these is Love

The week, Saturday to Saturday, my grandfather died would have been the most meaningful of my life even if he had been perfectly healthy throughout.

His death overshadowed what happened that week. But the story is still important, and I will tell it here without identifying anyone but myself. I was extremely well treated by everyone. In a way it was extremely pleasant, because everyone gave me every courtesy. I admire and respect every soul I dealt with. (I have these compliments because I do not want this to be misconstrued as in any way negative. A serious choice had to be made, but it could not have been made with the help of nicer people in a better cause. To anyone involved who may be reading this: thank you)

I applied for a position at a company I admire a lot. My interactions with the firm in the past had been extremely positive. I enjoy being with people smarter and cleverer than I am, and this firm was one of those places. It is one of those places.

I submitted my resume and a portfolio of my work. Some of my friends helped me arranging the portfolio’s presentation, and I am incredibly grateful for their work. In every way they improved by original concept. In friends as well as employers, I strive to be around people better than I am.

My resume and portfolio must have been well received, because I was quickly schedule for an interview. The interviewer, like everyone else at the company, was enthusiastic, helpful, and knowledgeable. The interview went well and concrete future details were discussed. I was asked for any concerns, and I noted that my grandfather was in unstable condition and I would not want to be away from him during his last days. (He would die that week.) Additionally, for very understandable reasons, a careful background check would be required. So I was asked if there was anything embarrassing that it would turn up… was I ever arrested? Convicted? An agent of a foreign government?

“No,” I truthfully responded, “but there is one thing that you deserve to know. I am in a serious, long-term relationship with a foreign national.” I was referring to Lady of tdaxp, a resident of Beijing and (through an academic scholarship) a Communist partisan

Two days later I was called at home and told that this would be a problem. The current relationship was not, but an ongoing one would be. Outside of renunciation of citizenship (a step that would not be practical until she was eligible for American citizenship), such a continuing association would likely be a fatal problem in the background check.

The reason that the check was required, and its strictness, are perfectly understandable. And it was hardly unexpected — I recognized early that falling in love with a Beijing Communist would lead to complications. For my grandfather, marrying a Missouri Lutheran meant having in-laws who believed you were a heretic who could not even say grace with. I am fortunate in that I’ve faced no ill will (anywhere outside of Badaling) because of the race or nature of my girl. Just this honest complication: an upfront notification of security and procedures by a helpful, truthful employee of a great and careful company.

It was a Choice, an inflection point in Life. Before me were two exclusive paths. One led to a wonderful, admired company with smart, hard-working co-workers. The other to my love.

No one was at fault. No one was being unfair. It was as close to an abstract question as one can get in this concrete world.

So I chose love, and I recognize that similar companies will probably have the same requirements. Is it a loss? Well… it’s a cost. Any investment, any activity, any gain has a cost. The question should be: is it worth it? And that answer’s easy.

A million times over.

Are Americans Hyperactive Neanderthals?

United States of Cavemania

During my recent journey across America (well, Indiana, Texas, and a few short stops) I read some journal articles for my class on genetic politics. I have already read three texts for that class, so it was an interesting change of pace.

Behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology, two scientific disciplines with related but separate views on Human Nature, are controversial. And by “controversial” I mean “detested by the Left.” While BG and EP have different assumptions and often draw different conclusions, the Leftist belief of omni cultura ex cultura denies any genetic link to behaviors. When feminists attacked Harvard President Larry Summers for saying the sexes may think differently and apologized for it, we saw a once-great American university bow to Leftist pressure to bury genetic research.

This genetic politics post focuses on one surprising hypothesis generated by Behavioral Genetics (if not Evolutionary Psychology): that Americans may be more “Neanderthal” than other peoples. Specifically, an odd mutation linked to a form of ADD is prevalent among both whites and american indians. No “missing links” between this mutation and the standard genetic sequences are known. Either every single one has died out in the human population — or this mutation did not come from a human population.

Notes from a journal article and a commentary are extracted below.

In Our Genes,” by Henry Harpeding and Gregory Cochran, PNAS, 8 January 2002,

Evidence of positive selection acting at the human dopamine receptor D4 gene locus,” by Yuan-Cun Ding et al, PNAS, 8 January 2002,

“Associations have been reported of the seven-repeat (7R) allele of the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene with both attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and the personality treat of novelty seeking.” (Ding et al 309)

“calculations of the allele age based on the relatively high worldwide population frequency of the DRD4 4R and 7R alleles suggest that these alleles are ancient (>300,000 years old. refs. 25 and 26; see Methods). On the other hand, calculations of the allele age based on the observed intraallelic variability (refs. 26 and 26, see Methods) suggest that the 7R allele is 5-10 fold “younger” (30,000-50,000 years old). Such a large discrepancies between allele ages calculated by these two methods usually are taken as evidnece that selection has increased the frequency of the allele to higher levels than expected by random genetic drift (26).” (Ding et al 313)

“It is difficult ot imagine what type of bottleneck could produce such results, i.e., strong worldwide LD for a single allele (DRD47R), yet little LD for the remaining alleles. A model that is consistent with the observed results is the “weak Garden of Eden” hypothesis (24), in which the DRD4 allele would be hypothesized to be ancient and present in indigenous populations, whereas the 7R allele was spread by expansion out of (and into) Africa.” (Ding et al 313)

“Given the highly unlikely recombination/mutation events required to generate the 7R allele from the 4R allele, a possibility worth considering is that importation of this allele from a closely related hominid lineage. What lineage that may be can only be speculated, but Neanderthal populations were present at the approximate time the 7R allele originated. Under this model, the coalescence time for the 4R and 7R alleles then would be ancient, with the importation occurring only recently, as measured by LD. Obviously, additional experimental work may clarify these speculations.” (Ding et al 313-314)

“It is possible also to speculate, however, that the very traits that may be selected for in individuals possessing a DRD4 7R allele may predispose behaviors that are deemed inappropriate in the typical classroom setting and hence diagnosed as ADHD.” (Ding et al 314)

“The D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4) locus may be a model system for understanding the relationship between genetic variation and human cultural diversity.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“[Ding et al] showed that the allele associated with ADHD has increased a lot in frequency within the last few thousand to tens of thousands of years.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“This curious pattern, an allele that has been in the population for a very long time at a very low frequency, suggests that some kind of balancing selection has been maintaining 7R, but preventing it from becoming common until recently. An alternative is that 7R was incorporated form another hominid species during the expansion of modern humans.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“It is entirely possible that some psychological traits are adaptive yet, because they are irritating or undesirable, are called mental illness.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“Even if 40 or 50 thousand years were too short a time for the evolutionary development of a truly new and highly complex mental adaption, which is by no means certain, it is certainly long enough for some groups to lose such an adaption, for some groups to develop a highly exaggerated version of an adaption, or for changes int eh triggers or timing of that adaption to evolve.” (Harpending and Cochran 10-11)

“These selective forces must not be the same in all populations, because the 7R allele is quite common in some populations (South American Indians), exists at intermediate frequencies in others (Europeans and Africans), and is rare or non-existant in yet others (East Asia, !Kung Bushmen) (2).” (Harpending and Cochran 11)

“Because the prominent phonotypica effects of 7R are in males, we need to ask what is the niche in human socities for males who are energetic, impulsive (i.e. unpredictable) and noncompliant?)” (Harpending and Cochran 11)

“Boserupt (16) calls these ‘female farming systems,’ a euphemism for societies where men live off women. Freed from domestic responsibility, men can occupty their time decorating themselves and planning the next raid.” (Harpending and Cochran 11-12)

“There is an unsettling parallel with the dad males of the working class in contemporary industrial societies and the cad males of the underclass (17).” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

“One study found that a simple of difficult infants survived a drought at a higher rate than easy infants (18).” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

“It is probably no accident that two of the best known ethnographies of the twentieth century are titled ‘The Harmless People’ about the !Kung who have few or no 7R alleles, and “The Fierce People,” about the Yanomamo with a high frequency of 7R.” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

A New Middle East, Part I: Our Vanquished Enemies

The Big Bang spreads . . . the rough way,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 7 October 2005, (from tdaxp).

President’s Radio Address,” by George Bush, White House Radio, 19 August 2006,

As George Bush assumed power in January 2001, the Middle East was in a dire state. The al-Qaeda backed Taliban government ruled Afghanistan, while the noxious rule of the Arab Nationalist-Secularist governments (some in uneasy league with America, others opposed) ruled Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria. If al Qaeda was a rapist, doing damage quickly and violently, the Nationalist-Secularists were parents with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. While al Qaeda was more mindlessly violent, the National-Secularists had been disastrous for their states, rolling back the traditional governments and traditional societies that once existed in those lands. The National-Secularists, from the Ba’ath, to Fatah, to the rest, were politically and intellectually bankrupt.

Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Black = al Qaeda, Blue = Globalist

Since then the situation has changed for the better. In three states the National-Secularists have been driven out: by the US military in Iraq, by the people in Palestine, and by a combination of internal factions and external pressure in Lebanon. And Afghanistan, of course, was liberated in Operational Enduring Freedom.

Red = National-Secularist, Green = Shia, Yellow = Tribal, Blue-Geen = Contested between Iran and Globalist, Blue = Globalist, Purple = Muslim Brothers

That these places are unstable is not proof that Bush’s plan is failing, but that it is working. As the President recently said

It is no coincidence that two nations that are building free societies in the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon and Iraq, are also the scenes of the most violent terrorist activity.

The same is true, of course, when Palestine, where the Muslim Brother’s local branch, Hamas, is squeezed between a justly hostile Israeli and unjustly hostile National-Secularist dead-enders.

If we are to judge the Global War on Terrorism by the standards of Thomas Barnett:

In the end, what will have to change for all this violence in the Middle East to stop is not our withdrawal, but political reform in the region. Keeping this fight suppressed, or having it exported to our shores like it was on 9/11 is certainly a safer route for the local authoritarian regimes. Then again, I think 9/11 put us past caring about those regimes’ stability like we used to.

Bush basically runs a race with Osama: who can destabilize the region’s regimes first? Both sides want change, but only one wants to replace the current autocracies with a religious dictatorship. What Bush wants solves the problem. What Osama wants merely extends it.

Then we are clearly winning this Long War. We destabilized Afghanistan, throwing al Qaeda out of their only State. We destabilized National-Secularist Iraq, and now contend with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State. We destabilize National-Secularist Lebanon, and now content with Iran (not al Qaeda) in seeing which of us has the most influence in that State.

In this New Middle East we are building, we will have to be careful. We will have to deal wisely with the new regional indigenous hegemon, Iran. But we will not have to fear al Qaeda or the National-Secularists. They will be killed. That is why we can leave Iraq now.

A New Middle East, a tdaxp series
A New Middle East 1: Our Vanquished Enemies
A New Middle East 2: Iran
A New Middle East 3: Israel
A New Middle East 4: Islam is the Answer