Haven’t they been funding Hamas for years anyway? What’s new?[/quote]
Legitimacy. After the election, it’s now a democratically-elected government. That’s a whole other ball game.
Scope: in addition to bomb-making workshops, Hamas has been running charities, schools and hospitals for years. They didn’t win that election on resentment alone. Iran (along with others, including Israel) helped fund that. Now they have the chance to fund the skeletal civil service, and people are going to remember where their bread came from. It may not make a difference–didn’t make you folks any more popular in Gaza–but it’s a leg up.
Should I invest in Giant bikes?
Watch natural gas. We’re in the beginning stages of the nat gas boom. Canada should do well. Brazil uses 50 enthenol from sugar. Watch sugar prices.
Really though, making the Saudis poorer will only inflame the situation. Who do you think the rulers will blame? Uhm, America?[/quote]
Yes! You should invest in Giant bikes, you tubby so-and-so. At least one. Come on, get off your duff and come out for a ride.
Yeah, natural gas looks ready to explode. As things heat up, there’s going to be far, far, far more released from the tundra than we could ever capture… (after which the market in home heating fuel is likely to disappear). But producing fuel from edible crops, and plowing up more land to produce more crops for fuel is d-u-m-m, dumb on such a scale that one of the four horsemen ought to be named “John Deere”.
Will making the Saudis poorer make things worse? Better question is whether or not turning off the oil will make the Saudis poorer. Short and medium term, almost certainly. Long term, running out is probably the best thing that could happen for the Saudi people (screw the rulers). Bahrain ran out of oil and has had to shift it’s economy. The UAE is looking down the road to the end of oil revenues and investing like mad in alternative income sources, to a very, very good effect. The shitty thing about oil is that it generates virtually no capital. You stick a pipe in the ground, out comes the oil, run it through a few filters and distillations, pipe it to your port and it’s gone, leaving behind a few wheelbarrows full of cash and essentially no significant spin-off industries. More labour and capital intensive industries–like steel–create all sort of linkages and positive spin-offs–like the E.U. As it is, without programs to develop other industries, they aren’t developed, and there’s no positive linkages. Hell, the Arabs are constantly stabbing one another in the back because they don’t need one another, would be better off without one another, and only co-operate on oil so as to have the chance to be the first to undercut the others after driving up the price.
Lose the oil, and what industries does Saudi Arabia have left, a yearly influx of pilgrim tourists? What resources? There’s plenty of sand lying around for glass blowing, I suppose. They’d have to develop their human capital, which means services, outside linkages, an end to (or constraints on) xenophobia… oh, and they’d have to start leveling taxes. Which means pissed off tax-payers, therefore representation, therefore democracy, happier people, less resentment, and Osama bin Laden spinning in a grave he doesn’t deserve.
*I only know/ believe that because I argued to the contrary in a seminar on whether or not the Arabs could recreate something like the EU and had my ass handed to me.