Saturday, September 24, 2011

Little People Rule the World

Kind of depressing, but I can't disagree too much, except who's to say John McCain wouldn't have been better than our President Barack Democrat Dunderhead?

See Margaret Wente, at Toronto's Globe and Mail, "The world’s problems are so big, and our politicians are so small":
For the past 18 years, many of the world’s most powerful men and women have worked strenuously to impose peace on the Israelis and the Palestinians, who together occupy a piece of real estate that’s smaller than Nova Scotia. Yet, peace is as far away as ever. And nothing that happens at the UN is going to change that.

But it’s not just the Middle East they can’t fix. On the biggest issues of the day, our leaders seem more powerless than ever. The European Union is coming unglued. The United States is stuck in the slough of despond. Even if our leaders knew what to do, they seem incapable of doing it.

In the heroic version of history, extraordinary times produce extraordinary men. When the U.S. was on its knees, it produced FDR. When Britain was threatened by Hitler, along came Churchill. Today, great men are absent. Instead, the EU has faceless Eurocrats such as Jean-Claude Trichet, the man who runs the European Central Bank, and divided leaders who continue to insist that Greece will not default, even though everyone knows it’s just a matter of time. Back in the days of 2008, people could at least count on the central banks to get together and figure out a bailout plan. This time, that’s not going to happen.

The EU, as it turns out, has suffered from the same delusions that doomed the Mideast peace talks. The leaders thought you could change human behaviour from the top down. They thought you could make people figure out how to divide up a piece of land and get along. They thought you could make the Greeks behave like Germans because they share a currency. They ignored all the evidence. Culture matters more than policy and good intentions.

The other unpleasant fact of modern times is that some problems are too big to fix. We’re still under the illusion – relentlessly promoted by politicians – that if only we push the right policy buttons or pull the correct levers, our problems will be solved. “Mr. President, we need jobs,” one newspaper headline implored, as if Barack Obama could slide down the chimney and leave some jobs under the Christmas tree. But it’s far from clear that either the Democrats or the Republicans or even Santa Claus himself knows how to speed up job creation. What’s clear is that businesses are unlikely to create jobs so long as stock markets keep plummeting, European banks remain on the verge of failing, and political leaders appear impotent.
Keep reading for that bit on McCain.