Sunday, February 13, 2011

Contagions and dominos

"Contagion effect" and "domino effect" are being used interchangeably (I can put in a million links but just do a quick Google search to see what I mean) to describe the current spread of popular revolt in the Middle East, but I would argue it is useful to view them as distinct, albeit clearly similar.  What's occurring in the Middle East is contagion, not domino.

The term "domino effect" was coined by Dwight Eisenhower to describe the drive to spread communist governments around the world, and was central to U.S. policy toward Latin America during the Cold War.  They key here is the aspect of coordination, or at least leadership.  Marxist leaders wanted to spread revolutions to other countries (e.g. Che Guevara's Message to the Tricontinental about multiple Vietnams) and so provided arms, training, doctrine, rhetorical support, etc. to rebel leaders elsewhere.  In Latin America particularly after the 1954 Guatemala invasion, U.S. policy makers tended to view everything as a domino even if there was little or no outside support.  Indeed, it can be even more confusing when movements were both home grown and then also supported from abroad.

"Contagion effect" refers to more spontaneous copying of successful political movements (such as uprisings).  Success in one country provides opposition leaders in others with more confidence that they could do the same.  Currently in the Middle East there is no direct coordination (that I have heard of, anyway) between, say, Tunisia and Egypt, but clearly the former had a huge impact on the latter.  And the example of Egypt is now very influential.


Slave Revolt,  1:35 AM  

The US as empire is really concerned with successful, independent development, and the possibility that small countries can work together for mutual benefit outside of it's parasitical, mafioso control.

The formal theories promoted are simply so that the intellectual, managerial stooges can dress up the terror and aggression for domestic consumption. There has to be a rationale that will compell the lower sectors of society to send their children into the pulverizing gears of the perpetual war machine.

This eliminates some of the population, while it allows a huge percentage of the nations wealth to be plowed back into the coffers of the ruling elites.

Cut domestic programs and social security--but leave the bloated military budgets untouched, with only minor reductions in times when austerity becomes the medicine imposed on the working classes, and those who can no longer generate profits for the ruling elites.

Don't take the high-minded proclamations about democracy and freedom seriously, Greg.

Look at what they do--compare it with what they say.

With state downsizing, your kids could be future victims of this scam. Don't fool yourself.

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