Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Other Side of State Capacity

One of the themes I have been pursuing the past few years has been the tradeoff between having governments that are too weak and those that are too strong.  If the government lacks the capacity to deter potential rebels, then violence will increase.  But if government is too strong and too unrestrained, then the people will have something to rebel about.  So, the core question in Iraq is not whether the army and police will exist, but whether they act more or less appropriately and not be seen as a threat to any ethnic group or as predators preying upon the society.  The NYT has a good piece today addressing exactly this issue.

Which is more disturbing?  That the ministries are corrupt and messed up so that the barracks are unlivable.  Or that there is significant fear that the Prime Minister might use his capacity as commander in chief to do a recount?  I vote for the latter, in a close race.

No comments: