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LQD: Brexit as a game of Chicken

by Gag Halfrunt Fri Jan 27th, 2017 at 03:12:34 PM EST

Drawing on the negotiating theory work of economist Thomas Schelling, Tim Harford argues that Theresa May is trying to play Chicken with the EU27 to compel them to offer a free trade agreement without any freedom of movement obligations. But, Schelling wrote, "compellence" (forcing someone to do something actively) doesn't work in the same way as deterrence.

Brexit as a game of Chicken | Tim Harford

It's easy to see why both sides are behaving like this -- it's the logic of Chicken. But the eventual result may be something no sane person wants: a car crash. In May's recent speech, she set out her willingness to risk such a crash by saying she might walk away without a deal. That does make some sense: it's how you act if you want to win a game of Chicken. But there are games of Chicken that nobody wins.

That leads to a second insight from Schelling: the difference between deterrence and what he called "compellence". Deterrence dissuades action, but compellence means persuading or threatening someone so that they do act. In his 1984 book Choice and Consequence Schelling pointed out that deterrence is easier. A deterred person does nothing, so need not admit that the deterrence worked, but a compelled person must visibly acquiesce.

Unfortunately, the process specified under Article 50 leaves the UK in the awkward position of trying to achieve compellence. The default option is the car crash, a disorderly fracture with the EU. Anything else requires all 28 countries involved to take prompt constructive action. May and her chancellor Philip Hammond have made some (faintly) threatening noises about how the EU should play along, but such threats can only work if they compel an energetic and active response. That's far from certain -- compellence is hard.
(via BoingBoing)

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Britain expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai passport row

by Gag Halfrunt Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 at 03:56:36 PM EST

BBC News:

The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over 12 forged British passports used in the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the Commons there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for the passport "misuse".

He said: "The government takes this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable."

Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, said he was "disappointed".


Is this a serious worsening of UK-Israel relations or just the British government making a gesture of displeasure for public consumption?

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Debunking Eurabia

by Gag Halfrunt Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 02:35:43 AM EST

In the Financial Times, Simon Kuper reviews and debunks four books about the nefarious Islamofascist conspiracy to take over Europe, including the one that started the whole business, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or. He begins by comparing the Eurabia meme to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

Diary rescue by Migeru

Read more... (28 comments, 525 words in story)

Divide and conquer

by Gag Halfrunt Thu Oct 18th, 2007 at 10:28:10 AM EST

Today's Guardian has a profile of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, prime minister of Poland, and his twin brother Lech, the president.

They are two men who appear to operate as one, and their central mission since coming to power - the president in 2005 and the prime minister 15 months ago - has been to restore Polish pride, and to get the world to sit up and take notice of their country. They have done this by driving through their own version of social cleansing, after years of what they see as moral decline, and by turning Germany into a bogeyman and ramping up Poland's fractious relationship with Russia. They have indeed been getting their country noticed, but whether it is for the right reasons is another question.

Read more... (2 comments, 302 words in story)

5 Myths About Sick Old Europe

by Gag Halfrunt Sun Oct 7th, 2007 at 11:55:00 AM EST

Steve Hill wants the Washington Post's readers to know that Europe is not, in fact, a collapsing socialist hellhole.

In the global economy, today's winners can become tomorrow's losers in a twinkling, and vice versa. Not so long ago, American pundits and economic analysts were snidely touting U.S. economic superiority to the "sick old man" of Europe. What a difference a few months can make. Today, with the stock market jittery over Iraq, the mortgage crisis, huge budget and trade deficits, and declining growth in productivity, investors are wringing their hands about the U.S. economy. Meanwhile, analysts point to the roaring economies of China and India as the only bright spots on the global horizon.

But what about Europe? You may be surprised to learn how our estranged transatlantic partner has been faring during these roller-coaster times -- and how successfully it has been knocking down the Europessimist myths about it.


Via Atrios, who comments:

This article provides a useful corrective to the myths of Yurpean economic disaster.

But aside from simple economics, most conservative commentators write about a fantasy place which does not even exist. You can't call what they do caricature because the have no comprehension of the place they're pretending to describe.

Mebbe a few of them should actually get a passport.


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