Political Power Always Matters More Than Making Money

By Bremner, John | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 27, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Political Power Always Matters More Than Making Money


Bremner, John, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


America's face-off with North Korea reminds us that even in the post Cold War world, the struggle for political power still matters more than the struggle for economic power.

Otherwise, the conflict would be easily resolved. Korea has far more to gain by scrapping its nuclear program and taking aid from the West than it does from building a bomb.

But Kim Il Sung doesn't even begin to see the world this way.

Not only does he feel his regime is threatened, which is bound to take priority over the mere promise of cash from abroad. He also knows that unless he keeps his country isolated, his power to direct the lives of his people may be threatened.

To be sure, if he is a dedicated Marxist, he is also fighting to preserve a regime that orders economic life according to principles he believes to be of transcendent value. Still, that's a political matter, not an economic one.

Nor is North Korea the only case. Iraq's Saddam Hussein, who risked his country and his life to keep Kuwait, was reaching for political power more than the key to prosperity.

Possession of Kuwait may have given him access to its oil fields, but Iraq had plenty of oil already. Besides, once the price of holding Kuwait became the destruction of his country, it ceased to make sense as an economic objective.

No matter, he held out to the end anyway, and accepted destruction.

Perhaps the advance of the Moslem religion was Saddam's goal - a greater Arab power dominating the Gulf, particularly if he could capture control of Saudi Arabia. Saddam then might have made the West bend politically, on Israel in particular.

But this wouldn't have made Iraq richer, just more politically powerful.

The clearest case of politics counting more than money is, of course, Palestine. An economic coalition with Israel would greatly benefit its neighbors, including the Palestinians, but they have never considered it.

Political dominion over specific pieces of land matter more - witness Ulster, Bosnia, India, Pakistan and several conflicts in Africa.

The resistance of Russia and its sister republics to opening their doors wide to Western business to develop their economies is based on the need to keep political control over their own affairs.

Never mind that Western money might solve their economic problems. What comes first is the question of who rules.

Indeed, communists continue to hold power in many of the former Soviet Republics not because they have a program, but because they are reluctant to accept democracy, which would require them to share power.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Political Power Always Matters More Than Making Money
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?