Friday, September 05, 2014

Mitt Romney On The Disruption Of Trade Routes

Mitt Romney has an opinion column in the Washington Post, in which he advocates for a stong US military force, in part because:
The history of the 20th century teaches that power-hungry tyrants ultimately feast on the appeasers — to use former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s phrase, we would be paying the cannibals to eat us last. And in the meantime, our economy would be devastated by the disruption of trade routes, the turmoil in global markets and the tumult of conflict across the world.
Funny that disrupting trade routes is a point I hardly ever see, but it has been an issue ever since the Muslims cut off European trade routes to the East, leading to Europeans exploring both the west coast of Africa to find a new route to the Indies, and Columbus searching for new routes by sailing west. The Soviets targeted specific places for revolution, like South Africa because it controlled the trade and naval route around the Horn of Africa, and Kenya and others which could close the Suez Canal route and the Persian Gulf.

The great farm houses designed by Andrea Palladio in the 16th century were built for Venetian merchants who saw their trade routes through Turkey about to be cut off, so they bought swamp land, drained it, and replaced their trading income with agricultural income. The rise of European power and agriculture in Malta and later in the West Indies and Brazil were a direct response to the Muslim conquest of the Middle East, where Europeans had had huge sugar plantations.

Funny how disrupting trade routes can have world wide effects which last for centuries.

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