1. Haiti > Cuba David Henderson, EconLog
  2. When bad government matters Chris Dillow, Stumbling & Mumbling
  3. The future of American foreign policy Ashford & Thrall, War on the Rocks
  4. Sheep without shepherds Ross Douthat, NY Times

RCH: 10 key World War I events in October

I’ve been busy in real life, so my weekend column over at RealClearHistory is a bit lightweight, but I thought some good stuff came out of it. I can definitely build off of it in future columns. An excerpt:

4. Battle of Fort Dipitie (1915). In October of 1915 the United States had managed to keep out of the tragic events going on in Europe, but Washington had still managed to find military action in its backyard, as troops had been sent to Haiti at the behest of the island nation’s dictator, Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. The Battle of Fort Dipitie was a relatively minor affair, with only one Marine being wounded and fewer than 100 people dying altogether, but the entire occupation of Haiti by the U.S. military was frowned upon by most of the American public. The occupation of Haiti inspired decorated Marine General Smedley Butler to write his classic 1935 book War is a Racket.

Please, read the rest.

Obama’s Haitian Policy

A strange symmetry of irrationality and meanness in the news about Haiti: Pat Robertson declares that God is punishing the Haitians for their sins; two days latter, Denis Glover, the activist of all Leftist causes observes that the Haiti earthquake is somehow connected to the failure of the climate conference in Copenhagen. It turns out that Gaia is just as mean as God the Father! Why bother to switch, I wonder. I have been telling you, friends, for a long time that climate warmism is a cult.

I have cool thoughts about the human catastrophe in Haiti, almost inhumane thoughts. I suspect the Haitians will end up coping better than many others would have under the same terrible circumstances. The population is so damned poor that it’s trained to do with little. I worry about water mostly because humans can’t make do without it but for a short time.

Parallel reasons lead me to predict that the 2010 earthquake will turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the survivors. Port-au-Prince and the rest of the country were so dismal that it would be impossible to restore them to their former awfulness if you tried. It’s difficult to rebuild massive quantities of housing without accompanying infrastructures, including roads, water pipes, and sewers (which are almost lacking today). I am betting, of course, that there is going to be a serious international effort to “rebuild.”

Another uncharitable thought: I will be curious to see how the population of Haiti stacks up, in energy and in entrepreneurship, with the population of New-Orleans post-Katrina. In case, you wonder, my money is on the Haitians. Continue reading

The Tragedies of Haiti

The greatest tragedy of the earthquake of 12 January 2010 in Haiti was that the devastation was caused more by human failure than the natural disaster. The earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989 was about as strong, causing the Bay Bridge to break, but killed only 63 people.

Before the Spanish came, the island of Hispaniola had been divided into chiefdoms, and the two western ones, Jaragua and Marien, became Haiti. Haiti’s first tragedy began with the arrival of the Spanish, who sickened, enslaved and killed off the native Taino Indians.

The second tragedy of Haiti was the importation of African slaves by the Spanish. French pirates and colonists cam to Haiti, The Treaty of Ryswick of 1697 split Hispaniola between Spain and France. Many more French settlers arrived and established plantations producing sugar, coffee, and indigo with slave labor.

A slave rebellion, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, fought the French government from 1791 to 1803. The liberated armies were commanded by General Toussaint L’Ouverture. The French National Assembly abolished slavery in the French colonies in 1794, but later Napoleon sent troops to regain French control. Continue reading