Voice

What exactly is the Saudi quick fix? [UPDATED]

Anyone else intrigued by this BBC report

Imposing more sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme would not be a quick enough solution, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said.

Prince Saud al-Faisal said the threat posed by Iran demanded a "more immediate solution" than sanctions....

Speaking at a joint Riyadh news conference with Mrs Clinton, Prince Saud said: "Sanctions are a long-term solution. They may work, we can't judge.

"But we see the issue in the shorter term maybe because we are closer to the threat... So we need an immediate resolution rather than a gradual resolution."

While the Saudi minister did not detail his vision of a quick solution in public, it is likely that options were discussed behind closed doors in the meeting between Mrs Clinton and King Abdullah, says the BBC's Kim Ghattas, who is travelling with the top US diplomat.

Um.... beyond appeasement, what exactly are the policies that could lead to an "immediate resolution" of the Iranian nuclear program?  

Seriously, I'm stumped on this point.  All of the possible "immediate" options on the table -- Israeli airstrike, a Saudi deterrent capability -- seem equally ludicrous. 

UPDATE:  This Financial Times story by Abeer Allam appears to be an attempt at clarification:

Saudi foreign policy official told the French press agency on Tuesday that the kingdom was not advocating military action when Prince Saud said that sanctions were not a solution.

Riyadh was arguing that the Middle East peace process was a faster and more effective means to ease tensions in the region, the official said.

”There is no point in our spending all our time on sanctions which will not have an effect in the short term. We need something more tangible,” the offical told AFP.

”We don’t want a military strike ... A military strike, we still believe, will be very counterproductive,” he said. (emphasis added)

Um..... I agree that sanctions are not a quick fix, but does anyone, anywhere believe that the Middle East peace process will be faster than other policy options?  Anyone? 

Here is a quick list of things that I believe will happen more quickly than a successful Middle East peace process:

1)  Cold fusion;

2)  Bermuda wins gold medal in men's luge;

3)  Miley Cyrus nominated for Best Actress Oscar

Daniel W. Drezner

What causes Americans to distrust government?

Your humble blogger has a very long day-job to-do list the first half of this week.  Still I can't resist not linking to this John Sides post from The Monkey Cage about why there's been a decline in  in trust in government. 

There was a secular decline in trust in government that levelled off after the Vietnam War started winding down.  Since then?  It's the economy, stupid: 

What drives the trend in political trust? By and large, it is the economy. People trust government when times are good. They don’t trust it when times are bad. For the presidential election years from 1964-2008, I merged the trust measure with the change in per capita disposable income, courtesy of Douglas Hibbs. Here is the relationship between trust and the economy:

trusteconomy.png

The relationship is striking. The economy explains about 75% of the variance in trust. If you delete 1964, which looks like a potential outlier, the economy still explains 73% of the variance.

Of course the economy is not the only important factor. But it gets far less attention than it deserves when the hand-wringing begins.

I suspect it gets less attention because its a structural factor that is largely beyond the control of politicians.  It's also boring.  It's like a diet guru simply saing "eat less and exercise more" when asked what the trendy explanation is for how to lose weight. 

I wonder how generalizable the relationship is between trust and the economy.  For example, would a booming economy make Americans more likely to trust business, the academy, and other institutions?  Would it make Americans more likely to accept the evidence for global warming? 

What do you think?