August 24, 2006

Why baseball fans are more rational than foreign policy mavens

In these days during the apparent run-up to a war with Iran, foreign policy commentary appears to be largely the obsession of men with the irrational emotional instincts of baseball fans. So, why aren't they spending their time thinking about baseball rather than promoting war? It appears they are just too innumerate to be baseball fans. For example, anti-NY Yankee baseball fans rightly feared George Steinbrenner's acquisition of Bobby Abreu, which has helped spark the Yankees' surge into first place. They knew roughly how much money Steinbrenner can spend due to the Yankee's enormous market, and they knew Abreu's impressive career on-base percentage (he's one of the newer generation of Latin ballplayers who show excellent plate discipline and get a lot of walks).

In contrast, most of the Iranian fear-mongering takes place in a mental world devoid of numbers. That Iran's GDP is about 1/20th of ours, that their installed base of post-1978 aircraft and tanks is paltry, that they have virtually no offensive capability to seize territory where the local population doesn't support them, and that they have been spending a no higher percentage of that paltry sum on their military than we spend, and they probably spend a lower percentage, suggests Iran is not a major threat to conquer the Middle East. This is as if bored New York sportswriters, following, say, a collapse by the large market Boston Red Sox, got into a frenzy over the long term threat to Yankee dominance posed by the small-market Kansas City Royals. Well, it wouldn't happen on the sports pages, because baseball fans know the numbers and the pundits would get laughed at by their own readers.

Much of what we read these days about the Iran threat is is driven by boredom because of a lack of more credible challenges. The tedious truth is that the Great Game of nations is going through a dull patch of relative global peace right now because American military dominance (about 49% of the human race's military spending) is so overwhelming that there isn't too much organized slaughter going on right now by historical standards. So, a lot of foreign policy pundits are puffing up Iran as a threat to America with all the zeal and imagination that Don King brought to puffing up Chuck Wepner, a full liquor time salesman and part time boxer known as "The Bayonne Bleeder," as a threat to Muhammad Ali in their 1975 fight.

To carry on the baseball analogy, the current foreign policy punditry situation would be as if the New York sportswriters spent half their time writing not about the Yankees but about how their beloved San Francisco Giants are in danger from the San Diego Padres now that the Giants' Barry Bonds has returned to mortal human statistics, and how the Yankees ought to forfeit their own American League games so they can instead fly down to San Diego and beat the Padres for the Giants in the National League.

By the way, having somehow survived the May Day Day-Without-a-Mexican threat, Dennis Dale at Untethered Live-Blogged the August 22nd Iranian Apocalypse.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

No comments: