Jeffrey Sachs argues that neutral countries should mediate Russia and Ukraine. [ By Invitation, January 21st]. 

After his disastrous prescriptions for economic ''shock therapy'' in eastern Europe 30 years ago one would think he might want to sit this one out.

His new idea is that countries such as Brazil and South Africa should be guaranteed a peace agreement, just as rich countries were supposed to guarantee the consequences from shock therapy.

They didn't then and neutral countries won't now.

Mr. Sachs does not say how his idea could be implemented. By imposing penalties at the UN Security Council, where America, Russia and others have a veto? By military force?

It is difficult to imagine the Brazilian navy wanting to marshal blockades in the Black Sea, or the South African air force securing Crimean air space. As a result the efficacy of his argument is, once again, untestable.

Most of us will be hard pressed to think of any conflict which was resolved by the assumption that a club of decent kids can somehow intermediate in a schoolyard brawl between big tough ones.

The naivety of the suggestion recalls a joke about a stranded economist trying to get off a desert island : just assume a life raft.

The World Students Society thanks author Tim Gollin, Bergamo, Italy.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!