Thursday, October 23, 2003

I'm just livid about this. This piece of news really puts things into perspective. Now I can justifiably-if I lacked justification beforehand-dismiss Krugman. Here's the following from today's "Best of the Web" draw your own conclusions:

An Unraveling Mind--II
The Anti-Defamation League has sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times protesting former Enron adviser Paul Krugman's column, which we noted yesterday, blaming President Bush for the anti-Semitic remarks of Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's prime minister:

In his obsession with criticizing U.S. policy, Paul Krugman underestimates the significance of the anti-Semitic diatribe by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad before the Organization of the Islamic Conference ("Listening to Mahathir," Oct. 21).

Mahathir's comments cannot be explained away by themes of domestic politics. They come in the context of a surge of anti-Semitism in the Islamic world, and not only on the fringes. Conspiracy theories about blaming Jews for 9/11 are believed by tens of millions. Denial of the Holocaust is rampant in the media. Images of Jews in op-ed pieces, editorials, and cartoons reflect classic anti-Semitic stereotypes--drinking the blood of Muslims, all-powerful, secretive and conspiratorial.

The last time the world saw such a hateful anti-Semitic tirade by a national leader, there was a tendency to play it down as well--as only politics, as buffoonery, as a passing thing. We know how that ended up in Germany. Let's not make that mistake again.

It turns out that Enron isn't the only dubious past recipient of Krugman's advice. Blogger David Luskin notes that Krugman also is a former Mahathir adviser. In a September 1998 Fortune article, Krugman advocated controls on currency trading, a position that Mahathir's government quickly adopted. In a September 1999 article for Slate, Krugman describes going to Malaysia, where he advised Mahathir not to abuse what he said had come to be known as "the 'Krugman-Mahathir strategy' of recovery via capital controls."

Krugman made some effort to distance himself from Mahathir, opening his Slate piece as follows:

I didn't want to go to Malaysia. The Malaysian government would surely expect me to deliver a stronger endorsement of its heterodox economic program than I was prepared to offer. And, of course, it would try to use me politically--to provide a veneer of respectability to a regime that has lately developed the habit of putting inconvenient people in jail. But sometimes an economist has to do what an economist has to do.

But Krugman has not exactly been full-throated in his condemnation of Mahathir's anti-Semitmsm. Here's Luskin:

In a November 8, 1998 article for, yes, the New York Times Magazine, Krugman wrote an article that dealt with, among other things, the impact of currency speculators in precipitating economic crises of the type that rocked Malaysia in 1997-1998. Once again he writes of Mahathir's anti-Semitism--but this time, he doesn't say it's "inexcusable." He agrees with it:

"When the occasional accusation of financial conspiracy is heard--when, for example, Malaysia's Prime Minster blames his country's problems on the machinations of Jewish speculators--the reaction of most observers is skepticism, even ridicule.

"But even the paranoid have people out to get them. Little by little, over the past few years, the figure of the evil speculator has reemerged."

And who's the example of the "evil speculator" given in the very next sentence? That's right, George Soros--a Jew.

Five years later Krugman blames Mahathir's anti-Semitism on George W. Bush--who when Krugman wrote the words above had just been elected to his second term as governor of Texas.


Post a Comment

<< Home