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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
More Niall Ferguson
Harvey Blume interviewed the Glasgow-born Harvard historian Niall Ferguson for Sunday's Ideas section, an interview that stirred aome argument online. Daniel Drezner took issue with Ferguson's thought-provoking characterization of Osama bin Laden's worldview as "Lenin plus the Koran," and wanted hard data to back up the assertion that in Europe the appeal of radical Islamism extends beyond Muslim communities.
Ferguson also published an opinion piece Sunday in the Telegraph. He is just as vociferous there, slamming Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speeches before the UN. ("Chavez is just a clown.") Ferguson spends the op-ed scratching his head over the current disconnect he sees between economics and politics. Given Chavez's and Ahmadinejad's views and their economic clout (read: oil), given a coup in Thailand, given the rioting in Budapest, how is it that the world's markets aren't scrambling for cover? Ferguson believes monetary expansion is "encouraging a rather cavalier approach to risk management." He doesn't speculate about the consequences, but the implication of his argument is troubling: investors are seeing security where there isn't any.