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Guest Thinkers

A Longer Vision

We seem to have fallen into a pattern here: Greg provides the judicious review of breaking events, and I am the bearded wierdo on the corner yelling “Doom! Doom!”. If you knew us you’d know this summation is: fairly accurate.

But we’ll start with some good news. Over 80% of the wheat supplies donated by the United Arab Emirates has already been distributed in Yemen. And, as Deputy General Manager of the Yemeni Economic Corporation for Trade Affairs Abdullah Al-Kuhal says, “This type of wheat is more nutritious and better than the white wheat. It is imported by the Emirates from Germany.” That is obviously good news, and provides some welcome relief, though it doesn’t address the protein concerns that the meat shortages are causing. Still, a good thing.

However, there is a saying. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Make some long-term investments in a failing nation and maybe avoid an apocalyptic hell-storm on your own damn peninsula. Or something. I haven’t read the Bible in a while.

What do I mean? Obviously, it is bad business to really pump in some FDI into a nation with such weak security, and I can’t expect everyone to look down the road when they would be losing money right away. That’s just not how humans work. So what else is there?

One thing we have talked about is building, as a gift to the nation of Yemen, desalinization plants (I understand some people prefer Reverse Osmosis to straight desalinization, but I am using that as a shorthand). I understand that that is expensive. But you know what else is? This.

Oh! Also, underwater hotels, islands shaped like every country, flying cars driven by monkeys, or whatever else they spend their money on. The costs are high, but manageable, and worth it for a couple of reasons.

1) Perhaps help Yemen from running out of water. Yes, there would also have to be massive irrigation channels, as not every place is by the coast, but it seems to be Yemen’s only chance at getting new supplies of water.

2) A little bit of public relations- if there was a joint US/UAE operation- or even if it were known that President Obama was leaning on the wealthy emirates to help out, that would be a huge hearts-and-minds kind of thing, and who is opposed to that.

Look- I am not trying to say this is easy or cheap. But in the absence of alternatives, it is better than the nearly inevitable outcome of running out of water, which is chaos. Feel-good gestures won’t cut it.


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