Saturday, September 11, 2010

CNN's Zakaria: we underestimate intentions, overestimate capacity, of Al Qaeda and others

CNN has an op-ed interview with Fareed Zakaria today, “Did the U.S. overreact to 9/11?” with the text link here.

Zakaria makes the point that the US tends to underestimate the evil intentions of some enemies, but overestimate their ability to carry out their intentions. This was true with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, he says. We start out with an initial failure of imagination and then run away with fantasy.

Al Qaeda is definitely weaker in its ability to coordinate or carry out any major initiative. On the other hand, radicalism and indignation has spread to the young in certain communities, leading to individual bad acts.

Another discussion on CNN Saturday noted that the United States is still dependent on immigration for brain power in basic research and technology engineering, and always has been. In fact, Microsoft opened a development center in Vancouver rather than Seattle because it was easier to import talent into Canada. Yet the work visa issue for technology in the US has been controversial ever since technology employment became unsteady in the Dot-com bust.

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