Cultural Revolutions

A Logical Choice

Machiavelli, in answer to the question of whether a prince should prefer gold or arms, replied that arms were the logical choice since gold could not always buy a strong military but a strong military could usually acquire wealth. This answer had not changed three and a half centuries later when Kipling wrote, "Gold for the mistress—silver for the maid— / Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade. / 'Good!' said the Baron, sitting in his hall, / 'But Iron—Cold Iron—is master of them all.'" Nor, as demonstrated by Iraq's seizure of Kuwait, has another century changed this reality.

On a per capita basis, Kuwait has been for a generation one of the world's richest countries. Kuwait's oil reserves are more than half the size of Saudi Arabia's and twice that of Iraq's. Its refinery capacity is also second only to Saudi Arabia. It has a fleet of tankers that supply not only foreign customers but its own network of outlets for petroleum products in Europe. Kuwait has the Middle East's largest nitrogenous organic fertilizer industry. It has overseas ventures in both oil and fertilizer (including ownership of oil reserves in the United States). It has a stock exchange and a general reserve of government-owned financial assets that have in some years yielded income rivaling that produced by its oil fields. It also had a long-term economic plan to assure its citizens...

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