The cover story of the March issue of The American Conservative is now available online. Brian Kaller, an American expat in Ireland, finds parallels between Ireland’ s economic crisis and America’s precarious fiscal position. According to Kaller, the Irish “have seen many crises in their lives—devaluations, coups, civil wars, fuel shortages, and famines—and, yes, it can happen here. The age of abundance might already be coming to an end.” Kaller warns that a coming transition to a post-crash life without the luxuries expected by postwar Americans ensures that austerity in this country will not be as smooth as Ireland’s.
We also present a special preview of TAC‘s upcoming April 2011 issue. In “Don’t Party Like It’s 1989,” Leon Hadar dispels comparisons of the uprisings in the Middle East to the democratic transitions of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet empire. What we’re facing today is much less hopeful and more akin to an earlier era, Hadar argues:
The lessons of the democratic revolutions of 1848 may be instructive. The uprisings in Paris, Milan, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Munich, and Berlin, led by members of the middle classes and the intelligentsia, failed to transform the existing order and replace it with democratic and liberal institutions. In fact, the political upheaval helped expose the conflicting interests and values of the intellectuals and professionals who led the revolts and the workers and the peasants whose support they had failed to win. The result was a successful counter-revolution launched by the ruling elites in France, the Austrian Empire, and Prussia. Conservative forces were able to consolidate their power for many years to come and at the same time initiated limited and gradual reforms to placate the restive population.
There’s still a high level of uncertainty regarding the Egypt and the broader Middle East, and Hadar’s thoughtful analysis is a good place to start understanding the bigger picture.