Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

Gideon Rachman

When a regime as brutal, unpredictable and desperate as North Korea puts itself on a war footing and severs all ties with its bitter enemy to the South, then the world has every reason to be worried. Under the circumstances, a fall of just over 3% in the South Korean stock market sounds like a fairly moderate response.

The markets obviously think the risk of war is still fairly small. And I think – and hope – that the markets are right. The fact is that neither side has a real reason for wanting conflict. The North Korean government would risk a humiliating defeat and a loss of power. Unlike in the Korean War, it has no external backer to come to its rescue. South Korea is a rich, sophistictated society with a rising international profile – why should it risk all that, by being sucked into a conflict with its crazy neighbour to the North? Most South Koreans also have zero desire to shed the blood of their unfortunate compatriots. 

Gideon Rachman

Everybody’s favourite moment in The Graduate is when the film’s hero is cornered by one of his parents’ friends. The older man’s advice to Benjamin Braddock consists of just one word – “plastics”. Something similar keeps happening to me at international conferences. I will be minding my own business, when a delegate will get up with a gleam in his eye and announce portentously – “shale gas!”

Continue reading “Shale gas will change the world”