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Dog-Eating and Obama's Identity

One has to spend time in the Third World to appreciate how intensely Ann Dunham's boy dislikes America. Once in Lima, around the corner from the Finance Ministry, I watched a father and mother selling chewing gum at a stoplight. At the curb sat a little girl who couldn't have been more than four and probably was younger, taking care of her one-year-old sister. They were indigenous and probably spoke little Spanish. And they would spend the day at the stoplight to earn enough to buy sufficient calories and cooking fuel to keep body and soul together for another day. No wealthy Peruvian would think to fund a soup kitchen; they were more likely to get help from foreign charities, American evangelicals or perhaps the Catholic Church. But there wasn't much help to go around. I gave the four-year-old a few dollars in local currency; she took the money and ran to her parents to show them the manna that had fallen from heaven.

One sees things like this every day, a hundred times a day, in most Third World cities. If you grow up watching this sort of pain around you, and you are told by daddy and step-daddy and mommy that it is the United States of America that is to blame for the pain, you form the sort of attitudes that Obama represented frankly and without disguise in his autobiography.

Globalization -- which ultimately is a good thing -- may be unspeakably destructive for traditional societies in its path. Tens of millions of people are forcibly torn out of their roots. In Thailand, farmers become construction workers in the big cities, and the girls they would have married in their villages become prostitutes. Education and income and health all improve, on average, but the disruption of lives produces immeasurable hurt.