- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
A comment made by Mitt Romney at a Jerusalem fundraiser, in which he attributed Israel’s high GDP relative to the Palestinian territories to the power of culture, has been getting a lot of attention. But those weren’t the only places he mentioned:
"And that exists also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador; Mexico and the United States," Romney added, before noting that culture "makes all the difference." It’s a point he consistently stressed on the 2008 campaign trail.
While poorer than the United States, Mexico’s actually been doing okay lately, when it comes to economic growth. It also seems a little odd, coming from Romney, that he would choose to attribute Ecuador’s poverty to cultural factors rather than political mismanagement — particularly that of leftist President Rafael Correa. I doubt, for example, he would ever say the same thing about Cuba — a country with a pretty similar GDP per capita to Ecuador.