The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Pakistani Burger Joints Put McDonald’s Theory To The Test

Even as relations between the US and Pakistan deteriorate, American fast food continues to worm its way ever deeper into Pakistani affections.  Hardee’s recently joined McDonald’s in Islamabad and both are doing well, says the Washington Post.

Since McDonald’s is also thriving in India, an IR theory is about to be put to a test.  The ”McDonald’s theory” holds that no two countries with McDonald’s in them will ever go to war.  Once you have a middle class big enough to support hamburger franchises, the theory runs, war is a thing of the past.

I wish.  The 2008 war between Russia and Georgia dealt the theory a blow; an India-Pakistan war would be the end.

Whether or not that happens, the theory is a bust.  Countries often become more militaristic as their middle classes rise.  The Golden Arches offer great fries, but they don’t bring world peace.

Published on July 25, 2011 8:13 am
  • http://federalistpaupers.com Hubbard

    Didn’t everyone in the Balkan wars of the 1990′s (Croat, Bosnian, Slovenian) have Mickey D’s?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      No golden arches in Sarajevo when I was there in 1990. Same in Belgrade. The closest were in Budapest at that time, where Micky D’s was the trendy place to go. Showed you were western-oriented and had money.

  • http://www.the-american-interest.com Damir Marusic

    I’m pretty sure that McDonald’s came to Zagreb only after 1995.