As great, if not greater than…

In the Boston Globe today, we have this sentence, in an article about the dangers facing America after the Cold War:

Nonetheless, more than two-thirds of the members of the Council on Foreign Relations–as good a cross-section of the foreign-policy brain trust as there is–said in a 2009 Pew Survey that the world today was as dangerous, or even more so, than during the Cold War.

Is it just me, or does that sentence go off the rails at the end?  The “or even more so” seems to cause the author to completely forget where he was going.  He wants to say something like “as dangerous as, or even more dangerous than, it was during the Cold War.”  But maybe that was just too simple.

The second “as” in constructions like this seems to disappear more often than it shows up nowadays, leaving us with sentences that just don’t parse.  This sentence was a little complex; I have noticed the problem in constructions as simple as, if not simpler than: “…as great, if not greater than, Larry Bird.”

I’m too young to feel like a curmudgeon.

The article, by the way, is fairly interesting, making the case that the world is safer than we think, while the foreign policy establishment, and all the political candidates, hugely overestimate the threats out there.  It doesn’t mention Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, but it should.

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