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The Lighthouse is the weekly email newsletter of the Independent Institute.
Subscribe now, or browse Back Issues.

Volume 9, Issue 41: October 8, 2007

  1. Partitioning Iraq: Lessons from History
  2. Alvaro Vargas Llosa on the Green Consensus
  3. New Report Urges U.S. Engagement with Syria
  4. Charles Peña Interviews Norman Podhoretz

1) Partitioning Iraq: Lessons from History

The U.S. Senate’s 75-23 vote in favor of the division of Iraq into autonomous regions reflects a growing recognition that Iraq continues to splinter along tribal, ethnic and religious lines. In his latest op-ed, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland offers several lessons from history on how—and how not—to partition a land torn by sectarian violence.

“One of the lessons learned from the violent partition of South Asia into India and Pakistan in 1947 and the partitioning of Ireland in 1921,” writes Eland, “is that incomplete partitions are a recipe for violence and that substantial minorities, which threaten the majority population, should not be left on the wrong side of the partition.

The South Asian example, Eland contends, also teaches us that the movement of large populations must be actively encouraged, carefully orchestrated, and protected with security forces. And from the partitioning of Palestine in 1948, we learn that for partitioning to be successful, all parties must agree to the partition, partitions should not be imposed by an outside party, and the resulting governments must be able to defend their new borders.

“Iraq Is Already Partitioned: Here’s How to Make it Work,” by Ivan Eland (Des Moines Register, 10/2/07) Spanish Translation

The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, Director)

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2) Alvaro Vargas Llosa on the Green Consensus

As president, Bill Clinton reportedly encouraged dissent at his cabinet meetings. In contrast, Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa found virtual unanimity at the recent Clinton Global Initiative. Those meetings, which focused on climate change, had plenty of agreement between politicians and business on the need for limits on carbon emissions—and practically no discussion of the proposals’ costs on the developing world.

“No one was too concerned with the costs that a blanket limit on emissions worldwide could inflict on millions of desperate people trying to pull themselves out of poverty,” writes Vargas Llosa in his latest column for the Washington Post Writers Group. “But developing nations are already being hurt. According to the International Monetary fund, the price of food worldwide went up by an average 23 percent in the last 18 months because of the rising demand linked to biofuels.”

Biofuels, Vargas Llosa notes, could create new business opportunities in developing countries—but only if Europe and the U.S. significantly reduce trade barriers. He also notes that private companies such as Equator Environmental, which promotes reforestation in the Amazon, outperform politicians in protecting the environment. “Brazilians will appreciate it—they have lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of Atlantic forest since 2000.” Those loses occurred, Vargas Llosa continues, “because no one felt the need to protect land that was nobody’s property.”

“The Green Consensus,” by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (10/3/07) Spanish Translation

Also see:

Re-Thinking Green, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close

More by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Director)

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3) New Report Urges U.S. Engagement with Syria

After years of threatening and isolating Syria, President Bush recently expressed interest in engaging President Bashar al-Assad in diplomacy. In his new Independent Policy Report, A Diplomatic Road to Damascus, Independent Institute Research Fellow Leon T. Hadar lauds this overdue policy reversal.

“Constructive relations between Washington and Damascus could prove useful in advancing U.S. interests on a number of fronts,” writes Hadar.

Open dialogue will encourage Syrian officials to continue cooperating with U.S. agencies in pursuing al-Qaeda. It will also strengthen reformist forces within the country, which will foster better integration into the global economy. Additional benefits could include a more positive future for Iraq, long-term prospects for a viable state in neighboring Lebanon, and progress toward peace between Israel and Palestine, Hadar notes. Finally, focusing on the common interests between the United States and Syria will shift the regional balance of power away from Iran.

“A Diplomatic Road to Damascus: The Benefits of U.S. Engagement with Syria,” by Leon T. Hadar

More by Leon T. Hadar

Center on Peace & Liberty

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4) Charles Peña Interviews Norman Podhoretz

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Charles Peña interviewed influential neoconservative writer Norman Podhoretz last week on C-SPAN2’s “After Words.” The editor-at-large of Commentary magazine, Podhoretz discusses his latest book, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism. Peña, the author of the recent study, “Nuclear Nonproliferation in the Post-9/11 World,” takes issue with Podhoretz on the Iraq War, Iran, and the meaning of 9/11.

View the hour-long interview.

Hear an audio podcast.

View a short excerpt on YouTube.

“Nuclear Nonproliferation in the Post-9/11 World,” by Charles Peña

Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism, by Charles Peña

More by Charles Peña

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