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Volume 8, Issue 20: May 15, 2006

  1. Does Nation Building Work?
  2. Eland Opposes CIA Nominee and the NSA
  3. FISA and the PATRIOT Act
  4. Latin America's Leftist Resurgence

1) Does Nation Building Work?

Building stable democracies in place of "failed states" has been one of the most talked-about foreign-policy topics in recent years. What is the overall track record of attempts to plant liberal democracies in lands ruled by lawlessness or tyranny? In "Does Nation Building Work?" (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, spring 2006), James L. Payne examines the history of democratic nation building -- i.e., invading a country with the establishment of a lasting democracy being a key objective -- and finds that successful efforts have been few and far between.

Since 1850, Britain and the United States have sent military troops abroad 51 times to engage in democratic nation building but have left behind lasting democracy in only 14 of those countries, according to Payne -- a success rate of only 27 percent. But even this low number overstates the weak case for nation building, Payne argues, because it includes countries that probably would have become democratic even without outside military intervention (e.g., the Dominican Republic in the mid-1960s).

"The dirty little secret of nation building is that no one knows how to do it," Payne writes. "Huge amounts of government and foundation money have been poured into this question, and, in response to the dollars, the scholars and bureaucrats have produced only reams of verbose commentary."

See "Does Nation Building Work?" by James L. Payne (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Spring 2006), at

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2) Eland Opposes CIA Nominee and the NSA

The nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency, to head the Central Intelligence Agency should be rejected, on the grounds that under his watch the NSA engaged in illegal spying of Americans -- in stark violation of the Fourth Amendment, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

"What part of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution doesn't the general understand?" Eland writes in his latest op-ed. "The amendment clearly intends that a warrant is needed for all searches -- which includes modern-day eavesdropping and wiretapping -- and specifically states that warrants should not even be issued unless government officials can attest that there is 'probable cause' that a crime has been committed."

Eland concludes by calling for the dissolution of Hayden's former agency: "The NSA has been so discredited by its warrantless spying and data mining that it is time to reorganize the agency out of existence.... The discredited agency should be eliminated and its more legitimate functions incorporated into a reorganized and more nimble intelligence community."

See "Abolish Both the Hayden Nomination and NSA," by Ivan Eland (5/15/06)
"Hay que abolir a la nominación de Hayden y a la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional"

THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by Ivan Eland

THE WAY OUT OF IRAQ: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government, by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


3) FISA and the PATRIOT Act

Samih Jammal, a U.S. citizen who owned a wholesale grocery business in Arizona, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for participating in an organized ring that stole and resold baby formula. What makes the case notable is that at some stage it relied on wiretaps authorized by a FISA court warrant -- a tool created to catch foreign spies and terrorists -- although Jammal was not charged with supporting terrorism.

Like recent reports of federal spying on peaceful political activists and the use of the USA PATRIOT ACT to combat online gambling, the Jammal case shows how anti-terrorist tools are increasingly directed against non-terrorists, argues Anthony Gregory, research analyst with the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty, in a new op-ed.

Among other problems with this trend, Gregory argues, is that FISA warrants and the Patriot Act's sneak-and-peak searchers fail to meet the standards of the Fourth Amendment. "Instead, they allow investigators to snoop on Americans without any traditional court warrant, only a secret and unaccountable administrative or judicial decree," he writes. "Laws like FISA and the Patriot Act abuse our privacy, system of checks and balances and constitutional government. These abusive laws must be repealed for the sake of American liberty."

See "FISA and the Patriot Act Are the Abuse," by Anthony Gregory (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/12/06)
"La FISA y la Ley Patriota son el abuso"

More articles by Anthony Gregory


4) Latin America's Leftist Resurgence

The resurgence of the authoritarian and populist Left in Latin America has not occurred in a vacuum. Unfulfilled promises, incomplete reforms, and widespread corruption have paved the way for the likes of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Ollanta Humala, who won the first round of the presidential elections in Peru, argues Carlos Sabino, adjunct fellow with the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity.

"After the failure of the interventionist model in the 1960s and '70s, which foundered in the big crisis of 1982-83, a series of free-market reforms, including monetary and fiscal restraint and privatization, was initiated that stabilized the situation," writes Sabino in his latest op-ed. "But the reforms -- partial as they were, and always limited in their intention and objectives -- could not furnish the rapid growth many citizens desired, or reduce the social inequalities that in reality had dragged on for several centuries."

The new populist statism cannot succeed and thus has no future, Sabino adds. "We can only hope that, after the present euphoria dies down, ways may be found to separate the new apprentice dictators from power, without violence and in an environment that will favor civil, political and economic freedoms."

See "Nostalgia for the Left," by Carlos Sabino (5/15/06)
"Nostalgia por la Izquierda"

Spanish-language Blog:
El Independent: El Blog del Centro Para la Prosperidad Global de The Independent Institute


LIBERTY FOR LATIN AMERICA: How to Undo Five-Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)


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