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Volume 8, Issue 42: October 16, 2006

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Unwilling to Disarm Militias
  2. Mexico Border Wall Hurts U.S. Allies
  3. Did the U.S. Make Germany a Democracy?
  4. THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Fall 2006 Issue Now Available

1) Iraqi Prime Minister Unwilling to Disarm Militias

Sectarian violence in Iraq appears to be moving from bad to worse. Although a bloody bus bombing dominated the Iraqi news headlines this week, the most revealing indicator of future violence comes from the Iraqi government's top leadership: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shi'a, has refused to begin to dismantle the Shi'ite militias that have infiltrated government security forces, just as he has refused to help the U.S. campaign against the Mahdi Army in Sadr City.

The United States may not be able to stop the growing sectarian violence in Iraq, but it can probably temper it, according to Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty. Rather than continue to occupy the country and thereby train Shi'ite militia members that have infiltrated government forces, the United States should announce a date for removing troops from that country, Eland argues in his latest op-ed.

"That action would force the Shi'ite-Kurd dominated government to give the Sunnis some incentives for ending their insurgency and agreeing to a decentralization of Iraqi governance," Eland writes. "A rapid U.S. withdrawal would halt the training of Shi’ite forces for an expanded civil war and foil al-Maliki’s plan to win it. Also, by threatening to remove U.S. backing from a government dominated by the Shi’a and Kurds, the U.S. would put pressure on those groups to reach a decentralization settlement that shared either oil revenues or oil wells with the Sunnis."

"The U.S. Should Stop Training Forces for the Expanding Iraqi Civil War," by Ivan Eland (10/16/06)
"Los Estados Unidos deberían dejar de entrenar fuerzas para la creciente guerra civil iraquí"

Also see, "The Reality and Legacy of the Iraq War" -- Featuring Ivan Eland and Mark Danner (Independent Institute Conference Center, Oakland, Calif., 10/17/06)

The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland

Center on Peace & Liberty (Ivan Eland, director)


2) Mexico Border Wall Hurts U.S. Allies

Most American politicians who support erecting a 700-mile-long fence across the U.S.-Mexico border know it won't keep illegal aliens out of the United States, but they support so that their constituents will see them as "doing something." That's what Mexican President-elect Felipe Calderon told Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa last week. One thing that U.S politicians fail to appreciate, however, is that the wall weakens the hand of U.S. allies in Latin America, according to Vargas Llosa.

For starters, the wall makes the campaign of pro-American Nicaraguan presidential candidate Eduardo Montealegre more challenging. The wall also makes it difficult for El Salvador's leaders to get credit for enacting policies the United States supported, such as signing the Central American Free Trade Agreement, enacting free-market reforms that reduced the poverty rate to 35 percent over the past decade, and sending troops to Iraq to support U.S. efforts. Now El Salvadoreans feel forgotten by the United States.

The rationale behind the wall is a myth that no one really believes, according to Vargas Llosa. U.S. legislators know that "the average immigrant, over the course of a lifetime, will pay $80,000 more than he or she will get in government services," writes Vargas Llosa. But rather than educate the public, they have succumbed to political urges. "Everyone agrees that members of Congress responsible for the Secure Fence Act have scant faith in their own creature."

See "The Other Side of the Wall," by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (10/11/06)

"El otro lado del muro"

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

THE CHE GUEVARA MYTH, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, director)

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


3) Did the U.S. Make Germany a Democracy?

Pundits and politicians who call for U.S. foreign policy to engage in “democratic nation building” often claim that the United States played a key role in helping post-war Germany become a democracy. Many of their opponents also believe that U.S. policy helped make Germany a democracy, but they hold that similar efforts are unlikely to work in non-Western countries or in societies with poorly developed civic institutions. But from the standpoint of democratic nation building, the U.S. occupation of post-war Germany is actually a lesson in what not to do, according to political scientist James L. Payne (“Did the United States Create Democracy in Germany?” in THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Fall 2006).

One component of U.S. occupation policy was JCS 1067, Paynes explains. This military directive forbade American residents from fraternizing with Germans. It ordered troops to keep American food supplies from going to hungry Germans; American residents were even forbidden to give leftovers to their German maids. In addition, U.S. troops were allowed to seize the best homes and hotels as their living quarters and pushed German occupants onto the street. “In Frankfurt alone, Americans requisitioned 10,300 apartments and single-family dwellings,” Payne writes. The Allies also dismantled factories, deliberately destroying hundreds of plants and throwing several hundred thousand employees out of work in the western zone.

Regarding the Marshall Plan, Payne notes that whereas it provided $54 per capita to England and France, it provided only $24 per capita to West Germany. “It seems unlikely that the latter amount, even if used effectively, counterbalanced the negative effect of the U.S. policies of confiscation, economic obfuscation, and deliberate destruction,” Payne writes.

“Did the United States Create Democracy in Germany?,” James L. Payne (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Fall 2006)

The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland


4) THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW -- Fall 2006 Issue Now Available

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Fall 2006 issue of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, the Independent Institute's quarterly journal of political economy.

The following questions are among those addressed in this issue:

* What does free trade tell us about the differences between fairness and justice?
* How strong is the case for government funding of scientific research?
* Did the United States create democracy in Germany?
* Which broader trend in health care does direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising illustrate?
* What can financial-market data from Texas in the 19th century tell us about the public's predictions of who would win the election of 1844?
* What are the major differences in the condition of women around the world?
* What do economists think about claims of global environmental collapse?
* Should we have acted thirty years ago to prevent global climate change?
* What are the best alternatives to reduce the high cost of "free" parking?
* What concepts from economic history best explain the inertia of our political institutions?

Book reviews:




CHANGING THE WORLD: American Progressives in War and Revolution, by Alan Dawley


Anthony de Jasay, William N. Butos, Thomas J. McQuade, James L. Payne, Ronald F. White, Gary M. Pecquet, Clifford F.Thies, Michelle Fram Cohen, Robert Whaples, Randall G. Holcombe, Daniel B. Klein, Andrew R. Rutten, Gary D. Libecap, Stephan Voigt, John Merrifield, and Richard M. Gamble.

We hope that you will find this and other issues of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW useful and enjoyable in your own teaching, research, and writing. Selected articles, book reviews, and back issues are available online at:

To purchase print copies of the Fall 2006 issue, subscriptions, and back issues, see


  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless