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Volume 7, Issue 15: April 11, 2005

  1. The Coveted Legitimacy of Pope John Paul II
  2. Improving U.S.-China Relations -- and Security
  3. The Independent Review - Spring 2005 Issue Now Available

1) The Coveted Legitimacy of Pope John Paul II

Government leaders from around the world flocked last week to the funeral of Pope John Paul II because, according to INDEPENDENT REVIEW editor and Senior Fellow Robert Higgs, even in death the Pontiff possesses the trait they covet most ravenously -- moral authority.

"They crave legitimacy because, apart from its intrinsically gratifying character, a thief and a murderer can go farther with legitimacy than he can go without it," writes Higgs in a new op-ed. "If there is guilt by association, might there also be virtue by association?"

Thus, democratic and despotic rulers alike, largely non-Catholic and even anti-Catholic, came in order to be seen.

"They hope that by sitting beside the dead Pope's casket, some of his towering moral stature will seep onto them and make them appear to stand a little taller in the eyes of those over whom they rule and upon whom they prey.... Appearances count for something in political life -- that's why so much official effort goes into creating and manipulating them."

See "How Many Divisions Does the Pope Have?" by Robert Higgs (4/11/05)

For information about AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society, by Robert Higgs


2) Improving U.S.-China Relations -- and Security

Although Sino-American relations have improved in recent years due to regular meetings on numerous issues, U.S. security would be greatly enhanced by moving from mere symbolism to substantive changes in U.S. policy toward China, according to Ivan Eland, senior fellow and director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

The United States, Eland argues, has been attempting to contain China by reinforcing the powerful U.S. Pacific Fleet, creating military outposts in Central Asia, strengthening its alliances with Japan and other Asian countries, and improving relations with India and Russia.

"These developments simply amplify the power of the many existing U.S. military facilities throughout the region, as well as U.S. formal alliances with South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, and informal alliances with Singapore and Taiwan," writes Eland in a new op-ed.

Particularly troubling is "the administration's tightening of the informal alliance with Taiwan," which someday could risk drawing the United States into a nuclear exchange with China, according to Eland.

"To lessen such perceptions and reduce the chance of conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations, the United States should retract its forward military and alliance posture in Asia, including repudiating any implied commitment to defend Taiwan," writes Eland.

The United States could take advantage of the security perimeter afforded by its surrounding oceans, and "safely allow China to obtain respect as a great power, with a sphere of influence to match," Eland writes.

"If China went beyond obtaining a reasonable sphere of influence into an Imperial Japanese-style expansion, the United States could very well need to mount a challenge. However, at present, little evidence exists of Chinese intent for such expansion, which would run counter to recent Chinese history. Therefore, a U.S. policy of coexistence, rather than neo-containment, might avoid a future catastrophic war or even a nuclear conflagration," Eland concludes.

See "Coexisting with a Rising China?" by Ivan Eland (4/11/05)

Tune in to "The Arlene Violet Show" on WHJJ 920 AM (Providence, RI) on April 13 at 4:30pm ET to hear Senior Fellow Ivan Eland discuss the recent recommendations of the presidential commission on intelligence.

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

To purchase PUTTING "DEFENSE" BACK IN U.S. DEFENSE POLICY, by Ivan Eland, see

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

Center on Peace & Liberty


3) The Independent Review - Spring 2005 Issue Now Available

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Spring 2005 issue of our quarterly journal, THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW: A Journal of Political Economy (edited by Robert Higgs), the peer-reviewed, 160-page quarterly from The Independent Institute.

The Spring 2005 issue addresses the following questions:
* What enabled the U.S. Air Force to grow after President Truman called for a balanced defense budget?
* How did the end of the Bretton Woods Agreement affect OPEC policies during the 1970s?
* What do recent attempts to secede from the City of Los Angeles tell us about how to make municipal authorities more responsive to local communities?
* Was the rapid growth of the post-Civil War economy due more to protectionist trade policies, or to massive immigration and capital inflows?
* What are the best arguments for and against the claim that government is inevitable?
* How does the concept of "rational economic man" weaken mainstream economists' ability to deal satisfactorily with public-policy problems?
* What is the single most important cultural trait that non-democracies lack?
* Which countries are moving fastest toward economic freedom?
* Which observation by James Madison has been reaffirmed by America's recent wartime experiences?
* What practical themes emerge from recent scholarship on property rights?
* Why is Benjamin Constant's political thought more worthy of study than that of his more famous contemporary, Rousseau?
* Constitutionally speaking, how did the way in which 19th-century U.S. territories were governed differ from the way in which they were acquired?
* How did the social ethics of American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and other "Christian realists" influence their assessments of U.S. foreign policy?
* In what ways does U.S. environmental law draw heavily from two opposing legal traditions?
* How can Americans concerned about the national debt combat effectively the ruinous spending of their political leaders?
* How has insider politics distorted public priorities regarding large-scale infrastructure projects?
* What institutional factors make today's U.S. Supreme Court less supportive of egalitarian liberalism than the Warren Court?

Books Reviewed:
* PROPERTY RIGHTS: Cooperation, Conflict, and Law, edited by Terry L. Anderson and Fred S. McChesney
* PRINCIPLES OF POLITICS APPLICABLE TO ALL GOVERNMENTS, by Benjamin Constant; Translated by Dennis O'Keeffe
* THE CONSTITUTION OF EMPIRE: Territorial Expansion and American Legal History, by Gary Lawson and Guy Seidman
* THE CHRISTIAN REALISTS: Reassessing the Contributions of Niebuhr and His Contemporaries, edited by Eric Patterson
* CHASING THE WIND: Regulating Air Pollution in the Common Law State, by Noga Morag-Levine
* RUNNING ON EMPTY: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do about It, by Peter G. Peterson
* MEGA-PROJECTS: The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment, by Alan Altshuler and David Luberoff

Arlene Lazarowitz, David Hammes, Douglas Wills, Ronald Oakerson, Shirley Svorny, Cecil E. Bohanon, T. Norman Van Cott, Peter T. Leeson, Edward P. Stringham, Randall G. Holcombe, G. R. Steele, James L. Payne, James D. Gwartney, Robert A. Lawson, J. R. Clark, James W. Ely Jr., Christie Davies, Herman Belz, Thomas E. Woods Jr., Andrew P. Morriss, James A. Montanye, Peter Gordon, James Bond, Robert Higgs

For a summary and links to selected articles and to all book reviews, see

For back issues (entire contents posted after two issues), see

For subscription information, see

For our Library Subscription Recommendation Form, see

For the Editorial Board, see


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