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Volume 7, Issue 25: June 20, 2005

  1. U.S. Defense: Learning from Japan
  2. Foreign Aid and Economic Freedom
  3. Bill Would Require U.S. Troop Withdrawal to Start by Oct. 2006

1) U.S. Defense: Learning from Japan

After the end of World War II, the United States required Japan to trim its imperial ambitions and to more or less institutionalize this change constitutionally. The result was Japan's Article Nine, which put ground, maritime, and air forces under a single Self Defense Force, rather than under a separate army, navy, and air force.

Now it may be time for the United States to learn from the Japanese example, according to national security expert Edward A. Olsen, in an op-ed for the Center on Peace & Liberty, based on Olsen's recent Independent Institute policy report on homeland security.

"Japan’s strategic model could be valuable to the United States as it attempts to transform a broadly defined national security bureaucracy into a defense system that simultaneously protects the U.S. homeland and maintains a flexible role in global security," writes Olsen. "A reorganization of part of the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Forces into U.S. Ground, Maritime, and Air Self Defense Forces committed solely to the homeland defense of its sovereign territory, would be far more effective in protecting the United States than the current Department of Homeland Security."

In addition to improving homeland security, such a reorganization would bring the added benefit of inspiring a national debate about the country's many "strategic commitments" to other countries, Olsen argues.

"If, at the same time, the United States retained the remainder of its Army, Navy, and Air Force as armed forces committed to preserving the United States’ stake in global order, Americans could pursue both the present brand of strategic U.S. international interventionism and adapt the Japanese model for U.S. homeland security," Olsen continues.

"In addition to helping improve U.S. territorial defenses, this dual approach would help the American people evaluate the relative importance of these two strategic agendas and guide the U.S. government toward a sound balance between them.... Close examination of why Americans -- liberals and conservatives -- have gone astray from U.S. non-interventionist traditions, would help provoke a national debate about the most appropriate U.S. policies at home and globally."

See "U.S. Defense: Learning From Japan," by Edward A. Olsen (6/17/05)

"La Defensa Estadounidense: Aprendiendo de Japón"

To purchase "Homeland Security: Learning from Japan," by Edward A. Olsen, see

For Edward A. Olsen's presentation at the Independent Policy Forum, "Preemptive War Strategy: A New U.S. Empire?" (6/25/03), see

Center on Peace & Liberty


2) Foreign Aid and Economic Freedom

Since the mid 1990s, a growing body of studies has reported a strong, positive correlation between economic freedom and economic development, as long-time readers of THE LIGHTHOUSE and THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW are aware. Yet few studies have examined the relationship between economic freedom and foreign aid.

Does foreign aid tend to increase or decrease economic freedom? Are increases in economic freedom generally rewarded with more foreign aid, or punished with reduced foreign aid? These two key questions are addressed in a recent Independent Institute working paper written by Benjamin Powell (director of the Independent Institute's Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation) and intern Matt Ryan.

Powell and Ryan looked at data from the years 1970 to 2000 and compared aid flows reported by the World Bank with economic freedom scores from the ECONOMIC FREEDOM OF THE WORLD annual report.

"Our regressions give some indication that aid decreases economic freedom," write Powell and Ryan. "Our findings clearly can cast serious doubt on the proposition that aid increases freedom in poor countries. Given the World Bank's mission of promoting economic growth in poor countries and the strong empirical literature on the importance of economic freedom for growth, our paper indicates that since aid cannot be shown to have a positive influence on freedom, aid is unlikely to lead to development in poor countries."

"The second question we addressed is whether improvements in economic freedom were rewarded with increased aid. While there has been debate as to aid's effectiveness if a country has good policy, we find that good policy has not been rewarded. Increases in economic freedom have been punished by decreases in the amount of aid a country receives," Powell and Ryan conclude.

See "Development Aid and Economic Freedom: Are They Related?" by Benjamin Powell and Matt Ryan (Independent Institute Working Paper #60)

For a comprehensive summary of the literature on economic freedom, see "The Benefits of Economic Freedom: A Survey," by Niclas Berggren (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Fall 2003)

Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation

Center on Global Prosperity


3) Bill Would Require U.S. Troop Withdrawal to Start by Oct. 2006

The American public increasingly disapproves of the U.S. presence in Iraq, according to a recent NEW YORK TIMES poll. Sixty percent of the poll's respondents think U.S. efforts to bring stability to Iraq are going badly, and fifty-one percent believe that the U.S. should not have gone to war with Iraq two years ago.

Indicative of this change in public attitudes is a new bi-partisan resolution, now making its way through the House of Representatives, which would require the Pentagon to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by October 1, 2006. The measure is backed by a conservative (Walter Jones of North Carolina), a libertarian (Ron Paul of Texas), a moderate (Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii), and a liberal (Dennis Kucinich of Ohio). This development could throw a monkey wrench into the White House's plans, notes Ivan Eland, director of the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty.

"The Bush administration is pinning all its hopes in Iraq on eventual Sunni participation in the political process and the quick establishment of competent Iraqi security forces," writes Eland in his latest op-ed.

"But the Sunni Arab guerrillas will be better off if the United States leaves. They have few incentives to throw down their arms and join a political process that does not guarantee that a U.S.-backed Shi’ite-Kurd government will refrain from paybacks for the abuses of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime. Also, the Iraqi security forces desperately need to be fully capable before the American public inevitably loses patience with the war. Using existing local security services to quash a rebellion is hard enough, but the Bush administration is now trying to reconstitute security forces it disbanded after the initial invasion, while the insurgents are targeting the recruits. Many experts agree that years will be required to make those forces fully functional.

"The American people and their congressional representatives are unlikely to wait that long. The administration should at least be honest with itself, if not the public, and realize that the war has been lost. It should follow the proposal of the aforementioned bipartisan congressional group, setting a schedule for withdrawal, and begin negotiations with all Iraqi groups -- including the Sunni guerrillas -- for a comprehensive peace settlement.

See "Americans Are Finally Waking Up to the Failure of U.S. Policy in Iraq," by Ivan Eland (6/20/05)

"Los Estadounidenses Están Despertando Finalmente al Fracaso de la Política de su País en Irak"

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


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