Why the Anti-War Movement Prolongs the War

Olympia Port Militarization Resistance or OlyPMR, has been causing quite a few problems for Ft. Lewis soldiers and local law enforcement for the past several months, blocking movement of military supplies through the Port of Olympia, pouring cement on railroad tracks and breaking windows at the US Bank and in police cars. Now they’ve joined with the ACLU to add legal action to their list of “weapons” being used to combat what they call an “illegal and immoral war”.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in US District Court, claims that a civilian employee of Ft. Lewis illegally infiltrated their organization and relayed information to his superiors and local law enforcement who then used that information to target, harass and arrest members of the movement and influence law enforcement’s decisions while dealing with the “peaceful” protests. They are attempting to enact the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of the Army for conventional law enforcement activities against civilians. This is a very flimsy argument and just another case of the anti-war movement and the ACLU attempting to tie our hands in a war that would have probably been long over had the military been allowed to fight a war like a war is supposed to be fought: bloody, violent, and with the objective being, to quote General Patton, “not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” In truth, OlyPMR is probably feeling a bit foolish that they didn’t better screen their membership and allowed a DoD employee to join in the first place. War does not mean Mirandizing al-Qaeda before we slap a set of zip-ties on him; it does not mean we can’t splash some water in al-Qaeda’s face in an effort to get the location of the dirty-bomb about to kill a few hundred people at the Mall of America; and war does not mean giving Khalid Sheik Muhammad a showy trial in Manhattan. The fact is, most of these terrorists are getting a step up in accommodations living at Camp Delta.

First of all, it’s highly doubtful that the Ft. Lewis employee, John Towery, was ordered by the military to spy on OlyPMR. After all, I’m sure they’re well versed with their own laws. It appears that he, as private citizen Towery, decided to attend some meetings under an assumed name and get a little intel on their activities and then, again of his own accord, share that information with the good people at the Olympia PD. Furthermore, if it was some sort of “black op” then, point of fact, it would be “black” and there’d be no paper trail implicating the US Army. Either way, the only way Towery and the commanders at Ft. Lewis are getting in any trouble is if they decide to fold under the pressure and cop a plea; probably leading to the “resignation” of Towery. Sadly, because of the weak civilian leadership currently overseeing our military, this just might occur. Perhaps, if this “non-violent” anti-war group wasn’t engaging in violent and maybe even treasonous (impeding military shipments to a war zone) tactics, they’d have nothing to worry about.

There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protest, they’re one of the cornerstones of our republic; and the military certainly shouldn’t be employed on US civilians at home under regular conditions (i.e. when martial law is not declared); but just because a hundred or so Evergreen State College students under a haze of bong smoke and cheap beer think they’re going to change the world and “stop this illegal war” doesn’t give them the right to cause a ruckus and thousands of dollars of damage in downtown Olympia. And it certainly doesn’t give them the right to plan their next concrete-laden salvo free from the ears and eyes of any off-duty military personnel who might want to drop by. Who knows, maybe Towery heard that they were serving up some Garlic Jim’s Pizza and homemade chocolate-chip cookies? It unnecessarily costs the taxpayers; it undermines morale, causing our troops to question their actions on the battlefield while emboldening our enemies; and, by the way, it dissuades those more level-headed folks who may disagree with the war or are on the fence from joining any sort of truly peaceful anti-war movement.

Amanda Knox found guilty

I haven’t been following every moment of the Amanda Knox trial but I’ve followed it enough to be of the opinion that what happened in Perugia today was a tragedy.

Yes, there was some evidence that indicated Knox may have been involved. Chances are she isn’t completely innocent but anyone accused of a crime rarely is. The travesty in my mind is that she and her boyfriend appear far from guilty and, even in Italy, the accused must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Furthermore, there has been so much that has gone wrong with this trial that, had it been held in the US a mistrial would have been declared long ago. From the charges of abuse of power leveled against the prosecutor, Giuliano Mignini, to the contaminated evidence, there was just too much that didn’t make sense.

Knox’s defense attorney, Luciano Ghirga, referring to the fact that Knox could have been sentenced to life, said it well. “I am not at peace. They didn’t have the courage to go all the way. It is a judicial compromise.”

Our own Maria Cantwell also offered a theory that I considered as well. “I have serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial.”

I commend Senator Cantwell for having the courage to say what a lot of folks might not consider politically correct and for pledging to follow up through diplomatic channels so all that is possible may be done to resolve this in a way preferable to Knox.

And speaking of American political response to the verdict, I actually feel for President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton here. They will have a fine line to walk.

If they do nothing they’re allowing the justice system of an ally to take its course. Considering the way Obama has dealt with the world (bowing to foreign leaders, etc.) this past year, this may be what happens. Maybe a good idea if they don’t want to appear to be forcing America’s will on Italy. A bad idea because they’d be allowing a US citizen to go to prison for 25 years for a crime it’s uncertain she committed.

Of course, if they do intervene, the opposite is true. They’ll be coming to the rescue of Knox but Italians might accuse America of trying to push its weight around and being conceited.

The best idea, no joke, would be to send someone like Bill Clinton (or maybe, and I say this with tongue-in-cheek, Jesse Jackson). He did well freeing the Americans in North Korea.

But let’s hope that it doesn’t need to come to this. Let’s hope that Knox will be found not guilty on appeal and allowed to return to the United States by next Christmas.


The Failure of the UN Oil-For-Food Program

UN Emblem "Oil-for-Food" — Office of...

Following the U.S.-led coalition’s liberation of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist government, a wealth of information into the dictator’s plans and methods became available. In addition to this valuable information on Iraq, much information on the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food program, which many people had long suspected was not all it was purported to be, was also discovered. This paper will explore what evidence came to light and how it has and will continue to affect the UN’s reputation as well as the reputation of some member states.

The Oil-for-Food Program (OFP), was started by the UN in 1995 as a way of allowing Iraq to sell its oil and use the profits to purchase food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. It continued until 2003 when the U.S.-led coalition liberated Iraq.

According to US Ambassador to the UN and United States Representative for UN Management and Reform Patrick Kennedy, OFP grew out of the sanctions imposed on Iraq immediately following Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990.  These sanctions, established through UN Security Council Resolution 661, began to lose unanimous support amongst Council members almost immediately as they became increasingly concerned over the apparent humanitarian devastation the sanctions caused and news of the crisis spread throughout the world.

What followed in 1991 were resolutions 706 and 712, aimed at alleviating the suffering by paying for humanitarian aid through the strictly supervised sale of Iraqi oil.  These two resolutions weren’t all that dissimilar to what OFP turned out to be except that protocols managing the program were much more stringent in terms of who Saddam could sell oil to and purchase humanitarian aid from. Likely for this reason, these were never enacted due to the lack of cooperation by Saddam’s regime. In 1995 the Council passed resolution 986, which laid the framework for OFP.

Under the agreement, the Iraqi government maintained authority over much of the program, specifically over contract negotiations with buyers of oil and sellers of humanitarian supplies as well as the disbursement of the humanitarian supplies to the Iraqi population. This portion of the agreement was, not surprisingly, unpopular with many of the UN Security Council member states, including the U.S. and the UK, but was insisted upon by Saddam and supported by other Council members, including France.  The one exception to this was the purchasing and disbursement of humanitarian supplies in the three Northern Governorates of Iraq (an area popularly known as Kurdistan), where the UN carried out these functions.

The Sanctions Committee, created under resolution 661, (a watered down version of 706 and 712 and one that Saddam ultimately agreed to), also known as the 661 Committee, oversaw the implementation of this new program and monitored program member states’ compliance. Decisions were made on a consensual basis. All members of the committee having to agree on actions taken, which often led to problems. When the U.S. became aware of non-compliance and manipulation of the OFP by Saddam as well as other parties, for instance Syria and their lack of control over the Syrian-Iraqi border, which led to a high amount of smuggling of goods banned from entrance under OFP; it raised its concerns before the committee, often with the support of the UK; and although lengthy discussion and debate took place and outside briefings by members of the Multilateral Interception Force (the enforcement arm of the OFP made up of member nation’s military forces) were made, willingness from other member nations, including France, to take action was often absent. Not only were other member nations unwilling to investigate and enforce the stipulations of the OFP, they often advocated for a reduction of the sanctions that were present. These member states’ reluctance to enforce the OFP and their advocating for reduced sanctions is thought to be tied to their “self-serving national economic objectives.”

In short, the OFP was ripe for corruption because of an extreme lack of oversight by the UN, not necessarily through its incompetence but simply because of the way the OFP was set up. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that more oversight could have been built in to the program because of Saddam’s unwillingness to comply. In fact, the first two resolutions aimed at relieving the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, 706 and 712, would have had those added safeguards in place to monitor the program and they were rejected by Saddam’s regime. As it was, after resolution 986, which implemented OFP, was passed, it took over a year of negotiations before Saddam finally agreed, while all the while his people continued to suffer. In addition, following that resolution, nearly all subsequent resolutions dealing with Iraq aimed at reaffirming and strengthening its sovereignty. It would not have been possible to pass any resolutions to the contrary; resolutions strengthening the protocols used to enforce OFP, because of the lack of support by other member nations on the Council, including France.

Some blame for the manipulation and corruption within OFP has also been placed on the companies contracted to carry out OFP operations; among them Lloyd’s Registry of London, Cotecna of Switzerland and Saybolt Oil of the Netherlands. BNP Paribas, the French bank that maintained the OFP accounts has also been questioned. However, this is not necessarily warranted as these companies were only allowed to operate as their mandates from the 661 Committee allowed. They were only authorized to inspect humanitarian supplies ordered through OFP and did not serve as customs officials or border guards. These duties were left up to the Iraqi government. Saybolt was tasked with inspecting outgoing oil shipments, however, again, only shipments authorized under OFP.  They could not seek out oil smuggling operations.

Most of the blame is being placed on the Saddam regime. This, of course, is no surprise. What is surprising is that an almost equal number of accusations have been thrown at the UN, from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on down. One such accusation toward Annan specifically has to do with his apparent questionable ties to the Swiss company Cotecna. His son, Kojo, worked for the company on contract from 1999 onward. What makes this so intriguing is that from the onset of the allegations toward the UN, Kofi Annan has denied any wrongdoing stating that he and his staff were not aware of Saddam using the program to, in essence, launder money made through OFP and use it to purchase goods banned by the program as well as influence those in power in countries like France, Russia and China in hopes of getting those nations’ support in lifting the sanctions passed as part of OFP. This may be the case. What is less likely, however, is Kojo Annan’s statement (and one that would have been altogether unnecessary had he truly not played a role in Conecta’s OFP dealings) that his father had nothing to do with the contract process but that these decisions were made by the contract committee. This is simply false. The OFP was run out of the General Secretariat and Kofi Annan himself signed off on each six-month phase, including the contracts filled. Perhaps Kojo’s involvement with Cotecna was not fraudulent in the sense that he has never been named as one of the people receiving oil vouchers or money from Saddam’s government either directly or as a beneficiary of a company that did, but the alternative is that Kofi was negligent, not reviewing the contracts he was signing off on. Making his lack of involvement even more unlikely is the fact that, not only was he in charge of the program due to his position as Secretary-General, he had also been involved with OFP from its infancy, doing much of the work in meeting with the Iraqi government and setting it up, shortly before he was made Secretary-General.

Allegations of misdeeds do not end with the Kojo-Cotecna tie however. During the final months of OFP it is blindingly obvious that the UN knew of Saddam’s exploitation of the program and only decided to do something about it when it knew its oversight of the program was nearing an end.

In May 2003, shortly before the fall of the Saddam regime, the Security Council voted to end OFP and have all contracts related to the program turned over to the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority. It gave the Secretariat six months to put everything in order. By the end of its renegotiation with supplier companies of billions of dollars worth of contracts, the Secretariat had cancelled a quarter of them. On its website it listed reasons for many of these cancellations. Examples include the Lebanese welding-machine contractor “unwilling to accept the 10% deduction.” Belgian and Jordanian medical suppliers also refused a “10% reduction.” Sometimes the reasons are not even as clear as that as was the case with the Russian backhoe supplier, who “refused to accept extra fee deduction” or the supplier of “fork lift and spares” who “stated that the supply of remaining parts cannot be cost-effective under the current circumstances.”

In total, the UN cancelled 728 contracts from the OFP due to the companies’ lack of cooperation or simply their non-existence. Some of these were perfectly legitimate but had already been fulfilled. However, most were rejected because the contractors had disappeared, no doubt realizing that the cash cow many of them had been enjoying for the past seven years was now out of milk and that the angry farmer may be closing in on the barn. Examples of these contracts include the Jordanian school-furniture supplier who “does not exist and the person in charge moved to Egypt” or the “vehicle spare parts” supplier from Russia that “could not be contacted despite all efforts.”

In addition to these 728 contracts, another 762 were postponed indefinitely by the UN’s Office of the Iraq Programme because of their “questionable utility.” At first glance, these contracts seem to be useful for humanitarian purposes: medicine from China, medical equipment from France, wheat from Russia; which leads one to wonder if it was not the utility of the items in question but the terms of these contracts negotiated by Saddam and the supplier companies and subsequently allowed by the UN. These cases may seem rather innocuous but they are still not the only evidence of wrong doing by the UN. Perhaps most grievous is the allegation that Benon Sevan, the Executive Director of OFP, received oil vouchers from Saddam, allowing him to purchase oil from Iraq at reduced prices; something similar to a stock option. (Duelfer Report) Given his position and authority over the program it begs the question of what Sevan may have done in return.

So what has all this apparent corruption led to? According to the General Accounting Office, Saddam was able to acquire over $10 billion through manipulation of OFP itself as well as the related lack of enforcement of sanctions. Specifically, he was able to collect $4.4 billion through kickbacks and surcharges and another $5.7 billion through smuggling. In turn, with this money he was able to slowly dig himself out of the military finance hole he had gotten himself into with, first, the Iran-Iraq War of the early 80s, then the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. These two operations cost Saddam a great deal more than he had expected, both in terms of cash spent and troop casualties. After coalition forces pushed him back into relative submission during the first Gulf War his forces were devastated. If he was going to achieve his goals of dominance in the area he needed desperately to regain his military power. If not, Iraq would be at the mercy of many of its neighbors, especially Iran.

According to the Duelfer Report, Saddam had always been concerned about how history would view him and was obsessed with his legacy. He believed that Iraq was the natural and historical leader of the Arab world and he was the next in line of its great leaders like Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar. He even ordered the restoration of the ancient city of Babylon and had all the bricks being used imprinted with the phrase “made in the era of Saddam Hussein,” thinking he would be remembered long into the future.

But bricks alone would not build his legacy. To fend off his real and perceived threats, he needed real military hardware in the form of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons. The much-debated WMDs were never technically found and the search has now been halted. This is simply a technicality though as mountains of evidence of the will and especially the ability, both in the form of facilities and the scientists needed to start the program, were found, according to the Duelfer Report.

One thing to consider in relation to the apparent lack of WMDs is that, while not many Westerners were studying in Baghdad in the 90s, thousands of Iraqis studied in the West. This gave those within Saddam’s regime a leg up on the competition, so to speak.  His scientists and lieutenants could more easily predict how weapons inspectors would operate than the other way around. In addition, the longer searches went on the better at concealing evidence Saddam got. For the UN inspectors it was like playing a game of hide and seek where not only did they not know exactly what they were looking for, the location of it was apt to change frequently.

A specific example of this, according to the Duelfer Report, was the UN’s investigation of the Saddam Regime’s hierarchy and how it related to the delivery of orders regarding the concealment of WMD evidence. Since the inspectors were basing their investigations on Western assumptions they only looked at government bureaus that were directly tied to Saddam (the Republican Guard, the Special Security Organization, etc.) because, to them, it made sense that Saddam would have been giving the orders for concealment. The Saddam Regime did not necessarily operate like this in all circumstances, and even in the cases in which it did, it was able to quickly change that after watching the inspectors work so that they would not uncover any further information, like changing the path of a maze after the inspectors had already entered it.

But the UN cannot take all the blame for OFP.  After all, the UN is only as strong as its member countries and, more specifically, the permanent members of the Security Council. Therefore, much of the blame can be placed on those nations that did not do what they should have as part of the Council to ensure that resolutions, including OFP, were enforced.

Most of this blame rests on France, China and Russia. During Congressional hearings last October, investigators stated that, according to UN Security Council subcommittee minutes, these three nations “continually refused to support the U.S. and U.K. efforts to maintain the integrity” of OFP.  The investigators went on to quote the minutes as stating that companies within these nations “had much to gain from maintaining” the status quo. “Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.”

Among these companies were such giants as French oil companies Total and SOCAP and the Iraqi-French Friendship Society.

According to former Iraqi deputy prime-minister Tariq Aziz, several French individuals were given oil vouchers in exchange for efforts to lift UN sanctions and oppose US initiatives within the Security Council. (Duelfer Report)

Not only were several businesses allegedly involved in questionable dealings with the Iraqi government, some high-ranking officials were also fingered. According to the Duelfer Report, former French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua reportedly received 11 million barrels in exchange for promoting pro-Iraqi policies within the French government. He publicly denied the allegations but did mention that others within the French government may have been involved.

The connections between the Saddam Regime and the French government may even extend all the way to President Jacque Chirac. Indeed, Saddam and Chirac have had a long relationship. In the 1970s, it was then Premier Chirac who sold Saddam two nuclear power plants, the “first concrete step towards production of the Arab atomic bomb,” according to Saddam himself. In terms of OFP, there are no direct connections between Saddam and Chirac, but the two are tied together through other individuals.  For example, the Duelfer Report cites “a former Iraqi official” as claiming that Iraq gave 14 million barrels of oil to French businessman Patrick Maugein, whom it considered “a conduit to French President Chirac.”

In addition, Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) documents recovered by coalition forces state that the Saddam Regime, through the IIS, attempted to influence Chirac through other connected businessmen as well as the official spokesman for President Chirac’s re-election campaign and two of his advisors.

France’s questionable involvement with Iraq doesn’t stop with OFP, however.  Even today the French are marginally assisting the former regime by supporting the Ba’athist Party in exile, which has set up its operations in Paris and is calling itself the resistance in hopes of eliciting a favorable response from French who remember their own “resistance” movement against the Nazis. French Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier has proposed that the Ba’athist Party, which has been outlawed in Iraq, be allowed to participate in any future conferences discussing the future of Iraq.

Investigations into this corruption continue, in particular one being conducted separate from, but authorized by the UN and headed up by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.  Despite any conclusive findings thus far from that commission there are still many things that were uncovered through the House investigation and, especially, the report written for the CIA by Charles Duelfer. From these it is apparent that the UN, at the very least, was clearly not up to the task of managing OFP.

The UN collected a 2.2% commission on every barrel of oil. Not a considerable amount but considering that this money was supposed to be used to fund the monitoring operations, it seems that it was a poorly spent. This is just the beginning and the least of the UN’s failures. Perhaps the biggest failure of OFP was in its inception, the terms under which it would be enforced. These were perfunctory at best, but to be fair, the UN claims that had it been for more stringent oversight, Saddam would never have agreed to OFP (Hearing before House Subcommittee on NSETIR, 10/5/04). This does appear to be true, for even the plan that did end up being administered took nearly a year’s worth of negotiation with Saddam to begin. However, OFP was still a failure and was always destined to be. The UN turned over too much of its power in running OFP to Saddam and the companies and national leaders he dealt with. It failed to perform necessary audits and then, to cover itself from more public scrutiny, kept most of the records – prices and quantity of oil and relief supplies, identities of those buying the oil (who were selected by Saddam, not the UN), bank statements and financial transactions – secret (Duelfer Report).

One of the biggest problems the UN has always had is enforcement power.  Now, unfortunately, corruption can be added to that list and both have chilling examples in OFP.  Perhaps this failure can be viewed as a blessing in disguise however. Hopefully it will lead to reforms within the world body. If not, it is unlikely the UN will survive to see its centennial.

Neville Chamberlain: History’s Scapegoat or Britain’s Savior?

Chamberlain arrives at Munich, 29 September 1938.
Chamberlain arrives at Munich, 29 September 1938. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(One of my Senior Theses.)

When many people hear the name Neville Chamberlain the first word that pops into their minds is appeasing, acquiescent or, if they are really harsh, cowardly.  Many people believe that Neville Chamberlain was at least partially responsible for World War II.  They believe that, by signing the Munich Agreement with Hitler instead of standing up to him, he gave Hitler the go ahead for world domination.  But is this true?  History often judges men and women, for better or for worse, in a much harsher way than the present ever can.  An action that, in the present, didn’t seem all that monumental can be heralded a century later as a moment that changed history.  An action that seemed like a good idea or a bad idea to the pundits of the time can be completely reversed when looked at through the lens of history.  Perhaps this is a good thing.  Perhaps the old saying, those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it, stands true and people should critically examine the actions of our predecessors.  But then again perhaps we are too harsh.  Since history is a timeline and, like all lines, only one-dimensional, we will never truly know what the present would be like had someone in the past made a different decision.  Perhaps the world would have been a better place had Neville Chamberlain refused to give in to Hitler’s demands in order to save the peace.  Then again perhaps millions more would have died at the hands of the Nazis.

In this paper I will explore the decisions Chamberlain and others of his time made and the actions they carried out, which led up to the World War II.  I will attempt to be as uncritical of these actions as can be but instead focus on a thesis that explores the past as if it were the present, not holding those in the past accountable for future events which they could not reasonably see.  At the same time, however, I will illustrate how certain decisions and actions could very well have resulted in the past, as we know it today.
World War II, as it was fought in Europe, was not so much a separate, second world war but, rather, a continuation of the first world war and this was clear even before the first shots of what is generally though of as World War II were fired.  In a speech before parliament on June 25, 1937 entitled “Spain: A Second Sarajevo?” Chamberlain alluded to the fact that the peace of Europe was perilously tied to the Spanish civil war that was happening at the time.  That conflict, fought mainly between the Spanish nationalist government and a rising force of communist rebels, attracted many foreign nationals to the fight.  Some came out of ideological reasons, having a vested interest in which side would eventually be victorious.  Countless more, however, those representatives of foreign governments including the Germans, the Italians and the British, came under the pretense of keeping the peace.  Whether or not these government forces were truly impartial or not doesn’t much matter for, in the eyes of the people directly involved in the conflict, Spain’s Communist government and the anti-communist rebels, they had taken a side.  Often times the same national force was accused by each side of taking the side of the opposing force.  Henceforth, the secret alliances, whether perceived or real, amongst national forces during the Spanish civil war were not too different from the very real secret alliances that plagued Europe at the opening of the 20th century and were uncovered in a most horrible way by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

Yet still, it seems, this conflict in Spain, however much it did contribute to the war that was to follow, was not the overriding reason for it.  That reason rests much earlier in history, on November 11, 1918 in Versailles, France.  Even as that treaty was being signed, subjugating Germany to a future of poverty caused by the impossibility of paying reparations, there were some who felt it would later come back to haunt them.  Not only would the judgment of reparations turn Germany resentful of their neighbors, the redrawing of boundaries, taking more land than necessary from the German state was, perhaps, the biggest thorn in its side and one that Hitler would later use as his main rallying cry.

In a speech before the Reichstag on February 20, 1938, Hitler defended Germany’s decision to withdraw from the League of Nations and rebuked the other member nations for their actions in drafting the Treaty of Versailles which limited the defense forces of Germany and the redrawing of international borders to exclude, in Hitler’s words, 10 million Germans from the subsequent German state.
This general resentment, coupled with the rise in rearmament of most European nations following the armistice of the end of World War I, is what brought Europe to war.  Several people of the time foresaw the coming of the war, including Neville Chamberlain, and tried desperately to stave it off.

In a speech before parliament on February 21, 1938 (purely coincidental that it should follow Hitler’s speech the day before), entitled “We Must Not Continue the Vendetta,” Chamberlain’s theme was one leaning toward appeasement of Italy, not a call to war.  At the time, relations between Italy and Great Britain were being strained by each other’s involvement in the Spanish civil war.  Again, and as Chamberlain also alluded to during that speech, there may have been no good reason for relations to be strained at the time but “suspicion breeds suspicion.”  In this case, suspicion not only was aroused over actions taken by each nation in Spain but, perhaps even more so, by Italy’s conquest of Abyssinia (Ethiopia), a colony being ruled by Great Britain at the time.  Many in Italy felt that their actions in Africa were ripe for reprisal by the Brits and acted accordingly, amassing troops in strategic areas in the colony and stirring up the masses with propaganda in the homeland.  To all within British government, however, this idea that they would strike back at the Italians was utterly preposterous.

In hopes of easing the rising feelings of resentment between the two nations Chamberlain sought to open up a dialogue with the Italians almost immediately.  However, not all within his government agreed, including Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden.  This is where it becomes apparent that, even then, before the appeasement for which Chamberlain is so infamous, Chamberlain’s policies had many critics.

Although, at this time, the Brits had no qualms about what had happened in Abyssinia, they did have reason to resent the Italians for their actions in Spain and it was precisely these actions that led to the rift within Chamberlain’s cabinet, the rift for which was the occasion of the speech delivered February 21, 1938, a response to the resignation of Eden.
In January of the prior year the two nations had signed the Anglo-Italian agreement in hopes of bettering relations that had begun to sour due mostly in part to the Spanish civil war.  Amongst the stipulations of the agreement were an end to propaganda denouncing the British and, in spirit although not in letter, the cessation of Italian involvement in Spain.  The inflammatory propaganda was “scarcely dimmed for an instant” to put it in the words of Eden in his remarks to Parliament that same day, and scarcely before the ink was dry a new contingent of Italians were on their way to Spain.

Eden found these actions unacceptable and because of such thought it was unwise to resume conversations with the Italians until they had shown actions congruent with their earlier agreement.  Chamberlain, and most of his cabinet, disagreed so, hence, Eden resigned.  Perhaps history can look at the resignation of Secretary Eden as the Hitler’s first victory and the Allies’ first defeat in what would later be thought of as World War II, even if in an indirect way, for if Eden had fought for his position of resoluteness against what was a rather benign Italy, he surely would have demanded that Great Britain stand fast against the Germans.  Even if Germany hadn’t sought to take over the Sudetenland it is very plausible that Eden would have encouraged a more hard-line approach toward the Nazis.  In some sense, it is a wonder that Eden lasted as long as he did in Chamberlain’s cabinet, truly a wonder that he was even let in at all, but not because of his feelings toward Italy.  No, even from the beginning Chamberlain and Eden were doomed to be at odds. (At least in regards to foreign policy.  Personally, the two were friends.)  Before Chamberlain made the short move from the Exchequer to No. 10 Downing Street in June of 1937, Eden was still Foreign Secretary but many didn’t think he would stay on as he was, to put it in the words of The Economist, Prime Minister Baldwin’s “young man” and, perhaps more importantly, anti-Nazi (or, perhaps, anti-German as those who would not consider themselves “pro-Nazi” but still followed a path of amicable relations with Hitler’s government, might call him.). (The Economist, 2/13/37 “The Cabinet and Germany”)  No, most figured he would be replaced by someone who would not only carry out Chamberlain’s pro-German policies but someone who Germany also would be willing to do business with.  A strong statement, yes, and one reeking substantially of claims that Britain’s foreign policy (at least its German policy) could have been controlled not so much at the banks of the Thames but at those of the Spree, but one echoed by many at the time and even now.  (This, no doubt, partly related to the Royal Family’s close ties to Germany, among them allegations that Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor, had diplomatic relations with Hitler himself).

Now, in terms of Anglo-Italian relations, appeasement may not have been necessary (the Royal Navy could have easily defeated the Italian Navy) but, at least in Chamberlain’s mind, it was wise.  If one were to not figure in Germany’s role in this great game one may not be altogether sure why Chamberlain took this course of action.  When Germany’s role is considered however, Chamberlain’s actions become a bit clearer.  At the time Germany was allied with Italy, mostly due in part to their mutual fascism and loathing of the communists; and to ire Italy over something as relatively inconsequential as anti-British propaganda and tepid involvement in an already multinational Spanish civil war, would make about as much sense as shooting a man for calling you names, especially when that man has a rather strong friend standing poised to fight back.  However, looking beyond the proximate situation one could say that, by appeasing the Italians, Chamberlain emboldened Hitler and traded away tomorrow’s peace.

It never came as a surprise to anyone in Europe that Hitler had designs on lands taken from Germany after World War I but no one really knew how far he was willing to go to get these lands back.  Furthermore, this “Sudetenlust” was not entirely Hitler’s doing and had it been perhaps Great Britain would have been more apt to have come to the aid of the Czechs.  No, much of the future conquest was brought about by the inhabitants of the Sudetenland themselves and is a problem that can be referenced back to the Treaty of Versailles, specifically the redrawing of borders.  The Sudetenland was overwhelmingly populated by Germans at the time and those of that ethnicity felt they were not being fairly represented in Prague.  (Although, to be fair, it is altogether probable that much of this angst was stirred up by their brethren on the other side of the border).  At first, the Sudeten German Party, led by Henlein, requested a quasi-autonomous existence on their own, allowing them to pass certain Nazi like laws and sending a representative to the Czech government, but the Coalition Czech government felt that by meeting these requests the newly formed Republic of Czechoslovakia would be irreparably damaged.  Thus, when negotiations failed, the Sudeten Germans sought out the help of Hitler.
In a speech at Nuremburg on September 13, 1938 Hitler laid out his opinion of the situation stating that the Sudeten Germans had the right to self-determination.  This speech did much to embolden those German Czechs on the other side of the border and rioting broke out that very same night.  A state of emergency was declared in many of the Sudeten districts.  The Sudeten Germans, after failing to hear a response to Hitler’s ultimatum of self-determination from Prague, broke off all negotiations and declared that satisfying their original demands, set out in the Eight Points of Carlsbad, would no longer be enough.

With the might of the ever-growing Nazi army against them, the Czech government began to realize it would be forced to negotiate on this matter.  It was not to be them alone however and, in the end, they would not even be a party to the negotiations.  No, instead, the only representatives of any clout at the table ended up being the Brits, the Germans, the Italians and the French.

When the hostilities broke out in mid-September, Neville Chamberlain broke in.  The moment that he and much of Europe had likely been dreading since, really, the end of the First World War, was dawning.  With great haste Chamberlain flew to Berchtesgaden, Germany to meet with Hitler less than 48 hours after Hitler delivered the Nuremburg speech. (To emphasize just how sudden his desire to meet with Hitler was, it is worth pointing out that air travel in the late 1930s was still a relatively new mode of transportation and government leaders rarely partook in such travel).  At the time, the media heralded this action as courageous and saw British negotiations with Germany as a great hope for peace.  Whereas Hitler had no problem threatening his neighbor to the southeast he had quite the opposite reaction to Britain, often proclaiming how necessary not only peace but friendship between the two nations was.  Because of this sentiment, most Brits felt that Hitler would react well to their requests regarding the Sudeten matter.  Upon arrival in Germany, however, it could be said that Chamberlain’s appeasing side came out and how courageous his actions were could be easily debated.  Instead of standing up for President Benes and the Czechoslovakian government, Chamberlain, along with French President Eduard Daladier, all but sided with Hitler, pressuring Benes to come up with a plan to grant the Sudetens a level of self-government not held by any other national minority within an independent nation and turning over some land to Germany.  In return for these concessions, the Czechs would be guaranteed security from Germany, although not by Hitler and the Germans themselves but on their behalf by Chamberlain.

It didn’t take long for this agreement to be strained and Chamberlain was back on an airplane bound for Germany, twice in the following two weeks.  His third, final and most famous trip was to Munich on September 29, 1938.  Three days earlier Hitler had made an impassioned speech before thousands of Germans in the Berlin Sports Palace.  In it he demanded of President Benes that the Sudetenland be turned over to Germany by October 1.  He didn’t state the repercussions of not following his demands, which made many hopeful that he had not committed himself to military action.  Still, the speech was not warmly welcomed in London or Paris and Chamberlain and Daladier knew that their immediate response would be necessary.

On the 29th, the “Four Powers” of Great Britain, Germany, Italy and France reached what would come to be known as the “Munich Agreement.”  In it, the Czech government agreed to completely relinquish the demanded lands by October 10 and that the ultimate decision of where the new frontier was to be would be decided by an international commission made up of the same four countries plus the Czech Republic, and by plebiscite in certain areas.  The Czechs agreed to the agreement begrudgingly, knowing that it was their only option.  They faced a formidable foe in Germany and had been sold out by their allies the French and English.

Chamberlain returned to London a hero, the streets full of cheer and praise.  When he arrived at Downing Street he uttered those now famous words, “peace in our time.”  It was a bit presumptuous of him and some even say that he knew it then. (National Review, June 2, 1989, Postscript to Munich)  He did stand behind his decision made at Munich though.  Perhaps this was easy, the will of the British people, lo, most of Europe, being behind him.  The Czech people did not greet that day with excitement and adulation however.  They knew they had been the sacrificial lamb for Europe’s peace.  Many in Czechoslovakia clamored for war but, ultimately, they knew it was a hopeless undertaking and resigned themselves to what was to come (exactly what did come, the complete annexation of their nation by the Nazis, was, at that point, still only in their worst nightmares).  Even before the Munich Agreement was fully carried out, President Benes had resigned.  Most hailed his courage and looked upon his resignation with sorrow.  A man who had shown so much courage throughout the trying time had ultimately succumbed to an outcome that no man could have withstood.

Now, this paper wouldn’t be complete if the alternative view to the “appeasement” theory wasn’t put forth.  This alternative theory, raised by many scholars and even some pundits of the day, is that Chamberlain was quite alright with Hitler helping himself to Eastern Europe as part of an eventual goal of defeating the great communist menace of the Soviet Union.  Had this been the case it may have worked out for Chamberlain but for two things.  Firstly, after Hitler took over the rest of the Czech Republic (by this time Slovakia had declared her independence from the erstwhile nation), Ruthenia, an area southeast of Bohemia, bordering on Hungary and the Ukraine, was a bit of a no-man’s land and, in an act of appeasement himself, Hitler gave it to Hungary. (Technically, Hungary invaded the newly independent nation but most historians would agree that this action was only done so after being given the nod by Germany).  This “mistake” of Hitler’s signaled to Chamberlain that Hitler was not “keeping up his end of the bargain,” as it were, keeping his sphere of influence in central and Eastern Europe and, eventually using that power to defeat Russia.  Chamberlain surmised (or so the theory goes) that this action meant that Hitler was going to hold off on attacking Russia and focus instead on Western Europe.  This may or may not have been the case.  One could easily propose that Hitler was simply keeping Hungary happy for the time being so he wouldn’t have to deal with it while he invaded Poland, which, strategically, was really a better option for marching his army though on its way to conquer Russia.  But if Chamberlain and the rest of Western Europe had its doubts after the Ruthenia episode they were convinced after Hitler chose to sign a non-aggression pact with Stalin on August 23, 1939.  Two days later Great Britain signed a mutual assistance agreement with Poland stating that they would come to her aid should she be invaded by Germany or any other country for that matter (although it is pretty clear that the only country they were thinking of was Germany considering the Allies let Stalin’s army march in through the eastern half of Poland, slaughtering hundreds of thousand of Poles on their way and giving the Nazi army a warm welcome.)  A week after that Hitler invaded Poland (again under the banner of lebensraum and stolen German land).  One would think that, as was stated in the agreement, Chamberlain would rush to their aid but no, instead it took two days for the British government to declare war on Germany, Chamberlain’s government fighting it every step of the way.  Even after that declaration of war on September 3, the British response was lukewarm, leading many to call that period from September 3 until Germany’s invasion of the Low Countries the following Spring the “Phony War,” the “Strange War,”  or in Churchill’s words, the “Twilight War.”  During this period no shots were fired by the British or the French although propaganda campaigns were launched on Germany by the Royal Air Force and there was a general build up of military armament in Great Britain.

The end of the Phony War came on April 10 but not necessarily because of Germany’s new conquest to the west.  On that same day, hours earlier, Chamberlain, having sustained months of criticism for his lack of action against the Germans as they continued their conquest of neighboring countries by invading Denmark and then Norway, resigned.  The much less pacifist Winston Churchill, was made Prime Minister.  These two events were not purely coincidental.  No, instead it is probable that Hitler knew that there was a new sheriff in town, so to speak, and was scrambling to conquer as much land as possible to aid in the ever-expanding German defense before the inevitable onset of resistance came from the Allies.

The other alternative worth noting, and the only one that brings honor to Chamberlain, is rather simple.  That is that Chamberlain was fully aware of the inevitability of war with Germany but also knew that the British could never defeat the ever-increasing power of the German forces, especially their Luftwaffe or air force, which was truly the envy of much of the world for its skilled abilities.  This possibility is altogether probable for the British air forces were particularly weak during this time, numbering a mere 135 squadrons even come the beginning of 1939 (www.raf.mod.uk/history), production lagging and, most importantly, skilled pilots hard to come by.  As it was, once production was begun on Hurricane’s and Spitfires, two fighters that would ultimately prove invaluable in the Battle of Britain and beyond, delivery of a sufficient number came only a scant 10 days before the first attack.

So was Neville Chamberlain an appeaser or was he simply doing what he thought was necessary to keep the peace in Europe – a peace, however precarious, that many did not want to see come to an end, having fought such a bloody war just a generation ago?  Or was he simply buying time in order to give British air forces enough time to prepare. Or perhaps it was none of these.  Maybe Chamberlain did have a secret alliance with Hitler, hoping to use the horrible dictator’s power to combat an equally horrible dictator in the Soviet Union.  Maybe it was a combination of all three and maybe there were different motivations at different times during this brief period in history.  No matter what the motivation, the original hopes of a nation, a continent and the world at large were not met through the subsequent actions.  If it was appeasement that Chamberlain sought he wasn’t aware of the old adage “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” or that sage bit of caution from his fellow countryman, Lord Acton, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Land for men is like blood for a bear, as soon as they get a taste of it they’ll always want more and this was no truer a case than with Hitler.  If it wasn’t an attempt at appeasement but an attempt at being chess master to Hitler and Stalin’s pawns, using one to defeat the other, then that too failed and never in the course of history has it failed quite so poorly.  If one is to play that game one must make sure that his pawn is on a very short leash, to mix metaphors.  One thing is for certain, history should do better to remember this time leading up to the official beginning of World War II as a time when promises were made but not honored and the masses yearned for peace so fiercely that they were all too willing to trade a neighbor’s freedom, in this case Czechoslovakia and to some extent Poland and Scandinavia, for their own security.  If not, we will continue to be plagued by the specter that is war, be it from acts of appeasement, as many think was the case with US actions in the Middle East before the liberation of Iraq in 2003, or be it from acts of attempted “chess mastery” using one “bad guy” to defeat another “worse guy,” as it was with U.S. action in Afghanistan during their 1980s conflict against the Soviet Union.


“War Odds” – 25 June 1937
“Appeasement in Europe” – 21 February 1938
“England’s Defense of Her Position” – 10 March 1938
“We Value Freedom More” – 17 March 1938
“England Speaks” – 3 April 1939
“We Will Not Be Responsible for Going to War” – 24 August 1939
“Britain Must Go To War” – 1 September 1939
“No Threat Will Deter Us” – 20 September 1939
“Britain Must Go To War” – 1 November 1939


“The German Position” – 20 February 1938
“Speech at Nuremberg” – 13 September 1938
“Berlin Sports Palace Speech” 26 September 1938
“The Position of Germany Today” – 30 January 1939
“Germany Demands Its Rights” – 1 April 1939
“Germany’s Position Today” – 28 April 1939
“Germany Could No Longer Remain Idle” – 1 September 1939
“Germany is Ready for Peace” 19 September 1939
“I Am Ready for Peace or War” 6 October 1939

Government Documents

Munich Agreement signed 30 September 1938
“White Paper on Munich Agreement” issued by Neville Chamberlain 3 October 1938

The Times (London)

“Dramatic British Move for Peace” 15 September 1938 p10
“Swift Developments at Berchtesgaden” 16 September 1938 p12
“Mr. Chamberlain Stays at Godesberg” 23 September 1938 p12
“Prime Minister’s View of the Crisis” 27 September 1938 p12
“Agreement Reached at Munich To-day” 30 September 1938 p12
“Declaration of Peace at Munich” 1 October 1938 p12
“Steps to a Lasting Peace” 6 October 1938 p6
“Reorganizing Defence” 11 October 1938 p14
“Czech-German Frontier” 14 October 1938 p14

Magazine Articles

“Come Ahead, Adolf” Martha Gellhorn 6 August 1938
“Obituary of a Democracy” Martha Gellhorn 10 December 1938

The Economist

“The Cabinet & Germany” 13 February 1937 p342-3
“The Negotiations in Prague” 9 July 1938 p54-5
“A Clear Warning” 3 September 1938 p441-2
“Hope from Despair” 17 September 1938 p529-30
“Topics of the Week” 17 September 1938 p534
“Vain Sacrifice?” 24 September 1938 p577-9
“Topics of the Week” 24 September 1938 p582-4
“Letter to the Editor” 24 September 1938 p594
“Eleventh Hour Reprieve” 1 October 1938 p1-3
“Topics of the Week” 1 October 1938 p6-7
“The Price of Peace” 8 October 1938 p53-4
“Czechoslovakia’s Losses” 8 October 1938 p55-6
“Topics of the Week” 8 October 1938 p61
“Counting the Cost” 15 October 1938 p101-2
“Topics of the Week” 29 October 1938 p213
“Topics of the Week” 5 November 1938 p259
“Topics of the Week 26 November 1938 p419
“Topics of the Week 3 December 1938 p474
“Peace and Axis” 10 December 1938 p523
“Topics of the Week” 17 December 1938 p587
“Peace or Appeasement” 24 December 1938 p645-7

National Review

“Postscript to Munich” (Interview with Lord Home, who accompanied Chamberlain to Munich in 1938), June 2, 1989

Scholarly Journals

Keith Nielson. 2003. “The Defense Requirements Subcommittee, British Strategic Foreign Policy, Neville Chamberlain and the Path to Appeasement” English Historical Review


Neville Chamberlain. In Search of Peace. GP Putnam’s Sons, 1939
Ian Goodhope Colvin. The Chamberlain Cabinet. Taplinger Pub. 1971
Telford Taylor. The Price of Peace. Doubleday, 1979



Rebuilding Iraq: A Marshall Plan for the 21st Century

Currently, many pundits in the United States are disparaging the U.S. government’s economic policies of assisting third-world countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.  This is not something new.  After the end of World War II, when Secretary of State George Marshall introduced his then controversial Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe, many more people were against it.  Back then the U.S. was still somewhat of an isolationist nation.  The people rallied after Pearl Harbor but as soon as the Japanese had surrendered they were more content in going back to life as usual, not having to think of far off countries with strange-sounding names.

But if history has been any indication, a policy of isolationism is a policy of failure.  Certainly in terms of defense it can be deadly, as was apparent with the attack on Pearl Harbor and the possible ramifications of not entering the war in Europe sooner.  Belaying those reasons, however, isolationism is still a bad way to run an economy.

Secretary of State George Marshall, in his speech to Harvard University in 1947, stated that the problem facing Europe at that time was that the basis of modern civilization is the division of labor.  “The farmer has always produced the foodstuffs to exchange with the city dweller for the other necessities of life.”  At that time, he pointed out, the system was “threatened with breakdown.”  While the farmer was continuing to produce food for himself and his family the “city industries are not producing adequate goods to exchange with the food-producing farmer.  Raw materials and fuel are in short supply.  Machinery is lacking or worn out.  The farmer or the peasant cannot find goods for sale which he desires to purchase.  So the sale of his farm produce for money which he cannot use seems to him an unprofitable transaction.”  Marshall went on to state that this breakdown led to a vicious cycle where “the governments are forced to use their foreign money and credits to procure these necessities abroad.  The process exhausts funds which are urgently needed for reconstruction.”

Marshall’s remedy to this vicious cycle was to “restor[e] the confidence of the European people in the economic future of their own countries and of Europe as a whole.  The manufacturer and the farmer throughout wide areas must be able and willing to exchange their products for currencies the continuing value of which is not open to question.”  This restoration of the European confidence would come about with the unprecedented aid package to Europe that carried his name.  No doubt today nearly everyone looks upon the Marshall Plan as a success.  Why then, are so many against the same sort of plan as it relates to Iraq?

The basis of Marshallian economic policy has its roots in basic trade theory as introduced by Adam Smith. Since the days of Adam Smith, any sound economist has pointed out that trade is the best economic policy.  It increases the production possibility frontier (PPF), which results in greater profits for all parties involved.  On an international scale the profits are that much greater.  Most anyone would agree with this principle.  The problem that exists today, however, is not an unwillingness to trade but an unwillingness to improve the economic state of potential trading partners through aggressive investment in their infrastructure and social welfare system and the manipulation of their current political regimes.

Prior to the March 2003 liberation of Iraq the U.S. and its allies were imposing sanctions on that nation.  Many people admonished the government for this action but for the wrong reasons.  Removing sanctions at the time without any subsequent plan of action may have helped the people of Iraq in the very short-term but overall it would have been sending the wrong message to the Ba’ath Party in both a political and economic sense.  At the time, Saddam was already siphoning off any aid that was entering the country and using it to fuel a Ba’ath controlled Black Market.  Removing sanctions would have only increased his profits making his regime that much more powerful, even if some of the scraps fell from his table, so to speak, resulting in minor social benefit for the people of Iraq. Therefore, sanctions at the time were the only plausible way of controlling his regime.  The problem with these sanctions was that they were only a “band-aid” on the problem, they only controlled Saddam and did not provide a good solution; eliminating Saddam.  It was not until “Operation Iraqi Freedom” occurred and liberated the people from the repressive controls of the Ba’ath Party that a real solution to Iraq’s economic perils could begin to take form.

Now, returning to the aforementioned problem, the United States, after having eliminated the Ba’ath Party, cannot simply return to honor at home but must stay in Iraq, as it has in Afghanistan, and engage in “nation building.”  For it is only with this form of all-encompassing assistance that it can hope to build an Iraqi economy that will be an able participant on the world economic stage.

Of course the first benefit to rebuilding the Iraqi economy comes from the rebuilding itself.  There are very few companies in Iraq itself that can take on such a large project and so, as Machiavellian as it may sound, to the victor go the spoils.  The United States was successful in ousting the leadership of Iraq and therefore may now dictate the terms of its future and benefit from the work involved in implementing that future.

The infrastructure of Iraq is in very a dismal state following nearly 20 years of neglect by the previous regime and the subsequent damage caused during the liberation.  Many U.S. based firms including the construction firm, Bechtel Corporation, and the consulting firm Louis Berger & Associates, have been awarded multi-billion dollar contracts by the U.S. government to assist in the rebuilding efforts.  No doubt, much of that money will end up back in the U.S. domestic economy.  Bechtel, for example, besides hiring thousands of local Iraqi workers, is planning on hiring many thousands more from the United States to assist at every level from project management down to ditch digging.  In addition to the direct benefit afforded these companies in infrastructure reconstruction, more companies will benefit from a new and revitalized economy entering the world stage.  This last point is the reason for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) issuing Order 39.  Order 39 is an amendment to previous orders and the Iraqi interim constitution which “limits restrictions [on investment] only to natural resources involving primary extraction and initial processing” without being more specific as to the identity of these “natural resources” and types of “initial processing.”  Order 39 also does not limit the amount of foreign capital to be invested in Iraq as previously proposed by the CPA.  The order does not apply to banks and insurance companies either.  What this order means in the long run is an increased influx of foreign capital into the Iraqi economy which, as it did in the early 1950’s with the Marshall Plan, will lead to a propensity towards American goods and services, a McDonaldization, if you will, which, viewed in cultural terms is unfortunate if taken to an extreme but, in terms of economic stimulus, is a great benefit not only to the Iraqi economy but to the U.S. economy as well, for obvious reasons.

To help this process along several conferences and expos will be taking place.  One such, “Outreach 2004,” taking place in Amman, Jordan next month has the chief aim of preparing businesses for roles as subcontractors or suppliers of vitally needed equipment and services.  This conference, which is certified by the U.S. Department of Commerce, will offer workshops and panels from various industry experts, in order to allow attendees to choose the area that best fits their product or service.  In addition to covering the obvious industries such as reconstruction of infrastructure and telecommunications, such topics as lifestyle and home furnishings will be covered as well.

“We’re rebuilding a civil society,” said Jerry Kallman, CEO of the Kallman Group, the firm producing Outreach 2004.  “There’s a tremendous consumer frenzy going on in Baghdad.  The home furnishings industry belongs in there with the traditional building-block industries.” This means that businesses from all sectors will benefit from the rebuilding of Iraq, not just those rebuilding it in the traditional sense of the word.

In addition to the proximate benefits realized by subsequent investment in Iraq, the stability afforded to that area of the world with the advent of a democracy will, alone, result in increased economic benefit to the whole world.  Common sense reveals that war is a bad economic instrument.  Sure, in the short run it may lead to an increase in market activity through the awarding of defense contracts but this is really nothing more than a redistribution of wealth through an increase in taxes or the sale of loan instruments like war bonds.  In the long run, war results in the destruction of capital and an increase in unconstructive debt.  And that is what the winner gets!  The loser faces a greater loss of capital and is often forced to pay reparations.  This last point is one of the causes of World War II.  By investing money in Iraq now and rebuilding its infrastructure, no matter how costly it may be, it will lead to increased economic benefit in the future.  When people are not busy killing each other or constantly worrying about whether the dictatorship that rules their lives is going to take away everything they have been working for, they work harder and produce more.  As they produce more, they save more and those savings translate into venture capital that leads to more and more production and more and more savings.  Instead of being a “vicious circle” like the one Marshall referred to, it becomes a “beneficial circle.”

Prior to the liberation, small business owners had no reason to become successful.  By doing so they only attracted attention to themselves from the government.  If they had enough money to advertise they wouldn’t dare because it would only attract members of the Ba’ath Party eager to take a cut of their success.

“When you advertise, you show people—especially Saddam’s gangs—that your are doing business,” stated a small business owner who, like many businessmen in Baghdad, is not a member of the Ba’ath Party.  “They will demand their cut from you, and destroy you if you refuse.  If you don’t have someone to protect you, then you want no one to notice you.  If you have the money for a Mercedes, don’t buy one.  You cannot dare to show yourself.”  This is another fundamental economic benefit that comes from the installation of democratic rule after the liberation of Iraq.

John Locke’s major contribution to economics was the principle of protection of individual rights, especially property.  Without a legally integrated property system there is no way the underclass has any hope of breaking their cycle of poverty by turning their hard work into savings and capital for investment.  Since they have no property they have nothing to pledge as collateral for loans.  Economist Hernando Desoto calls this “dead capital” and it is the major problem facing any nation that lives under a repressive regime as Iraq has up until recently.

By rebuilding Iraq as a bureaucratic democracy it will instill the strong public institutions that are vital to the formation of strong business and the relative fairness and equality which are essential for breeding the necessary competition that is the integral part of capitalism.  The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in a policy brief entitled Driving Economic Growth, pointed out that “sound economic governance encourages private individuals and groups to engage in economic activities such as taking risks, investing capital and, ultimately, exporting goods and services.”  It goes on to say that this sound economic governance comes from a supportive government with “predictable laws and regulations.”  Furthermore, it states that this governmental system “encourages foreign direct investment because a safe, relatively unrestrictive policy environment encourages foreign as well as local investment.”

Now, because of the advent of technology, real property rights, while still important, especially for a fledgling nation like Iraq, have taken second chair compared to intellectual property rights.  This new problem is one that faces Iraq especially.  Since the introduction of sanctions more than 10 years ago a large black market of music and computer software has emerged in addition to the more traditional products: cigarettes, toilet paper, etc.  The liberation of Iraq and the subsequent “opening up” of its economy, while it may be a downfall to these black marketers called Qitat al-Hisar or “cats of the embargo,” who, until recently, could be seen driving down trendy Arasat Street in Baghdad in a brand new BMWs or Mercedes or talking on souped-up cordless phones (Iraq is the only Arab country without a mobile phone network) at the open-air restaurants that dot the Tigris River, the imposition of copyright laws means more money for not only the reputable businessmen of Iraq but also for the U.S. companies that produce the music and software that is illegally traded.  This tertiary market of contraband music and software is what some Silicon Valley companies refer to as “found money” as it will produce quite a profit for them once Iraq inevitably signs international copyright laws.  In addition to the profits reputable businessmen will receive from legally selling these products, a new employment channel will be created for prosecutors and enforcers of these international copyright laws.  America’s Commercial Law Development Program has already provided assistance to Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia on intellectual property protection and competition policy and will, no doubt, play an integral part in training the prosecutors and enforcers that will be active in Iraq.

Another step necessary for the improvement of the Iraqi economy and, of course, the world economy because of the resultant increased trade it will have with Iraq, is the rebuilding of social services.  Many people look at the United States’ involvement in rebuilding such facilities as hospitals and schools, and its efforts to retrain many of the marginalized peoples of Iraq, as a purely humanitarian mission and while this is indeed the case it is only a small part of the reason. Poverty is another vicious cycle that results in low productivity but it is escapable if the government concentrates on sectors of production that are immediately plausible for investment for the lowest economic class, chief amongst them agriculture.  USAID’s policy brief, Driving Economic Growth, states that “in many countries agricultural development has made crucial contributions to economic growth, and investments in agriculture have large economic returns.  Lower food prices, stimulated by rapid technological change in agriculture, have raised living standards directly (especially for poor people, who spend a large share of household budgets on food) and indirectly (by keeping real wage costs low in the industrial sector fostering investment and economic transformation).”

As far as health and education aid is concerned, that is simply common sense.  If the U.S., in rebuilding Iraq, provides better health care to the Iraqi people it will lead to a more productive work force.  The people will not be marginalized due to chronic ailments and a better healthcare system will provide those who are infirm better care than could be provided by their families which, besides making life easier for the sick, allows the family caretakers to return to the workforce thereby strengthening the economy.

Education is an area where the U.S. has a head start,  Despite nearly two decades of repression, Iraq, compared to many Arab and Muslim nations (case in point: Afghanistan) has a very educated work force and a superior education system.  Still, schools, especially at the primary and secondary level, do need to be built and are be built by firms such as Bechtel.

Investing in Iraq by rebuilding its infrastructure is a wise economic decision.  Similar ventures worked in Europe after World War II and they will work in Iraq.  The political climate is very turbulent there compared to Europe but by not staying the course of reconstruction, the world faces continued trouble from that region, which could lead to a world economic crisis.  With reconstruction efforts, Iraq will not only not become a threat to the world economy because of political strife but instead will become an asset by being a valuable contributor to it.  There is a wealth of knowledge amongst the people of Iraq that will be invaluable to the world economy and, of course, Iraq has the potential of being the fourth largest oil producer in the world.  A free economy, not tied to economic sanctions and the U.N.’s “oil for food” operation, would only benefit the world economy as well.

Anglophiles: Saviors or Hypocrites?

In his book, The Twenty Year Crisis, E.H. Carr states that “both the view that the English-speaking peoples are monopolists of international morality and the view that they are consummate international hypocrites may be reduced to the plain fact that the current canons of international virtue have, by a natural and inevitable process, been mainly created by them.”

In other words he is saying that British and American hegemony over the economic and political world has led them to dictate the morals by which the rest of the world lives. At the same time the failure of the British and Americans to recognize these morals in the execution of their policy makes them a prime example of international hypocrisy.

While this statement holds true for the period and area that Carr is describing, Western cultures and their sphere of influence from 1919 until 1939, it cannot be applied to all cases across the globe and in history.

True, American President Woodrow Wilson stated “not only always to think first of America, but always, also, to think first of humanity” and justified this opinion with the premise that the United States had been “founded for the benefit of humanity. And the British journalist, W.T. Stead, was like-minded in matters of Anglo-Saxon morality when he wrote in the premier issue of his Review of Reviews “We [Englishmen] believe in God, in England and in Humanity. The English-speaking race is one of the chief of God’s chosen agents for executing coming improvements in the lot of mankind.” However, a prominent National Socialist asserted that “anything that benefits the German people is right, anything that harms the German people is wrong.”

Carr defends this statement saying, “he [the quoted] was merely propounding the same identification of national interest with universal right which had already been established for English-speaking countries.” In other words, national interest is a universal right established by the British but equally bestowed upon the Germans. While this may be the case, instead of refuting the fact that America and Britain are not the only countries that view themselves as the guardians of morality it, instead, confirms it.

To agree with Carr’s point that “the English-speaking peoples are monopolists of international morality” does not necessarily validate his point that they are consummate international hypocrites. Venizelos, upon reading in Fisher’s History of Europe that the Greek invasion of Asia Minor in 1919 was a mistake said, “Every enterprise that does not succeed is a mistake.” This statement could also be read as, every enterprise that does succeed is a success. Therefore, the fact that English-speaking peoples have the power to dictate morals to the rest of the world is due to the fact that those morals are right and the fact that they are right implies their success.

Carr’s point that Anglophiles are consummate international hypocrites, which refers to their exploitation of colonized lands as well as their acts of aggression toward the inhabitants of those lands and the lands of other great but lesser powers such as Germany, can be refuted in part with Thomas Aquinas’s Of War. In it he states three criteria that make a war just. “First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged.” During the First World War, certainly, and also during the period of unstable peace throughout Europe that followed it, the entente led by Britain and America had an authority that exemplified Aquinas’s first point.

Aquinas’s Second criterion for a just war stated that “a just cause is required.” President Woodrow Wilson clearly demonstrated a just cause when he came before congress and stated, “The present German Submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.  It is a war against all nations.  American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way.”

Aquinas’s third point stated, “it is necessary that the belligerents should have a right intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.”  Again, Wilson exemplified Aquinas in the same address saying, “Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.”

The history of the English-speaking peoples begins with the history of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Included in this tradition are countless wars but also figures that promoted non-violence and total selflessness. If modern day democracy, a product of English-speaking peoples, had been based on this path of non-violence then indeed, all of Western culture would be guilty of hypocrisy. But the political systems of most modern day nations, especially Britain and America, are not that of the utopian beliefs propagated by such pacifist leaders as Mohandas Gandhi. Instead those beliefs have come to rely on the realist viewpoint.

A German liberal nineteenth century pastor said it best when he stated “We do not consult Jesus when we are concerned with things which belong to the domain of the construction of the state and political economy.” Bernhardi furthered this postulation when he declared that “Christian morality is personal and social, and in its nature cannot be political.” In short, there must be a separation between the political and the moral or as Jesus put it “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Those countries that failed to follow these doctrines in an attempt to merge the parallel planes of realism and utopianism have either reformed or fallen.

Communism across the globe is the prime example of this. In the Soviet Union, communism had its birth and suffered an uneasy life before experiencing an early death.  The Soviets there refused to reform their ways while attempting to expand their sphere of interest. The result was failure. In China, however, communism, while still the chief form of government, has given concessions to capitalist ideals allowing the Western dogma of competition and corporate imperialism to grow if not flourish within its borders. A transcendent example of this is its recent acquisition of Hong Kong and the discretion it  showed toward Hong Kong’s capitalist ideals. A final example of communist evolution can be taken from countries like North Korea and Cuba. They still remain staunchly communist but only through a dictatorial leadership and a weak people. These too, if history is any indication, will soon fall.

One may turn to post-World War II India and argue that utopian ideals can be a success. After all, wasn’t India set free from imperialist control by Britain and wasn’t this in large part due to the efforts of Gandhi? While Gandhi did play a role in achieving sovereignty for his nation it was not necessarily an approach of passive resistance as so many would like to believe. True, few Indians took up arms against the British. They did, however, wage a different kind of war; an economic war.

The expulsion of the British was due almost solely to the fact that India was a major source of raw materials as well as a trading partner for the Commonwealth. As soon as the natives refused to work and trade with their rulers, the rulers began to lose their economic edge. Let us not forget, too, that the emancipation of the Indian State from its British master came during a time when many colonies were declaring their freedom from Western Imperialism; a declaration that often took on violent means.  If the British had not feared armed resistance from their prize colony they would not have been so quick in relinquishing it.

I suppose Carr could be right in labeling the Americans and British consummate international hypocrites but I think that he faces great opposition in proclaiming this theory. One would be hard pressed to call their actions during the First World War hypocritical and President Woodrow Wilson would certainly disagree with Carr on this point. Their actions in World War II, as well, were totally truthful to the ideals which they professed. The only instance in which their motives come in to question is an instance where other countries, too, are guilty, namely, imperialism. Even here, though, it can be seen that these imperialist nations thought they were doing a service to the lands they had conquered. Keeping in mind the writings of British author Rudyard Kipling, these English-speaking nations were simply carrying out “the white man’s burden.” Even if this weren’t the case one could quote Dicey when he states, “Men come easily to believe that arrangements agreeable to themselves are beneficial to others;” or Carr, in reference to the consummate utopian; “what is best for the world is best for his country, and…what is best for his country is best for the world.”

America’s Role in the Post-Cold War World

The Cold War is over. Peace reigns free. There is no longer a threat of nuclear holocaust. Not bloody likely. In fact, the world today is more unstable now than it has been in over half a century. There may have been thousands of nukes pointed at Moscow and Washington from 1946 until 1989 or so, but the militaries of both nations were too fearful to use them lest there be global thermonuclear war.

During the Cold War, anyone who wanted to fire off a missile had to go through the chain of command. Now, after the break up of the Soviet Union, there is little order in many of the former Soviet countries and many of those countries still have access to nuclear weapons. Worse yet, immediately following the demise of the Soviet Union, corrupt politicians of the break-away nations conducted dangerous business with other anti-Western leaders, selling off nuclear secrets and allowing terrorist groups to walk off with the building blocks for nuclear warheads. Even subversive organizations that did not have access to nuclear weapons were still able to wreak havoc with less dangerous but equally lethal weapons as was the case with the World Trade Center Bombing by Sheik Abdul Omar Raman in 1994.

During the Cold War, these small powers had no chance of rising to the top. They still have little chance of doing so now but at least they do not have to contend with the Superpowers. What makes these subversive organizations so dangerous is that, unlike the U.S. and the Soviet Union, they have no order, no rules, and little sense of consequence.  At least if they do there is no indication. Besides the leaders of these subversive terrorist groups there is another equally dangerous group; that of legitimate but militant leaders, something we have not seen, at least on any large scale, since Hitler and the NAZI war machine.

This group includes domineering psychopaths like Milosevic and Saddam. These men are even more dangerous than the aforementioned terrorists because, unlike terrorist who have at most a few hundred die-hard active followers, people who are willing to go out and kill or be killed to perpetuate the doctrine of the organization, Milosevic and Saddam have hundreds of thousands of soldiers at their disposal; men who are required by the law of the state to act out their leader’s wishes whether they agree with them or not. During the Cold War, men like these were kept at bay by an unofficial agreement between the two Superpowers. Even today it appears that agreement is still being upheld as the U.S. and Soviet Union are working together to end the crisis in Kosovo.

This joint responsibility for the order and peace must continue to be upheld and even if Russia can’t keep up its half of the responsibility the U.S. and other NATO members must keep up theirs. Communism took a great blow during the last ten years but it is not dead yet. Liberal Capitalism and democracy, the systems that many believe are the true paths to peace and stability on earth, have not yet prevailed and they must.  Whenever a threat to humanity surfaces the U.S. should respond. It is the responsibility which falls on the global leader. Furthermore, besides being the right thing to do morally, it is also good politics and good economics. At first this policy will no doubt be expensive, but after most of the opposition is cleared, it will be of extreme benefit to world.

There are few things more expensive than war. Wars are not in the interest of the people.  If all nations were run by the people, e.g. democracies, and there was freer trade between the nations of the world, the economy would grow and there would be little need for a military except to prevent minor and infrequent uprisings by unreasonable but inevitable militants. When this happens, when all the legitimate nations of the world can get along, then we will have peace reigning free and no more threat of nuclear holocaust.

Why We Should Study Global Politics

Now, more than ever, the reasons for studying global politics are apparent. The globe is smaller and there are more people than ever. This is a time, and it has been for several decades, that an international awareness is necessary for the continuation of life.

Leo Tolstoy wrote a century ago in his essay entitled Patriotism and Christianity

“It would seem that owing to the…greater intercourse between different nations…and chiefly to the decrease of danger from other nations, the fraud of patriotism ought daily to become more difficult and at length impossible to practice.

“But the truth is that these very means of…intercourse…being captured and constantly more and more controlled by government, confer on the latter such possibilities of exciting a feeling of mutual animosity between nations…”

If the metaphorical shrinking of world at the end the 19th century led Tolstoy to notice these feeling of war among nations then, according to Tolstoy’s beliefs, over the last hundred years these feelings must have grown. If this is true, and in light of the crisis in Kosovo and Milosovic’s continued “ethnic cleansing” of Kosovar Albanians it can safely be said that it is true, then this is one reason to study global politics.

When Tolstoy wrote Patriotism and Christianity and Patriotism and Government Europe was on the brink of another war, the Great War or World War I. This war was vastly different from any war the Continent had ever fought before. It was not a war of conquest but one based on ethnicity. The Russians felt that the Germans were being too hostile toward their Slavic brothers in the Balkans and so declared war. This same scenario is being played out once again in the exact same spot. Just this morning the Russians, along with their former Soviet allies, began sending warships to the Mediterranean Sea in opposition to the NATO presence.  

It was wise for President Clinton and the other eighteen leaders of NATO to inaugurate this attack on the monster Milosovic. Not only because it was the right thing to do but because, as Clinton said shortly after he ordered the first airstrikes, if action is not taken now this conflict could spread. This decision is a direst product of some sort of study of global politics. The saying “those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it” has never been more true than at this moment and the study of the events leading to World War I and how they relate to global politics will help to bring a speedy resolution to the war in the Balkans. If the leaders of the 1910s had had a firmer grasp on global politics that war could have possibly been averted. As it is, it serves now as a lesson to be taught to those studying global politics now.  

The end of war is one reason to study global politics. Another major reason is economy. The need of global politics as it relates to the economy has never been more apparent than now as well.  

On 1 January 1999, seven countries in Europe adopted a single currency, the Euro. This bold move would not have been achieved without a grasp of global politics.  For example, the leaders of those seven countries are probably breathing a strong sigh of relief that they opted not to allow Greece into the European Union and will be even more overjoyed with their decision if the war in the Balkans happens to spill over into Greece.  Switzerland and the UK opted not to join the economic alliance. Their decision was based greatly on their study of global politics. They view their currencies as stronger than the whole of the EU and therefore figured it unwise to invest. Switzerland especially views itself as a strong nation in many things and has opted not to participate in many things that the rest of Europe has such as both World Wars.  

The study of global politics is necessary for anyone who wants to be a citizen of the ever-changing and continually shrinking world. More and more we are becoming members of the world and less and less members of individual nations.

Open letter to Clinton, re: Kosovo

Dear President Clinton,

During the past six years I haven’t agreed with much of your policy but your latest decision to bomb Yugoslavia is one I support whole-heatedly.  It is not an exaggeration when people call President Slobodan Milosevic a monster or liken him to Adolf Hitler.  I fully agree with you that, if we do not stop Milosevic’s “ethnic cleansing” and aggression toward Kosovo a war much bigger than the one going on now could engulf Greece, Turkey, Russia, and dare I say, the world.  It is frightening to think just how similar this conflict is to the beginnings of World War I, especially now that the Russians have sent warships to the Mediterranean.  You and the other leaders of the NATO nations, along with all the troops in the Balkans right now should be commended for your activities.  A war as good and morally right as this one has not been fought since World War II and I urge you and the rest of the NATO members to do whatever it takes to win this war.  Let me say that again.  NATO must win this war.  We must not stop, as we did in Iraq, until Milosevic is removed from office. I would even go so far as to say it would not be too extreme to accomplish this task through assassination.  I know it is against US policy to assassinate foreign leaders but I think, at least in this case, it would be wise to forget that policy for now.  As for our “exit strategy” that many of your political opponents have questioned you on I feel that in this case the best defense is indeed a good offense.  We can’t leave until this job is done.

And that is the main reason I am writing this letter to you.  No one wants this war to go on any longer than it has to.  That is why we have to strike hard and strike fast.  Our latest strikes on Belgrade were a step in the right direction.  “Fire a missile straight up the ‘Balkan Butcher’s’ rear end” I say.  That will get his attention.  I know I am repeating myself but I really want to drive this point home.  We must eliminate this threat.  Not only because it is the morally right thing to do but also because if we don’t our close friends in Western Europe will be next.  No one thought Hitler would go beyond the Rhineland.  How do we know that Milosevic won’t stop at Kosovo?

As for more pressing issues, I am extremely angry at the latest occurrence of three of our soldiers being captured.  The fact that they were minding their own business in Macedonian, that they face a trial in a Kangaroo Court, and that the Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia is feeding us lies about their safe and humane treatment, make me even angrier.  Yugoslavia is breaking so many international laws in this and other actions.  That is not in dispute.  To counter these actions we must be bold.  First off we must send a Special Forces unit into Yugoslavia to rescue our troops.  We owe it to them.  Secondly we must face the unfortunate truth that airstrikes and cruise missiles alone won’t end this war.  I know that you may not want to send groundtroops into the Balkans and I respect that.  If we do we can be fairly certain that many of them will be killed.  If we do not, however, we face an even greater calamity.  The airstrikes will continue indefinitely at great cost to the world financially as well as at cost to the Kosovar-Albanian refugees.  Milosevic will continue to murder those he doesn’t find pure in some sort of sick holocaust reminiscent of Hitler’s killing of the Jews in the 1940s.  Those who do survive will be the ones that have escaped from the borders of Yugoslavia.  They will continue to be taken care of as they are now at a cost of millions.

In conclusion, I’d like you to think of how the Gulf War ended.  We beat Hussein back into Iraq and into submission for a few years but many people regret that we did not eliminate him personally.  Even now we have to enforce the no fly zone over Iraq.  If we had eliminated Hussein during the war we wouldn’t have to be there now.  We should view that as a lesson (and then eliminate Hussein when we are finished in the Balkans) and eliminate Milosevic.  The solution is so easy.  If we take down the leader the followers will fall.  We don’t have to worry about eliminating millions of troops and installing our own leader.  No one wants peace more than the people of Yugoslavia do.  The only warmongers are Milosevic and the members of his cabinet.