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Let’s Take the ‘Con’ Out of Neocons

Here’s a letter to USA Today:

Correctly noting about Iraq that “Institutions like the military were not fully formed, territorial disputes were not resolved, and key questions relating to oil were up in the air,” Danielle Pletka complains that American troops were withdrawn too early from that troubled country (“We got out of Iraq too soon,” Dec. 27).

Ms. Pletka works for the American Enterprise Institute.  That organization’s members rightly understand that Uncle Sam’s interventions into America’s domestic economy are typically motivated by narrow interest-group pressures or by economic ignorance (or by both) – and that, either way, the results are generally harmful.  So it’s truly a mystery why Ms. Pletka and her AEI associates insist so boisterously that Uncle Sam’s interventions into the affairs of some foreign nations are indispensable for the improvement of those nations’ domestic institutions.

When operating abroad, do U.S. government agents and employees grow wiser and better informed than when they operate here at home?  Do they become less susceptible to the wiles of special-interest groups?  Are U.S. government operatives’ magnanimity, courage, insight, and public-spiritedness enhanced simply by stepping onto foreign soil?  And do the complexities, trade-offs, and uncertainties that make domestic intervention in America so likely to unleash regrettable unintended consequences not exist outside of America?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

So bumbling at home; so balletic abroad.  Go figure.