Libya and the Drums of War

Once again the drums of war are beating. President Obama has said that “President Gaddafi must go” with no obvious plan for removing him. Indeed, we would all like to see him go and it would be painful to watch him attach his own citizens. But many distasteful things happen in life that we can do nothing about or choice to do nothing about for reasons of prudence. We are not (yet) at war with Libya. Libya has not attacked us or our interests. We would be extraordinarily foolish to attack Libya.

We should support the principles our nation was founded upon and operates under. These include “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We should support in appropriate ways those in the world, including Libya, who share these values. This does not include war or measures that would suck us down a slippery slope to war.

Two recent Washington Post articles sound the right warnings and ask the right questions. They are well worth reading: Anne Applebaum “The Arab World Isn’t Clamoring for Our Help” and George Will “Then What?”



Author: Warren Coats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My recent books are One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina; My Travels in the Former Soviet Union; My Travels to Afghanistan; My Travels to Jerusalem; and My Travels to Baghdad. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.

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