Libya: Let’s not make it our war

More voices are being raised to urge caution before sliding into yet another war. General Wesley K Clark’s reflections deserve careful reading and reflection, before the old cold warriors, still looking for new causes, seduce an empathetic public and their representatives into another economically and politically draining war. “Libya doesn’t meet the test for U.S. military action”

What we do need to do is redouble our support (directly to the extent it is accepted and via international organizations) to the new governments of Arab countries to build and strengthen institutions that support the rule of law, the rights of individuals, a free press, and other checks and balances on the exercise of political power. We should encourage the development of the legal framework and institutions that promote entrepreneurship, justice, and tolerance of religious and other differences. The Arab Spring can be the beginning of a positive transformation of a backward part of the world or another false start. It is not up to us, but we can contribute to a more promising outcome if we choose to.

About wcoats

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 most recent book is One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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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