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The Future of Iraq
[March 15, 2003]

By John Bragg

We stand on the brink of the liberation of Iraq. This liberation is long overdue, delayed by the Administration’s attempt to secure the unnecessary support of the United Nations. The President has pledged that there will be no new dictator in Iraq, and we applaud him for this commitment.

The President spoke of the democracies built under American protection on February 26:

After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

This is a job for the United States and our close allies. It would be a mistake, possibly a catastrophic mistake, to involve the United Nations in the transitional administration in Iraq. The United Nations knows nothing about individual rights, knows nothing about democracy, and frankly knows nothing about honest government. The United Nations was founded on socialist and even communist principles, its founding meetings chaired by Alger Hiss, a communist spy. And the United Nations bureaucracy has always been dominated by socialist bureaucrats, people either appointed by dictatorships or toadies acceptable to the world’s dictators. Such an organization can serve to guarantee a status quo, it cannot serve to build a civil society. The job of guiding Iraq in building a self-governing country must be done not by international bureaucrats, who know only corruption and dependency on government, but by citizens of self-governing countries like the United States, Britain and Australia.

The public debate has focused on bringing democracy to Iraq. This is necessary, but not sufficient. As the President has indicated, it is liberty that is crucial to the future of Iraq. And liberty means capitalism. The freedom to produce and trade, and to keep the fruits of that production and trade. This freedom, like all others, is foreign to the Arab world today, and to the Arab world alone. In the past fifty years, the past twenty years, most of the globe has moved closer to a system of free trade, free markets and freedom. In addition to America, Western Europe and Japan, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, China and the rest of east Asia are all freer than they were twenty years ago. Only the Arab world and war-torn Africa are not.

The freedom to produce and trade, and to keep the fruits of that production, are not, as socialists used to claim, opposed to human dignity. They are in fact essential to human dignity. The current war is a result of the failure of the Islamic and Arab world. In the last two centuries, the Islamic world has failed by every possible measure. The Islamic world produces nothing of value to anyone—no industry, no science, no books except those on jihad, no movies, nothing of any value. It survives only as a result of international charity and of oil revenues, revenues generated by Western technology which the Arabs cannot operate and maintain without foreign assistance.

One of the objectives of the reconstruction of Iraq is to create a successful Arab democracy. A successful Arab state will be a model for the Arab world, a model of achievement to aspire to. That is, Iraq must be democratic, and Iraq must be successful. Under American tutelage, Iraq must build a capitalist economy if the Iraqis are to be a model for the Arab world. The Arabs must see Arabs building an economy, producing things of value for their own benefit, trading and living for their own sakes if the Iraq project is to be successful. As a capitalist country, the Iraqis could make progress towards western standards of living.

There is no such prospect if the United Nations plays a key role in administering Iraq. The United Nations seeks only to administer an Iraqi welfare state funded by Iraq’s oil revenue. Iraq will not be able to afford more than third-world standards of living as a welfare state based on oil revenue. Iraq claims the ability to pump 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, or 1.3 billion per year. At the high price of $30 per barrel, that means $40 billion. If, with foreign investment, production were doubled, that means $80 billion. $80 billion, divided by a population of 20,000, means a per capita income of $4000, comparable to Egypt’s. The UN would be happy to keep Iraq forever as a client at Egyptian levels of poverty, blaming the United States for creating the situation.

The war is an American war, and we will win that war. The peace must be an American peace, or we will lose the peace.

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