Saturday, March 26, 2011

Big Bag of Libya

The Economist: “WE APOLOGISE for the unplanned hiatus in bombing of the Middle East. Normal service has now been resumed.” … “This president has never been the peacenik America’s doves craved; his scorn for the “dumb” war in Iraq was always balanced by support for the “necessary” one in Afghanistan.”

How much is your non-violence worth?

Potayto, potahto; Tomayto, tomahto; mercenary, military contractor…:
You don't have to be a down-on-your-luck autocrat like Qaddafi or Gbagbo to hire private armies in the modern era, however. The largest customer for the services of private warriors is, without a doubt, the United States, which now employs more military contractors than troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Libya’s agricultural sector hires a large number of foreign workers from the neighboring countries. Those migrant workers have been heading home recently to avoid the violence, increasing food and poverty pressures in those countries as well.

“a rebel government, recognized by France, now has an oil company and a central bank.” HT: Blattman. Cowen quips that all they need now is an NGDP futures market.

Seven very good lessons on helping countries leaving autocracy on the road to democracy. In short, institutional reforms and getting the military out of power should happen quickly, followed by building into elections. International forces should largely stand by and focus on institutions and preventing conflict rather than picking winners.

Not appearing on your TV screens: relatively successful, quite peaceful elections in Africa. Given people’s stereotypes of the region, you would think peaceful elections would be newsworthy…

The Daily Show introduces the “Freedom Package” below the fold. Oh dear. HT: Wronging Rights.

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