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Interventionists Evade Responsibility for Their Policy Disasters

As I point out in a new National Interest Online article, a multi-sided struggle for power in Libya continues to fester more than eight years after the United States led an air war to help rebels oust longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Libya joins Iraq and Syria as a classic example of the failed U.S. regime-change strategy. Fighting between Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) and the even more misnamed Government of National Accord (GNA) has intensified in and...

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“We Give Qualified Immunity to Just About Everybody”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard oral argument for a special appeal in Betton v. Belue (18-1974). The case stems from a federal civil rights lawsuit brought by Julian Betton, who was shot and paralyzed when police officers raided his home on a marijuana charge. Officer David Belue was one of several South Carolinian 15th District Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) officers who participated in the raid, and this week’s argument was his appeal of the district...

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How About Retroceding Washington, D.C. to Maryland?

Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on proposals to make the District of Columbia a state, and as he has done before, Roger Pilon, founder of Cato’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, testified against the idea. Speaking for myself, what would make more sense than D.C. statehood? Retroceding the city of Washington, or at least its residential portions, to the state of Maryland. One plan, promoted by activist David Krucoff, would turn it...

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R.I.P. Earl Ravenal (1931-2019)

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Earl Ravenal, a one-time member of Cato's board of directors, long-time senior fellow and distinguished senior fellow, and an important voice in the development of the case against global interventionism in the 1970s and 1980s. He taught international affairs for many years at Georgetown University, and was the author of several books and monographs, as well as countless papers and articles, including Never Again: Learning From America's...

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Federal Protection of Cave Spiders Is Driving Property Owners Up the Wall

Much like lawyers, spiders don’t drum up warm feelings for most people. It’s probably because both are known for spinning webs. Unlike lawyers, however, the federal government has placed some spiders on the endangered species list—and not just big ones, but ones so small that it takes 14 surveys of a cave to even make sure they’re there. One such spider, the near-invisible bone cave harvestman, is found only in a small section of Texas and resides in an unknown number of underground caves....

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Justice Department Responds in Steel Tariffs Case

The Justice Department today filed its brief in American Institute for International Steel v. United States before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. At issue are President Trump’s steel tariffs. Last month, the Cato Institute filed a brief in support of the appellants, who are businesses that rely on imported steel and have been harmed by the tariffs.  The government’s response brief, alas, is excellent. Faced with arguments that the president is unbound, the government...

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Bringing Drug Use Out of the Shadows Reduces Harm to the Community as Well as to Users

Many critics of marijuana legalization raise concerns that marijuana dispensaries might serve as loci for increased local criminal activity. Now there is empirical evidence that just the opposite occurs. A new study reported in the September issue of Regional Science and Urban Economics examined local crime rate data from 2013 through 2016 in Denver, Colorado, where legal cannabis sales to adults began in 2014. The researchers reported: The results imply that an additional dispensary in a...

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It Is Time to Relinquish America’s Global Interventionist Foreign Policy

We have an article published in the latest edition of Survival critiquing America’s foreign policy of global interventionism and making the case for a grand strategy of restraint. Here are some excerpts: The United States should reject the myths of primacy and the hyperactive foreign policy it has promoted. The United States is not the indispensable nation. Nor is it insecure. Nor is it capable of micromanaging the world’s affairs efficiently and effectively from Washington. In this light,...

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Middle Class Shrinking… As Households Become Richer

The U.S. economy continues to do well, but many fear that economic expansion only benefits a few Americans, while leaving most households behind. As political analyst Juan Williams opined in The Hill earlier this year, “The rich got their Trump tax cut. GDP looks good. And the stock market is doing great for people with money to invest. But it is only the rich who get the big rewards in Trump’s economy. What about the middle class?” The middle class, it turns out, is shrinking. But not...

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Blaine Amendments Harm Educational Opportunity and Violate Constitutional Rights

In the late 19th century, dozens of states enacted amendments banning government aid to churches, religious schools, and other “sectarian” organizations. These “Blaine Amendments,” named after Senator James G. Blaine of Maine, who failed to secure the passage of a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution, remain in force in many parts of the country. At the time these amendments were passed, it was widely understood that public schools followed a curriculum sympathetic to Protestantism to...

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